The 9 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
How Apple Cider Vinegar Is Made
Before delving into the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, let’s find out where it comes from. Basically, the sugar from the apple juice is extracted. Then, certain microbes, bacteria, and yeast turn that sugar into alcohol and eventually into vinegar. At the end of this whole fermentation process, the apple juice is left with the main component, acetic acid (commonly known as vinegar). It also contains lactic, citric, and malic acids.
If you grind up apples into apple juice, then allow them to ferment naturally, you will have apple flavored cider. This is basically apple juice with some alcohol in it. If the apple juice is not pasteurized or heated, it goes through fermentation and it eventually turns into vinegar with the help of microbes.
Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
There are many different types of vinegar. The one I recommend is the raw, organic, unpasteurized version. This kind of ACV still has residue of some fiber pectin, bacteria, and yeast. The fact that the apple cider vinegar is raw means that it’s rich in enzymes. This can actually help aid digestion.
Because it’s organic, there are no added pesticides or chemicals. The pH level of apple cider vinegar is between 3.3 and 3.5 which is acidic enough to help your stomach function well. Aside from the many apple cider vinegar uses, you also don’t have to worry about it going bad. Even when left outside of the refrigerator it can last for about 5 years.
Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits
1. Aids Digestion
Apple cider vinegar speeds up digestion and activates gastrointestinal enzymes. There are a lot of enzymes in the stomach, in the pancreas, and other places in the body that are dormant. These enzymes can only be activated by certain things. Acid is one of the activators for the enzymes in the stomach to help you break down protein. This is the process that helps the stomach digest food faster.
2. Controls Pathogens
If you think about it, you have pickles and other fermented vegetables that are acidic. The acid they are kept in preserves the food and prevents bacterial growth. When you consume apple cider vinegar, it helps prevent the overgrowth of microbes, especially if you have a condition called SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Definition: This is a condition where you have bacteria growing in the wrong place, e.g. in the small intestine instead of the large intestine.
3. Helps Absorb Minerals
Calcium, magnesium, and iron all need a certain pH to be absorbed. If your stomach is too alkaline, you won’t be able to absorb as many minerals. Vitamins K, C, and even B12 need acid to be absorbed.
4. Can Decrease Gas and Bloating
The last thing you want is undigested food in your digestive tract. Apple cider vinegar speeds up the breakdown of food to aid in complete protein digestion.
5. Decreases Acid Reflux
Normally, your stomach needs to be very acidic to be able to close the valve at the top of your stomach. This valve prevents your stomach acid from coming up your esophagus. When your stomach acid levels are low, the valve doesn’t close and the acid can reflux up your esophagus. The term for this condition is GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
To feel better, you take in any acid. Yet the next time you eat, it becomes worse. Why? Because you’re making that acid less acidic. So over time, that valve just stays open and you’ll have constant reflux, making you dependent on medication. If you consume apple cider vinegar, it helps the valve close fully, improving the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.
6. Helps Release Bile
Your liver needs a specific amount of acid to produce bile, which then gets released to the gallbladder. Apple cider vinegar can help serve as a trigger and release the bile that’s congested in the liver. You, then, feel less bloated. Acid also helps release enzymes from the pancreas for a more complete digestion.
7. Breaks Down Protein
Protein breaks down into amino acids when metabolized. You need acids, like apple cider vinegar, to activate the enzymes to do this.
8. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
Apple cider vinegar can help you make glucose more sensitive so you’ll have less insulin resistance. Less insulin being produced can help you with your weight loss efforts.
9. Improves Immune System
Lastly, it can help boost your immune system with its antibacterial properties. It can stimulate white blood cells to speed up function and fight infection.
How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar
Since it’s acidic, you can take apple cider vinegar in small doses through drinking the liquid, or swallowing it in tablet form. Take If you are drinking it, take between 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in 8-16 ounces. I like to mix in lemon juice and honey to give it more flavor.
The acid can weaken your teeth so it’s best to use a straw so it doesn’t affect your teeth. You can drink it before or after a meal. I drink mine in the evening at 6 o’clock and take my wheatgrass juice in the morning.
Apple cider vinegar can aid in multiple metabolic processes in the body, especially in the digestive system. You can drink it, take tablets and even add it to your keto diet recipes! It can work wonders for your gut health and may even improve overall feelings of wellness.