Nyngan Observer

Heres how to use apple cider vinegar to your advantage

The health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been touted for years. Picture Shutterstock
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been touted for years. Picture Shutterstock

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The origins of apple cider vinegar can be traced back hundreds if not thousands of years. Back then, humans used it as a natural remedy for a range of afflictions including infections and coughs. Today, apple cider vinegar is a popular household product used for cooking and many other purposes, including therapeutic ones.

The health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been touted for years. Some of them are backed by scientific evidence, while others are mostly anecdotal. Let's have a closer look, shall we?

What is apple cider vinegar?

First things first. Apple cider vinegar is one of many types of vinegar. Others include:

  • distilled white vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • malt vinegar
  • rice vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from the fermented sugars of apple juice. The fermentation process turns these sugars into acetic acid-and there's your vinegar. The acidity of apple cider vinegar is typically 5-6 per cent.

Apple cider vinegar comes in two forms: filtered and unfiltered. The former has a clear appearance and resembles distilled white vinegar. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, is brownish-orange in color and has a cloudy appearance. This is due to the presence of natural enzymes and proteins which participate in the fermentation process.

Therefore, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is more natural than its filtered counterpart and has more beneficial properties as well.

Like other types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar has a very, very long shelf-life and does not need to be refrigerated after opening. It has a sour, sharp flavour that might take some getting used to.

Apple cider vinegar can be purchased in most grocery stores. If you're too busy to make a run to the store, you can order it online and have a shipping company that offers road freight and express courier services send parcel to your doorstep.

Benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can benefit your health in various ways, but you wouldn't know it to look at the nutrition facts label. Apple cider vinegar contains only small quantities of calories, vitamins, and minerals. So where does its value come from?

The answer lies in the fermentation process, which lends apple cider vinegar considerable amounts of beneficial bacteria (probiotics), antioxidants, and antimicrobial agents (which hinder the growth of harmful microorganisms). All of which are good for our health.

Here is a list of potential apple cider vinegar benefits.

Blood sugar

Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar is effective in reducing blood sugar levels. This makes it an important supplement for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Taking apple cider vinegar with a meal can improve insulin sensitivity and keep blood glucose levels under control.

Even people whose blood sugar levels are in the normal range can benefit from apple cider vinegar, as it may reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes down the road.

Weight loss

Much of the hype surrounding apple cider vinegar has to do with its purported ability to aid weight loss. While there are no studies firmly linking apple cider vinegar to weight loss, it does appear to have an effect. This could be due to its high acetic acid content, which may promote fat-burning.

The more likely explanation, however, is that apple cider vinegar makes you feel full more quickly, which has the effect of restricting the amount of calories you eat.

Cholesterol and heart health

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack. That's why it's so important to achieve the right balance of HDL (or "good") cholesterol and LDL (or "bad") cholesterol.

Some studies indicate that apple cider vinegar can help you do this, though they stress that further research is needed.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach moves upwards into your oesophagus and throat, resulting in symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. It's normal to experience acid reflux on occasion, but repeated instances may be a sign of a disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

In addition to being painful, GERD can damage the lining of your oesophagus. This can increase your risk of developing a precancerous condition known as Barrett's oesophagus.

Many people say that apple cider vinegar works wonders with regard to acid reflux. The evidence for this is anecdotal, but you have nothing to lose by trying it.

How to use apple cider vinegar

There are multiple ways to take apple cider vinegar. Many people prefer to incorporate it into their meals, for instance by adding it to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

You can also consume apple cider vinegar on its own; one tablespoon is a good starting point. If you find this unpleasant, try diluting it with warm or cold water, or even tea.

Take apple cider vinegar with your meals, when you wake up in the morning, or before you go to bed at night.

Does apple cider vinegar have side effects?

Apple cider vinegar is regarded as safe and is well tolerated when used in moderation. With that said, some people find the taste offensive and may experience nausea and vomiting.

Note also that, due to its high acidity, apple cider vinegar can wear down the enamel on your teeth if you use it consistently over a long period of time.

Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain medications. Consult your physician if you're concerned about this.