By Kim Robson
For centuries, vinegar has been used for countless purposes: pickling, pest control, personal and household cleaning, metal polish, and salad dressing. But did you know it’s also an ancient folk remedy?
For years now, my mom has been telling me to take apple cider vinegar (ACV). She insists it lowers the acidity in the body, which is the cause of all disease. This didn’t make much sense to me, as vinegar is highly acidic and, since Mom’s a bit of a health nut, I didn’t pay much attention. Now it seems everyone is using it. There are numerous books written on the subject. A friend of mine is using it to naturally treat a staph infection, and it’s working better than antibiotics did. Another friend swears it cured her psoriasis.
Vinegar is made through fermentation, a process in which sugars are broken down by bacteria and yeast. At first, the sugars are turned into alcohol. If the alcohol is allowed to continue fermenting, it turns into vinegar. Vinegar can be made from all sorts of foods – fruits, vegetables, grains, or pulverized apples. All vinegars are primarily composed of acetic acid, but they also contain other beneficial acids, vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids. They include
Potassium – prevents brittle teeth, hair loss, and runny noses;
Pectin – regulates blood pressure, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol;
Malic Acid – anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties;
Calcium – strong bones and teeth;
Ash – helps maintain proper pH levels for a healthy alkaline state. (That must be what Mom was talking about.); and
Acetic Acid – slows the digestion of starch, which balances glucose spikes after meals.
Some books and websites tout amazing claims, like reversing the aging process, but many of these claims have no clinical evidence supporting them. Some (like treating lice or warts) actually have been disproven in research studies. A few of these claims do have the validation of medical research. Some studies, however, show that apple cider vinegar could help with several conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
Vinegar’s effect on blood sugar levels is well-researched and quite promising. Studies have found that ACV may help lower glucose levels. A 2007 study followed 11 people with type 2 diabetes and found that two tablespoons of ACV before bed resulted in lowered glucose levels by 4% to 6% the next morning. Studies in rats have shown evidence that ACV can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In laboratory settings, ACV has killed cancer cells or slowed their growth. For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. Another study indicated that small amounts of vinegar with food might help people feel more full.
Want to try it? First get good quality, organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. The best brand isBragg’s. Only raw organic ACV contains the “mother of vinegar” that makes it so beneficial. The “mother” consists of living nutrients and bacteria. You should see it settled in the bottom of the bottle as sediment. It is made up of strands of enzymes and connected protein molecules with living nutrients and bacteria, similar to the “mother” in Kombucha tea. Clear vinegar is filtered and pasteurized, and doesn’t have any of the benefits of raw ACV. Pill supplements are also less beneficial than liquid ACV.
Then, measure one to two tablespoons into a glass and fill with water. You can add fruit juice, honey, or agave nectar to make it more palatable. Just be sure to dilute it. Take in the morning with breakfast and/or in the evening with dinner. Repeat daily for maximum benefit. Simple, eh? Turns out, Mom was on to something after all! Remember the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?