Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
You might use apple cider vinegar to make tasty salad dressings, spunky meat marinades, or even to relieve the sting of pesky insect bites. But did you know it has some substantial health benefits too?
Let’s shed some light on why this common household food item should be moved from the back of your pantry, to the very front.
Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider Vinegar
In case you’re completely new to the whole apple cider vinegar thing, apple cider vinegar is not apple cider, and apple cider is not apple juice. Although they are all obviously related, hence their similar names, there is a distinct difference between them.
Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone filtration to remove particles of pulp or sediment. Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids.
However, apple cider vinegar is made through a two-step process. First, yeast is added to apple juice to break down the naturally occurring sugar (fructose) into alcohol. Then, bacteria (the mother) is added. This bacteria converts the alcohol into acetic acid. This process is what gives it the familiar and sour vinegar taste.
Always Look for Mother When Buying Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re not really familiar with apple cider vinegar, you’re probably wondering what the heck ‘mother’ is.
The term ‘mother’ actually refers to the dark and slimy sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Its cloudy appearance makes a lot of people mistakenly think the product has gone bad. However, that is actually the healthiest part and it is what you want to look for!
If a brand has removed the mother from the apple cider vinegar, it will look similar to regular apple juice and will not contain all of the healthy benefits the mother has to offer.
To get the full health benefits, look for a brand that offers organic, raw and unfiltered (contains the mother) apple cider vinegar, like Bragg.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Benefit Your Health
The key ingredient that allows apple cider vinegar to provide all of its wonderful health benefits is called acetic acid – which is made up of enzymes and good bacteria.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can take advantage of the amazing health benefits that apple cider vinegar has to offer…
Blood Sugar Regulation
Apple cider vinegar helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is important for everyone, not just prediabetics or diabetics. Anything we can do to keep our blood sugar in normal range at any stage of health is beneficial – not just when we start having blood sugar trouble. Because most of the devastating, chronic diseases today are associated with high blood sugar and insulin levels, being proactive today is vital for your future heath.
Diabetes researchers have observed that consuming apple cider vinegar with a meal helps reduce blood sugar and insulin spikes following the meal. They think the mechanism at work is the acetic acid – which interferes with the enzymes that break down starch, thus blocking the absorption of starch.
Remember, starch significantly raises your blood sugar and insulin levels, so blocking that absorption, in this case, is good.
Proper pH Balance
Apple cider vinegar helps your body maintain a balanced pH. This is important for a lot of reasons, but let’s discuss mineral absorption.
If you think in terms of calcium, magnesium and potassium, these are extremely important for your nervous system, heart and your overall muscle function. In fact, if you’ve ever gotten cramps in your legs or you feel like your legs just can’t relax, there’s a good chance that you’re lacking minerals.
So, in addition to taking a mineral supplement or eating foods with minerals, you can also drink a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Apple cider vinegar has a long history of helping heartburn and acid reflux. This is excellent news because the common heartburn medications increase your risk for kidney and heart disease. If you’re suffering from heartburn or acid reflux, giving apple cider vinegar is definitely worth a shot! It’s cheaper and a whole lot safer than medication.
Apple cider vinegar contains antioxidants and, of course, if you’re trying to turn back the age clock, you want lots of ’em.. They help prevent damage and are a big part of staying youthful and healthy.
Apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss too. Studies have shown that it actually helps lower your appetite and reduces water retention.
If you feel like you’re about to get sick, keep apple cider vinegar on hand. It can help a cold by pushing the body in the direction of being more alkaline, and that environment is not conducive for bad bacteria or viruses to grow. It also helps with colds by thinning the mucus, allowing it to drain easier.
Armpits and Feet
Apple cider vinegar neutralizes odor so, while it’s probably not a good choice for mouthwash, it might be useful for other areas of the body, such as armpits or feet.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used to relieve moderate to mild sunburns, as it is a pH regulator. The vinegar will actually help your skin cool down and repair.
You can add a small amount to a bath or make a diluted solution and spray it onto the affected area. Note: you should never put vinegar on a severe burn – and you definitely do not want to get it in your eyes (ouch!).
As I have mentioned, you should always use a diluted solution. This is extremely important because the acidity of apple cider vinegar could burn you. It’s also important to remember, when making your solution you should always err on the side of caution. Different brands can contain varying amounts of acetic acid.
Typically, you should make sure the solution is no stronger than about 1 part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water. If you’re applying it on the skin, you might want to make sure that it’s even more dilute than that – your skin is very delicate.
If you’re drinking it, you can put ½ – 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water. You can consume 2-3 teaspoons daily.
Try to start an apple cider vinegar regimen this week and let me know how you feel! Don’t forget, always buy raw, organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar – and don’t forget to look for mother!
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