Apple cider vinegar is a versatile product that became popular for its applications in gastronomy and natural medicine. What does science say about the benefits attributed to it? Find out!
The benefits of apple cider vinegar have been documented through various investigations. While it is true that many of its uses come from popular literature, there is evidence of its nutritional content and its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial potential. Are you interested in knowing more?
To begin with, let’s remember that this product is obtained from the combination of apples with yeast. The latter ferments the sugars and transforms them into alcohol. Later, bacteria are added to the mixture and the alcohol is converted to acetic acid.
This substance is what gives it its sour taste and strong aroma. In addition, it appears that it is responsible for its benefits. Added to this, apple cider vinegar also contains water, traces of other acids, vitamins, minerals and other compounds that contribute to health.
Health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, like other varieties of vinegar, is characterized by its content of bioactive compounds with pharmacological potential. According to a review published in Food Chemistry, this product concentrates polyphenols, organic acids, and micronutrients that exert beneficial effects when they are assimilated into the body.
In particular, it is attributed to antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antihypertensive properties. It is also positively associated with skin health and the prevention of premature aging. Let’s take a closer look at its science-backed benefits.
1. Has antibacterial activity
Apple cider vinegar is used as a disinfectant and as a natural preservative. Due to its acetic acid content, it helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as E. Coli, which can accelerate the breakdown of food and cause infections.
In a study published in 2018, researchers determined that this vinegar has multiple antimicrobial potentials, as it fights pathogens such as E. coli, S. aureus, and C. Albicans. However, the evidence is still lacking to determine what dose is effective and safe.
2. Contributes to regulate glucose levels
One of the most popular benefits of apple cider vinegar has to do with the regulation of blood glucose levels. Although this product is not a first-line treatment for diabetes, its consumption in moderate amounts serves as an adjuvant to stabilize glucose.
A small study published in Diabetes Care found that consuming apple cider vinegar diluted in water can improve insulin sensitivity by between 19% and 34%, especially after a carbohydrate-heavy meal.
Meanwhile, in a review published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, it was concluded that vinegar helps improve insulin function after meals. Thus, in turn, it lowers blood sugar levels.
3. It is an aid in weight loss
Weight loss varies from person to person, as it is determined by genetics and lifestyle. Apple cider vinegar cannot fight excess weight on its own; however, its consumption is a compliment for those who are trying to lose weight.
Human studies suggest that its moderate consumption increases the feeling of satiety. Consequently, caloric intake decreases and weight loss increases.
Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that taking this ingredient after a hearty meal in carbohydrates increases satiety. It even made the participants consume 200 to 275 fewer calories during the day.
On the other hand, in a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry it was observed that the daily consumption of apple cider vinegar caused a reduction in abdominal fat in those involved.
4. Has positive effects on heart health
In popular medicine there is talk of benefits of apple cider vinegar for cardiovascular health. There are even those who suggest that its daily intake lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. However, to date there is not enough evidence.
Animal studies have found that this ingredient reduces cardiovascular risk factors, such as the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It also appears to act as an antihypertensive. Despite this, there are no solid data confirming the same effects in humans.
Anyway, as long as its consumption is moderate, it can be included as a complement to a healthy and balanced diet. However, if you are taking medication, it is best to consult your doctor first.
5. Contributes to skin care
About the application of apple cider vinegar on the skin there are several controversies. While some dermatologists completely discourage its use, others state that diluted in water it can contribute to the control of the symptoms of problems such as eczema or dandruff.
How do you explain this? The skin is protected by an acid barrier. When said acidity is altered, dryness and inflammation increase. Vinegar, by containing organic acids, seems to help restore the skin’s pH balance. However, it is not entirely proven.
In any case, to avoid unwanted effects, it should always be diluted in equal parts of water. For more safety, the ideal is to do a small test in one of the areas of the skin before applying it in its entirety. If any unwanted reaction is observed, it should be rinsed with plenty of water and use discontinued.
How to take advantage of the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
To take advantage of the benefits of apple cider vinegar, just use it in the kitchen. It’s great for dressing, homemade mayonnaise, and other recipes. Also, there are those who prefer to dilute one or two teaspoons (5 to 10 milliliters) in a glass of warm water. It is consumed in the morning.
The use of undiluted apple cider vinegar should be completely avoided, as it can cause tooth enamel deterioration and digestive discomfort. It also has drug interactions. It should be consulted in case of being under medical treatment.
Apple cider vinegar is not a miracle product
As we can see, the evidence has found interesting properties in apple cider vinegar. However, that does not mean that it is a medicinal product. While it is associated with health benefits, it is not a substitute for medical treatments and it does not act on its own.
It is necessary to accompany its consumption with healthy lifestyle habits. Also, if you have illnesses, you should consult your doctor. It must be remembered that this ingredient can interact with medications.