Kim Kardashian West, Katy Perry and Hilary Duff are just some of the celebrities who swear by apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Touted as a health-packed home remedy, ACV has been a mainstay of the wellness world for a number of years now.
But, what exactly are the health benefits associated with the golden brown-tinted liquid and what’s the best way to consume it?
Here’s what we found…
What is apple cider vinegar?
As the name suggests, apple cider vinegar is made from apples. The fruit is crushed and mixed with yeast which then ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol.
Bacteria are added to further ferment the mixture which turns it into acetic acid — the active compound in vinegar, according to Healthline.
This acid is what gives vinegar its pungent smell and strong flavour and is what researchers believe is responsible for the health benefits associated with ACV.
ACV that is organic and unfiltered also contains something called the mother, which contains enzymes, gut-friendly bacteria and proteins and give the product its murky appearance.
ACV also lasts a long time and can live in your pantry, as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
What are the health benefits?
According to many wellness warriors, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar is as long as your arm. But, unfortunately, many of these aren’t scientifically proven. The benefits that are proven include:
— ACV can help manage type 2 diabetes
Those living with type 2 diabetes experience high blood sugar levels usually caused by insulin resistance.
According to Healthline, the healthiest way to regulate blood sugar levels for diabetics is through diet (and ditching refined carbs and sugar) but ACV can also prove useful.
Research has shown that consuming a couple of teaspoons with a meal reduces your blood sugar spikes post-meal. It can also improve your insulin response when taken before a meal.
A small study from 2004 found that consuming vinegar during a high carb meal improved insulin sensitivity by 19-34% and significantly lowered the blood sugar and insulin response.
— Help improve heart health
With heart disease being one of the leading causes of death across the world, leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is extremely important.
Numerous animal studies have found that ACV could improve many of the risk factors associated with heart disease. While this research was carried out with animals, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have a similar effect in humans but this is yet to be tested.
Three separate studies using rats and rabbits suggested that ACV could lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels and reduce blood pressure, which are all factors related to heart disease.
— It can aid in weight loss
Research has shown that ACV seems to increase the feeling of fullness. One study from 2005 found that consuming vinegar along with a high carb meal led to increased feelings of fullness. This led to participants consuming fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.
We are not fans of calorie-restrive diets, or dieting in general and only recommend weight loss if required for health reasons.
Are there downsides to using ACV?
There aren’t many downsides to ACV, so if you don’t notice any improvement in the above areas, it won’t do you any harm either. When using ACV, make sure to always dilute it. Harvard Health Publishing warns that the high acidity content in the vinegar can damage tooth enamel if consumed straight without water.
How to use it?
The easiest way to add ACV to your diet is by adding one to two tablespoon of the vinegar to a glass of water. It has an extremely strong, tart taste so start with one tablespoon and see how you go.
You can also use apple cider vinegar in salad dressings.
Combining ACV with olive oil, dijon mustard and garlic creates a seriously good sauce to lather up your salad. There are tons of salad dressing recipes on Google, so go and have a squiz to find your favourite.