There’s no shortage of information about the use of apple cider vinegar for good health; in fact, so much has been written about this subject it’s downright overwhelming. The general consensus is, however, that adding a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your diet may be worth considering for several reasons. What is probably the most obvious and undeniable benefit of ACV is its ability to help the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level.
How ACV Raises Body pH
Vinegar is a remarkable substance which has a history of use dating back as far as 5000 BC, when it is believed to have been discovered and used in ancient Babylonia. Hippocrates (400 BC) is known to have used vinegar medicinally for wound care, and by 1000 AD, physicians in some parts of the world were using vinegar to prevent infection.
Through the years, many physicians and researchers have promoted theories and conducted studies to determine how certain foods such as apple cider vinegar affect the body’s acid/alkaline (pH) balance, and how body pH levels affect health.
Raw organic ACV is very acidic, with a pH value of 2.4. It contains 5% acetic acid and smaller amounts of malic acid, lactic acid, and various amino acids. This acid content gives ACV its antiseptic properties, making ACV beneficial for halting the growth of unwanted bacteria and yeasts in the digestive tract.
So, how does this acidic food help to bring body pH levels to a more alkaline state? During the digestive process, foods are used up and/or broken down, leaving only an acid or alkaline residue after they are completely digested. This residue is determined by the type and amount of minerals present in the food.
Since raw organic ACV contains a significant amount of the minerals calcium and potassium, it leaves behind an alkaline residue after it is digested (even though the original liquid was an acid).
Other Reported Benefits of ACV
From among the countless benefits which have been attributed to ACV, here are eight major ones:
- Overall detoxification: As an aid to balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar is useful for detoxing the body. Besides stimulating the circulatory system and helping to detoxify the liver, it also breaks up mucous and helps cleanse the lymphatic system.
- Weight loss: Numerous studies have shown the ACV can support healthy weight loss when comparing groups of ACV-users to groups not ingesting ACV. In addition, ACV has been demonstrated to naturally result in the consumption of less calories daily.
- Healthy blood sugar: Many studies have shown ACV to have strong blood sugar-supporting properties. PRECAUTION: Since ACV can lower blood sugar levels, patients on diabetes medications should be monitored closely and consult with a physician before beginning a regimen including ACV. The combination of ACV and medications may lower blood sugar levels too much.
- Healthy cholesterol: Not only can ACV protect cholesterol from oxidation or damage, it has also been shown to support healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Improves stomach acid production: Acetic acid, the main type of acid found in ACV, can increase stomach acid production in people whose HCl production is too low.
- Destroys Candida and fungus: ACV is rich in natural enzymes, and has demonstrated anti-fungal properties against Candida, a genus of yeast which can cause thrush, yeast infections, and symptoms such as poor memory and sugar cravings.
- Blood pressure support: Interestingly, studies have revealed that ACV helps to support healthy blood pressure levels by increasing the large intestines’ ability to absorb calcium, a capability associated with lower blood pressure levels.
- Eases joint pain and stiffness: Regular consumption of ACV can reduce inflammation, and has been linked to a decrease in joint pain and gout symptoms. The malic acid content of ACV is thought to be responsible for dissolving uric acid crystals within the joint and helping to flush them from the body.
Additional reported benefits of ACV include (but are not limited to): lessening cravings, immune support, antioxidant effect, allergy relief, and use as a topical disinfectant.
Read the Label Before You Buy
Most physicians and health care practitioners who suggest a more alkaline diet recommend using only raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This is the only type of ACV which has not undergone pasteurization, and still contains a cloudy substance known as “the mother” of the vinegar.
Commercially-manufactured ACV is produced using a very fast fermentation process, and is then pasteurized (heated), destroying live enzymes. This type of ACV is bright in color, free from cloudiness, and visually appealing. But it does not contain “the mother” or offer the health-enhancing properties of ACV with intact enzymes and rich mineral content.
Raw, unpasteurized, naturally-fermented ACV–containing “the mother” with intact enzymes and minerals–is the only type of ACV that works to alkalize your body pH. It is produced from apples fermented in a slow, natural two-step process. This gives it a rich, amber color and a cloudy appearance, containing sediments or “lees” which settle at the bottom of a bottle.
To be sure that you’re getting a high-quality product, check the ACV label for the words “raw” (or “from the mother”), “unfiltered,” and “organic.” A tried-and-true brand for quality is Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
Adding ACV to Your Diet
It’s very easy—and even enjoyable—to add ACV to your diet every day. You should try to consume a total of at least 2 tablespoons of raw organic ACV throughout the day. Here are a few suggested ways for you to check out:
- Hot drink: Swirl a tablespoon of raw organic ACV with organic honey (to taste) into a cup of warm water and enjoy! Use a flavored stevia to sweeten, instead of the honey, if your prefer.
- Juice drink: Skip the pricey store-bought drinking vinegars, and make your own tasty drinking vinegar for pennies. Combine 1 tablespoon of raw organic ACV in 1 to 2 cups water, along with approx. 2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit juice!
- Salad dressing: Just switch to raw organic ACV in place of the vinegar when making your favorite homemade vinaigrette. Or try this salad dressing recipe: 2 Tbsp. ACV, 1 tsp. chopped garlic, 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp. organic honey, 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp. dried basil, dash cayenne pepper, dash cumin powder, and Himalayan salt to taste.
- Condiment for cooked greens: If you enjoy a nice bowl of cooked greens such as spinach, kale, or collards, then splash on a tablespoon of raw organic ACV.
You will over time develop your own favorite ways of adding ACV to your diet, but if you’re using the vinegar for good health, it’s important to add at least 2 tablespoons/day consistently.
If you’re thinking about just drinking straight apple cider vinegar, it is not recommended. Undiluted vinegar, if consumed regularly, has been known to wear away tooth enamel and damage the esophagus. And ACV pills have been shown to be inconsistent in their active ingredients, while also having the potential to do damage if they get stuck in the throat.
Get Results Faster
Just remember: adding raw organic apple cider vinegar to your diet every day will not cancel out the effects of eating too many acid-forming foods. Adding raw ACV is intended to be a “boost” to your new alkaline way of eating, helping you to achieve your balanced pH faster.
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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.