ACV - Yeah You Know Me!
Who wants to start their day off with a shot?! Of Apple Cider Vinegar that is! I’d rather have a shot of espresso first thing in the AM! ACV may seem like just another health craze to some, but there’s actually some great benefits that come from adding this to your daily routine apparently. But first, where did it actually come from and who’s idea was it to start their day off by taking a shot of vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by chopping apples, covering them with water and leaving them at room temperature until the natural sugars ferment and form ethanol. Bacteria then converts this alcohol into acetic acid. Strands of what’s called the “mother” will form in the cider. These are strained out of many products but left in ACV as this is where the benefits are said to stem from. The “mother” can also be used to start the production of the next batch of cider. Some fun early facts of ACV being used in early civilization:
- In 400 BC (Ancient Greece), Hippocrates prescribed ACV and honey for various ills such as cold and coughs.
- Early history of it being used in China and Africa as an alternative medicine.
- The Aryans, an ancient nomadic tribe, produced sour apple wine - an important forerunner of apple cider vinegar. This recipe was passed to the Romans and Greeks where people began developing ACV as a by-product of their soured wines.
- It was used for the treatment of wounds in World War 1 and the US Civil War.
- For thousands of years it has been used for the treatment of various ailments such as dandruff, toothache, and mushroom poisoning.
- The samurai warriors of Japan drank it for strength and power.
- Ancient Persians drank diluted portions of apple cider vinegar to prevent fatty tissue from accumulating in their body.
- The Romans used vinegar and fire to break through rocks when conquering the Alps.
Those are just some of the early facts from just a health standpoint but this adaptable elixir can also be used to wash your fruits and vegetables as well as even a natural household cleaning solution. Over the years there have been small studies on some of the science backed benefits that people have seen from drinking 1-2 Tablespoons of a high-quality, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar everyday:
- Acetic acid gives vinegar its strong sour smell and flavor. Researchers believe that this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars are 5-6% acetic acid.
- The acetic acid can help kill harmful bacteria or prevent them from multiplying even.
- One of the most convincing benefits of vinegar is helping treat type 2 diabetes - characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin. However, people without diabetes can also benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the normal range, as some researchers believe that high blood sugar levels are a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.
- Several human studies, such as one published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, & Biochemistry, show that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness. This can lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight by promoting satiety, lowering blood sugar, and reducing insulin levels.
- Several animal studies have shown that vinegar can reduce blood triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Now I know you’re wanting the human benefits, but so far the results have only been compelling in animals as researchers need to do more studies on humans before reaching any strong conclusions. Research suggests that could improve risk factors that are linked to heart disease - leading cause of death in humans.
- Apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for skin conditions like dry skin and eczema. Using topical ACV could help rebalance the natural pH of the skin, improving the protective skin barrier.
If you’re currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, talk with your doctor before increasing your intake of any type of vinegar. Always recommended to speak with your doctor prior to starting any supplement (that you take orally or use topically) and with deciding to make any major change in your diet.
Now with the list of benefits of just about everything in life, there are also things to take into consideration when deciding with your doctor if you should change something in your daily routine. These are the possible downsides of taking a straight, or even a diluted, shot of apple cider vinegar every day:
- The acid in ACV may erode your tooth enamel. You may want to drink some water after taking it this way.
- Acidic foods or liquids like vinegar may exacerbate acid reflux which may irritate the esophagus or food pipe. Another reason to dilute the 1-2 Tbsp dosage with water.
- If applied directly to your skin without diluting, it may cause burning or irritation, particularly when left on the skin too long. So again it is best to dilute with water prior to using.
- If you have chronic kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to process the excess acid that comes along with drinking ACV.
Well with all these benefits seemingly outweighing the not so great things listed above, is there an alternative to choking down even diluted pure apple cider vinegar every day to reap these benefits? Of course there is! A gummy version first came out in September of 2019 actually. If you haven’t discovered the gummy version of vitamins, it can be a good alternative for not only not so great tasting supplements but if you have trouble with swallowing pills too.
Eat Well actually carries and promotes Daily Defense Cider Glow organic apple cider vinegar gummies. Each delicious serving (2 gummies) contains only 20 calories, 5 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar, 10 milligrams of sodium and 500 milligrams of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (standardized to 5% acetic acid). This is the equivalent of about a tablespoon of liquid ACV, however in gummy form the benefits are not guaranteed as the same with liquid ACV and may not be the best solution for those truly trying to reduce sugar intake.
One other alternative I found is using pure organic apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing. One it’s a healthier option than store bought dressing, two you can mask the sour taste of ACV and the negative effects that it may have on your esophagus, and three making your own salad dressing could be a fun adventure in creating your very own unique recipe! If you need a quick kick start idea, try this delicious recipe from a classically trained chef who broke it down so anyone can make it!
Although the apple cider vinegar train in all forms has widespread popularity over the last couple years especially, remember to do your own research and always talk with your doctor and/or nutritionist first. This and all of the other blogs I write are to spark your interest, teach you about something you may have not known or heard of and to motivate you all to truly find the best ways to Eat Well and Live Better.