In my previous blogs, we talked about the health benefits of honey and tofu. This time I want to share the health benefits of yet another underappreciated superfood (supercondiment?), apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Who would've thought that vinegar, of all things, is such a powerhouse of health benefits? I certainly didn't know until my husband got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Only then did we start researching and learning about natural ways to manage his blood sugar level. And, lo and behold, apple cider vinegar is at the top of the list. What's even more surprising is that the health benefits it provides do not stop there. Raw, organic, unpasteurized, and unfiltered ACV is one of the oldest and most useful remedies known to mankind. Let's explore the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
① Blood Sugar Level Management ①
One of the most studies and successful application of ACV is its ability to regulate the blood sugar levels of patients with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
Insulin is a very important hormone because it's the one responsible for transporting sugar to the other parts of the body to be used as a fuel. However, high levels of insulin is also not a good thing as it can cause insulin resistance, a condition that will eventually lead to high blood sugar and diabetes. Studies have shown that consumption of vinegar, ACV in particular, can help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing the insulin sensitivity of those with insulin resistance or diabetes by up to 34%.
To help regulate your blood sugar levels, dilute 1 or 2 tablespoons of ACV in 8 ounces of water and consume before eating. However, you should not just rely on this. You also need to limit your consumption of carbs while increasing your intake of foods that are high in fiber and protein.
② Maintains Healthy Alkaline-PH Levels ②
ACV is technically a vinegar and vinegars are naturally acidic, right? Well, raw organic ACV is a special case. Instead of becoming acidic, it actually becomes alkaline when consumed. Why is that important? Our bodies need to have a certain level of acid-alkaline balance in order to function properly. Even just a slight deviation in this balance can have a significant effect on the body. For example, unnaturally high levels of acidity can lead to lack of energy and even higher chances of infection. The body needs to be more alkaline for it in order to keep your energy up and protect you against various diseases and illnesses.
③ Lowers Blood Pressure ③
High blood pressure is no laughing matter. It is a very serious medical condition that increases your risk factor for heart diseases as it forces your heart to work much harder which weakens the muscle of your heart.
In an animal study in Japan, researchers have found out that acetic acid, the main component of ACV, can significantly reduce levels of blood pressure. More animal studies have also concluded the same thing. Vinegar helps block the actions of a specific enzyme that causes blood pressure to rise.
④ Reduces Heart Health Risks ④
Aside from lowering blood pressure, studies have shown that regular consumption of ACV can also increase HDL or the good cholesterol while lowering LDL or the bad cholesterol and triglyceride, as well as other heart disease risk factors. However, these studies are mainly conducted on animals. The only study conducted on humans, so far, is an observational study in Harvard where women who ate salad dressings with vinegar are observed to have a reduced risk of heart disease. It is also important to note that there is nothing conclusive noted about the study because it cannot prove that vinegar caused anything.
⑤ Detoxifies the Body ⑤
ACV helps balance your pH. A more balanced pH encourages the lymphatic drainage while enhancing circulation which helps detoxify the body. Cleaner lymph nodes mean better lymph circulation. A healthy lymphatic system means better immune system response.
Researchers have found out that it also helps clear away harmful environmental toxins in the body, especially the liver, because it has a variety of healing processes for both the skin and blood.
⑥ Offers Relief from Various Digestive Ailment Symptoms ⑥
ACV helps stimulate the body's digestive juices which help in the breaking down of food. This helps alleviate the symptoms of many digestive disorders such as indigestion, gas, bloating, and even acid reflux. Many experts claim that a teaspoon of ACV taken with a glass of water can give you relief from heartburn symptoms. Additionally, the healthy acids of ACV such as acetic, isobutyric, lactic and propionic acid help control the growth of unwanted bacteria and yeast in the gut and the rest of the body which results in better digestion.
⑦ For Weight Loss and Belly Fat Reduction ⑦
Would you believe me if I tell you that vinegar can also help you lose weight? Several studies on humans have proven that consumption of vinegar helps you eat fewer calories by increasing your satiety. Fewer calories mean more pounds lost on the weighing scale.
A study conducted on 175 obese people showed significant weight loss and reduced belly fat upon regular consumption of ACV. In a span of 3 months, people who took 1 tablespoon of ACV a day lost 1.2 kg while those who consumed 2 tablespoons lost up to 3.7 kg. While the results may seem modest, remember that the study only ran for 3 months. However, you also need to understand that consumption of ACV won't have any significant effects on its own. You still need a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle to see better results.
⑧ May Help Prevent Osteoporosis ⑧
Osteoporosis is a frightening bone condition that affects about 200 million women around the world. Don't worry because ACV can help prevent you from developing this bone disease as it helps in the nutrient absorption of calcium, an essential mineral for osteoporosis prevention. Daily consumption of ACV along with a proper meal can help protect you against osteoporosis by strengthening your bones.
⑨ Better Skin Health ⑨
ACV doesn't just benefit your internal health. Amazingly, it can also be used to treat acne and reduce scarring. This is mainly thanks to the inherent antibacterial properties of vinegars that kill many strains of harmful bacteria that cause acne.
ACV also contains acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid. All of these components fight the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria strain that causes acne. These same components have also been found out to help reduce scarring. According to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, using lactic acid for 3 months as a treatment for acne scars can lead to improved pigmentation, texture, and overall appearance of the skin. While ACV may be a good acne treatment, you should still eat healthy foods and keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
⑩ Offers Relief from Acid Reflux Symptoms ⑩
Image credit: https://guardian.ng
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), is a condition that allows acid to backflow from the stomach to the esophagus which consequently causes uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms such as nausea, belching, and heartburn.
Acid reflux is often caused by low levels of stomach acid. By drinking ACV, you introduce more acid into your digestive tract which helps balance your stomach acid levels. This, in turn, will help give you relief from your symptoms.
Drink before eating an 8-ounce glass of water mixed with one to two tablespoons of ACV. Do this every day plus eat more vegetable and foods rich in healthy fats, as well as fermented food to help with the symptoms further.
⑪ Has Anti-Aging Properties ⑪
Aside from its various health benefits, it's really surprising to learn that ACV can also help fight premature aging. Vinegar has antioxidant properties that can help prevent the premature appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. Additionally, the ability of ACV to maintain balanced acid-alkaline levels in the body also plays a key role.
⑫ Helps Protect You Against Free Radical Damage ⑫
You've probably heard of the term "free radicals". You may have also heard that it can cause all sorts of problems to our health. But, did you know that they are actually essential to life? They are continually created to carry on the metabolic activity of the body, as well as kill harmful germs to fight infections. The only time free radicals will cause you trouble is when your body produces more than it can handle. When this happens, free radicals can cause oxidative damage to your body's tissues, cell membranes, proteins, and DNA which can lead to various diseases such as autoimmune diseases and cancers. It can also cause you to look more haggard and wrinkled.
You can't avoid free radicals because it's a natural and essential part of the body. However, what you can do is to minimize your exposure to them, as well as neutralize their effects. Antioxidants have the ability to keep free radicals under control and ACV is a rich source of antioxidants. So, consumption of ACV can actually help reduce free radicals in the body.
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