Can apple cider vinegar improve your health? Many people swear by apple cider vinegar for a whole range of health benefits. While more research is needed to investigate some of these claims, there are a few that are showing promise.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Before we dive into the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar, otherwise referred to as ACV, let’s talk about what exactly this magical elixir is made of. Basically, apple cider vinegar is the result of fermenting apple juice. It’s made using three main components: apples, sugar, and yeast. Yeast eats away the natural sugars in the apples, turning apple juice into cider. Now if you’re an apple cider lover, you may want to stop the process here. However, if you keep the fermentation process going, the growing bacteria suspended in the liquid will turn the cider into acetic acid, at which point it becomes vinegar.
What Are The Benefits?
ACV may help improve insulin resistance in prediabetic individuals and increase satiety after a meal. During trials, test subjects ingested vinegar before a meal. 30 minutes after eating, scientists took measurements of their blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. Those with type 2 diabetes did not see a huge decrease in blood sugar, however, they experienced a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity. The best results were observed in healthy individuals and those with insulin resistance (high risk for developing type 2 diabetes). Insulin-resistant individuals experienced a 64% reduction in blood sugar and a 34% improvement in insulin sensitivity following their meal when compared to the placebo group. Healthy individuals also experienced significant results. Because of these results, some experts predict that acetic acid may one day be used to help prevent and slow the development of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals.
Satiety following meals was also connected to vinegar consumption. Participants in multiple studies reported feeling fuller and more satisfied following a meal including vinegar. Total calories consumed during the day were subsequentially reduced because of this, leading to weight loss.
Further evidence, collected in trials on rats, suggests that ACV may slow the growth of tumors and improve blood pressure. However, further investigation via human trials will be necessary to determine if it provides these same benefits in people.
Adding ACV to Your Diet
A quick search online will produce many easy recipes to help you incorporate ACV into your diet. Take a look at some of the common uses below:
- Salad dressings and marinades with ACV are both delicious and easy to throw together in a pinch.
- The easiest way to consume ACV is to drink it. Dilute it with water and stir together thoroughly before sipping. Adding citrus, like lemon juice, to the mix may help improve the flavor. As a side note: you should never consume vinegar straight out of the bottle without dilution as the acidity can damage your teeth and oral tissues.
- For a more ambitious approach, try using ACV to make your own pickled vegetables.
As with anything, if you are wanting to incorporate ACV into your diet for regular medicinal use, consult with your doctor before starting a regimen. Some medications and conditions may be dangerously impacted by apple cider vinegar.
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