Apple Cider Vinegar – main health benefits

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Veggy Malta looks into an old product with a new boost in popularity – apple cider vinegar (ACV). It is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community. In fact there is a long tradition of it being a home remedy product, used to treat all sorts of ailments. Whilst not all of these are as yet proven scientifically, more studies are being done on this product.

Bean salads and cooked whole grains go well with apple cider vinegar. You can add flavour to lentils, dressings and spreads. Plus you can also use it to spruce up your vegan salad (maybe a kale salad). In practice you can use it with many dishes. Do keep in mind that apple cider vinegar has a strong sweet tart flavour that should be used in moderation as it can ruin a dish.

Some people choose to dilute it and drink it as a beverage. Dosages range from 5-10 ml / 15-30 ml mixed in a large glass of water. It is always advisable to start with smaller doses, and do keep in mind that too much can have adverse effects. [1] Remember that it’s very acidic and can damage your teeth, skin burns, hurt your throat and even upset your stomach. Also it may interact with certain medication. [2]

Yet what are the benefits of this product?

  • Lowers blood sugars. High blood sugar can be a problem for everybody. The best way to keep blood sugar levels normal is by avoiding refined carbs and sugar. [3]  ACV may also help lower blood sugar. In one study it was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31 percent after eating white bread. [4]  Interestingly a study in Diabetes Care states that vinegar helped improve insulin sensitivity in those with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance by up to 34%. [5] On the other hand other studies show that it might not be ideal for people with type 1 diabetes. [6] It is also advisable for anyone taking blood sugar level medication to consult with their doctor before taking any type of vinegar.
  • Weight loss. Many fitness gurus and natural health experts recommend using it to help lose unwanted kilos. A number of human studies have show that vinegar can increase satiety. [7]  This will result in eating less calories. In one study, people taking vinegar with a high-carb meal felt fuller and ate between 200 – 275 calories less by the end of the day. [8] It is important to state that this combined with other dietary and lifestyle changes may have a positive result and not as a stand alone solution.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Virtually no human studies on this subject have not been done except an observation study which showed that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease. [9]  There though have been some animal studies which suggest that apple cider vinegar may lower cholesterol levels. [10] Other studies show that it reduces blood pressure in rats. [11]

Other benefits and uses for apple cider vinegar.

  • Itchy bites and stings. An old wives remedy. It is said that a weak and diluted solution dabbed on bites and stings may help itching and irritation.
  • Foot Odour. Users claim that it can help keep smelly feet under control. This would happen because it may help balance the skin’s pH and even fight the bacteria that cause foot odour. To do this you would need to mix a very small amount of apple cider with water. Dab cotton balls or a small towel or cotton rags into the water and wrung out. Wipe the bottom of the feet. Important to avoid wearing shoes made from material like leather that can be stained by the acidity.
  • Can kill harmful bacteria. Traditionally it was used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus and lice. It is said that Hippocrates, known as he father of modern medicine, used vinegar to treat a wound.
  • Preserve food. If you want a natural way to help preserve your food , then apple cider vinegar could be useful. Some studies have shown that it inhibits bacteria from growing in food. [12]
  • Natural deodorant. The armpits are an ideal breeding ground or bacteria which can worsen an individuals body odour.  Using a diluted quantity under the armpits can help kill these bacteria and neutralise the odour.
  • Household cleaner. Mixing it with water can create a natural household cleaner which thanks to it’s antibacterial properties will help kill germs.

Last few words on apple cider vinegar

Certainly a dash of apple cider vinegar will add colour and taste to your plates (and not just salads). It is easily accessible and there are many available brands of apple cider vinegar on the market to choose from in health shops and supermarkets. The good thing is that there are many anecdotal uses along with a degree of preliminary evidence suggesting benefits towards a number of conditions. It is advisable to consult your nutritionist / heath care provider if you are planning of using it and only use it in small, highly diluted quantities.

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DisclaimerThe information and content on this site is intended to be of general informational use only and is not a substitute advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed medical professional. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, medical diagnosis, or medical treatment. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before using alternative medicine or making any changes in your diet, exercise pattern or lifestyle.

Author: Darryl Grima

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