Drinking apple cider vinegar may be good for you! Here are some mistakes you can make
Drinking apple cider vinegar has a number of health benefits, but doing it wrong can be bad for your health.
While an apple a day may not keep the doctor away, apple cider vinegar is rich in nutrients on its own. The fermented juice that comes from apples has an active ingredient that experts say may slightly aid in weight loss, and the product has several other health benefits.
But apple cider vinegar is not the magic weight loss answer some promote it to be, and some medical professionals have grown weary of over-promoting its benefits while research is ongoing. However, there are at least some known advantages to occasionally including vinegar in one’s diet and almost no known harm.
What is apple cider vinegar?
As its name suggests, apple cider vinegar is literally vinegar made from apples. It is produced by pressing apples into apple juice, allowing it to ferment.
The mixture of yeast and water is often mixed with sugar and has become a popular ingredient in foods such as pickles, salad dressings and marinades. It is sometimes sold in pill, gum, or powder form, but is most commonly purchased in grocery stores as a pasteurized, pure, and filtered product.
There is also an unfiltered form of juice. This type includes a thick, cloudy layer of probiotic bacteria on the surface of the vinegar known as the “mother.”
What are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar?
The “mother” layer of apple cider vinegar contains probiotics that are promoted as good for gut health, but supporting research is scarce. Acetic acid is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar (and other types of vinegar) and has been associated with positive health outcomes, such as reducing certain risk factors associated with heart disease.
Josh Redd, NMD, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid, says additional research shows that consuming apple cider vinegar can also help lower cholesterol, “especially in people with type 2 diabetes.” Vinegar is also rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, which are essential minerals for the health and proper functioning of the organs. And apple cider vinegar is packed with antioxidants that scavenge free radicals from blood cells to prevent or reduce disease or illness.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Apple cider vinegar has also been linked to aiding weight loss. Such claims usually include a small study that found that consuming vinegar can prevent obesity by improving metabolism and inflammation problems. Lisa Young, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition at New York University and author of Finally Full, Finally Thin, says vinegar has also been shown to “increase satiety, which in turn else it can reduce the appetite”. She says that the suggested amount of apple cider vinegar to take each day should not be more than 1-2 tablespoons.
“Consuming apple cider vinegar with meals may also help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which may help promote weight loss,” Redd explains, but adds that such research is ongoing. Until more definitive results come in, he says it’s still possible to reap some of the product’s other health benefits safely as long as the doses remain small. Even then, “because of its high acidity, apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel over time and should be diluted with water,” he suggests.
Barbara Olendzki, RD, associate professor of population and quantitative health sciences at the UMass Chan School of Medicine, agrees that diluting the product is wise and says that while vinegar is not a “magic bullet” against obesity, there is some ongoing research that suggests it can beneficially help the gut microbiome. “And that’s very important for losing weight,” she says.
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