What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Drinking pure apple juice is not the best idea as it's high in fructose which causes blood sugar to spike. However, when apple juice becomes alcohol and then is fermented, it becomes something else, something highly beneficial to the body.
The fermentation process uses yeast, which converts sugar into alcohol.
The following fermentation step involves acetobacter (the 'mother') turning the alcohol into acetic acid.
Acetobacter is a type of healthy bacteria.
What is Acetic Acid?
Acetic acid is the primary component of apple cider vinegar that gives it that distinctive odour and taste. Acetic acid is reported to have many benefits, such as helping a person lose weight.
Acetic acid may help to inhibit fat deposition whilst increasing metabolism.
Apple cider vinegar is low in calories and is pretty much carb-free!
Before we get into these potential benefits, we thought you might like to know the origin of the word 'vinegar'? (just for fun).
'Vinum' means 'wine', and 'aigre' means 'sour'. You will understand what this means if you taste it neat for the first time. Some people enjoy it straight (undiluted) while others prefer to have it in some water.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been enjoyed worldwide for thousands of years and is somewhat of an old folk remedy. The vital thing to know when choosing an ACV is to look for one that is organic, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurised and one that contains the 'mother'.
Why is the 'Mother' Important?
If you want the best ACV, always choose one with the mother. When it contains the mother, you can be sure that the product will be brimming with vital enzymes and healthy bacteria (for your digestion and gut microbiome).
Most ACV products you buy in the supermarket (and even some health food stores) are pasteurised and don't contain the mother. Pasteurisation destroys the enzymes and nutrients in the apple cider vinegar!
Consuming pasteurised ACV is like drinking commercial cow's milk (it is virtually a dead food). Raw milk*, on the other hand, is very healthy (for those who can tolerate it).
*Raw milk is sold as 'Bath Milk' and can be hard to obtain, but you might want to check your local health food shop if you have access or go online. There is a brand sold in Coles called 'Made by Cow'.
Back to the ACV...
A good apple cider vinegar is also cloudy (once shaken) as it contains healthy sediment and the mother. Supermarket ACV does not.
You do not need to refrigerate it, so it is okay for travelling also.
Reported Benefits of Drinking Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
There are many reported benefits to drinking raw ACV, such as:
- Help for the common cold
- Add a cup to a warm Epsom salts bath to increase detox
- Internal cleanser & detoxifier
- It May help to stimulate the digestive process
- It may improve gut health
- It can help to relieve allergies for some people
- Rich in enzymes
- It contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B7 and C and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
- Known to help with heartburn and mild acid reflux (as it can help increase stomach acid)*
- It may help to relieve muscle fatigue
- It may promote bladder health
- Known to help with weight loss as it contains acetic acid
- A natural antioxidant
Much of the benefits are anecdotal and more studies need to be done but as ACV is generally considered safe (unless contraindicated below) for many to consume.
*Not for use if a person has GERD, gastritis, stomach ulcers etc. (see contraindications below)
People who may want to avoid or be cautious of taking apple cider vinegar internally:
- Anyone with sensitive or irritated food pipe
- Anyone with stomach ulcers (see why below)
- Anyone with gastritis (see why below)
- Anyone with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (see below)
- Anyone with a histamine issue as fermented products can be high in histamines
- People on diuretics or medications for diabetes as ACV may react to these medications
If you have a stomach ulcer, it is probably best to avoid ACV because if you take it, it's like pouring salt onto an open wound! Once a stomach ulcer is healed though you should be fine to take raw ACV.
To help heal a stomach ulcer, you may wish to add in zinc carnosine, chlorophyll and practice intermittent fasting.
It may be best to consult with your health practitioner on this one as I can't give specific advice or dosages.
If you suffer from gastritis, adding in ACV is comparable to pouring petrol on a fire! This may exacerbate your symptoms so best to avoid it. If you heal your gastritis, (which may be possible with adding licorice root and a good probiotic such as this one) you may again be able to enjoy apple cider vinegar again?
If you have this condition, you will want to avoid ACV as it could cause more harm than good. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome occurs when there is a tumour located near your pancreas or small intestine. The tumour causes more gastric acid to be produced so adding more acid into your body through diet (acidic foods like ACV) is not a good idea and could make you very sick!
We don't want to put you off taking ACV as there really are so many wonderful benefits (potentially) and if you don't experience any of the things we have mentioned, it should be fine for you to consume. It is one of the oldest and most loved health tonics available and has a rich and long history.
Please stay tuned for our other blogs about acid reflux and heartburn coming soon...
Disclaimer: this article is for informational purposes only and not to be taken as advice. It is always recommended to seek professional medical advice from your trusted health practitioner.