There’s no shortage of stories about the therapeutic effects of apple cider vinegar (ACV), from weight management to disease prevention and treatment. This popular home remedy has also been used for hundreds of years in the kitchen as a cooking ingredient.
Vinegar, after all, has had colorful uses recorded throughout history. Hippocrates used it medicinally for wound healing, while Sung Tse, the 10th-century inventor of forensic medicine, promoted hand-washing with sulfur and vinegar to prevent infection during autopsy. Let’s dig deeper into the science backing the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Aids in Weight Loss and Maintenance
Several human studies show that vinegar may increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight. In a study, taking vinegar with a high-carbohydrate meal resulted in increased feelings of fullness, leading subjects to eat 200 to 275 fewer calories throughout the day.
ACV may also be helpful in suppressing obesity-induced oxidative stress, mainly through facilitating antioxidant defense systems. This was revealed in a study using rats fed a diet high in unhealthy fats. ACV also can reduce the risk of obesity-related illnesses by lowering atherogenic risk.
Similar benefits have been seen in fruit vinegars such as apple, pomegranate, and prickly pear, which appear to prevent obesity and related cardiac complications through their potent anti-inflammatory and anti-adiposity properties.
2. Fights Harmful Bacteria
Vinegar has demonstrated strong anti-pathogen action, including fighting bacteria. Using organic acids as supplements has, in fact, been deemed safe and effective in eliminating harmful bacteria in the intestines.
A study probed the antimicrobial ability of ACV against pathogens including E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. The results showed that the vinegar had antibacterial potential, with the concentration of ACV required to inhibit microbial growth varying for each species of bacteria. Follow-up research showed that ACV can also successfully eradicate methicillin-resistant bacteria.
3. Assists in Managing Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels
Among healthy subjects who ate a bread meal, supplementing with vinegar lowered glucose and insulin responses, as well as increased fullness. “The results indicate an interesting potential of fermented and pickled products containing acetic acid,” the researchers wrote in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In a separate small study, subjects with diabetes reported that consuming 2 tablespoons of ACV before bedtime decreased their fasting blood sugar by 4 percent the next morning.
4. Helps Control Candida Infection
A 32-year-old woman with chronic vaginal candida infection who failed to respond to other therapies also recovered with the application of ACV, which can be considered for patients who are unresponsive to conventional medical therapies for this condition.
5. Helps Improve Heart Health
Vinegar may also have acute effects on some risk factors of atherosclerosis, with significant changes seen in LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol between low and high doses of vinegar. Researchers pointed to “a probable protective value” for its use.
Cooking with vinegar or consuming it alone remain the best ways to incorporate ACV into your diet. You can also dilute vinegar with water and drink it as a beverage.
If you’re wondering about the “right” amount of apple cider vinegar to take, a 2016 review stated that consuming a drink with 15 milliliters, or about 1 tablespoon, of vinegar every day was typically enough to see potential health benefits. Experts also recommend getting organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that retains the “mother,” or a cloudy, murky appearance, for optimal health benefits.
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