An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what about apple cider vinegar? On your favorite health blogs you’ve probably heard a lot about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. This raw, unfiltered vinegar usually made from organic apples gets a lot of press—advocates claim it can cure everything from athlete’s foot to high cholesterol. Currently Western science has very little research to support the efficacy of most of these claims. While it may not be the golden pill for weight loss, here are three traditional uses of apple cider vinegar used in holistic medicine.
1. Digestive Aid
Notice that your stomach is tossing and turning right after a meal? If your stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCL) you may struggle to break down your meals easily. This can result in indigestion, constipation, and excessive gas. Holistic nutritionists sometimes recommend taking 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal to simulate HCL production.
2. Prebiotic Power
Apple cider vinegar is produced from the fermentation of pulverized apples. Because apple cider vinegar is raw and unfiltered it still contains the “mother” (the cloudy apple residues at the bottom of the bottle which contain active enzymes). While other vinegars, such as white and balsamic, are filtered to remove the mother, the unfiltered aspect of apple cider vinegar is unique and contains small amounts of prebiotics. Prebiotics help to nourish the good gut bacteria(a.k.a., probiotics), and help support digestive function. Some holistic nutritionists recommend a morning tonic of 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed with 10 oz warm water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sweetener of your choice to support your digestive system.
3. Blood Sugar Management
Preliminary research suggests that vinegar may help with healthy blood sugar management.1 In one study, participants who consumed a drink made with apple cider vinegar had more regulated blood sugar after consuming a meal with carbohydrates. While more research exploring the blood sugar managing potential of apple cider vinegar is needed, this introductory study is promising. It is important to note that apple cider vinegar can interfere with some medications, so be sure to talk to your health care practitioner before making it part of your regular routine.
Before taking a sip…
Curious about apple cider vinegar? Before you start, talk with your health care provider about whether apple cider vinegar is right for you. Because vinegar is highly acidic, you should dilute it before you drink it. Straight up, the acidity of the vinegar has the potential to damage your tooth enamel and esophagus over time.
One of the best and easiest ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar in your meals is with a delicious salad dressing. Shake up a quick dressing of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part cold-pressed oil (such as Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil Blend) and whatever herbs are in your cabinet (basil and oregano are two of our favorites). Enjoy!
- Johnston, CS, Kim, CM, Buller, AJ. 2004. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 27: 281-282 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/27/1/281