The health benefits of apple cider vinegar have become an internet craze.
Some benefits are scientifically proven or partially so, while others are nothing more than conjecture.
Of course just because something isn't proven, doesn't mean it isn't true. At the same time just because ACV has some health benefits, doesn't mean that it can cure everything.
Many people, myself included, are happy to experiment with apple cider vinegar. If it has some benefit then we keep taking it.
The main theory as to why apple cider vinegar is benefical for your health is that it promotes alkalinity in the body. This is based on the idea that many chronic health problems stem from the body being too acidic.
Even though ACV itself is acidic, when you consume it it actually makes the body more alkaline. It isn't the only food to do this (lemons and grapefruit are two other examples), but it is a very effective and easy to consume one.
These are five health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are either backed by science, or my personal experience. Naturally you should take any health information on the internet with a grain of salt and consult your doctor first.
I first started looking into apple cider vinegar because of insomnia. I wasn't sleeping well and I was trying to find a natural health product that would promote better sleep.
At first I took the ACV right before bed and it actually made things worse. The energy boosting properties of ACV kept me awake.
I switched to drinking ACV before breakfast an immediately noticed an improvement in my sleep. I would fall asleep faster, stay asleep and wake up refreshed before my alarm clock.
On Tim Ferriss's recommendation I switched to taking my apple cider vinegar with tea and honey one hour before bed. I have happily found that this improves my sleep signficantly.
There is no scientific proof behind apple cider vinegar's impact on sleep and insomnia, however it has been theorized that the ACV rectifies certain mineral and micro nutrient deficiencies.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, potassium, pectin, calcium, selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium and iron. It also has vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E.
Elevated blood sugar is a health risk for everybody but especially those with Type 2 diabetes.
However until a larger trial has been done, it is impossible to know the impact of ACV for certain.
A study of obese Japanese adults gave their groups either 15ml of ACV, 30mls or a placebo of 0ml over a 12 week period.
In both vinegar groups body weight, BMI, visceral fat area and waist circumference were lower than in the placebo group. 3
Apple cider vinegar won't work miracles when it comes to weight loss. Only diet and exercise can do that.
However it can work as an aid to weight loss by helping you feel full faster, and therefore ensuring you consume fewer calories.
The theory is that the pectin in ACV, which is a short chain fatty acid, aids in regulating your appetite. 4
ACV has often been said to soothe an upset stomach and ease digestive issues.
Again, this is because of the pectin, which is a prebiotic, which aids the production of probiotics in your gut.
Rather than taking a probiotic supplement, which may or may not be effective, the prebiotic nature of apple cider vinegar provides food and fertilizer to the probiotics that are already there.
When you are sick your body becomes more acidic. The alkalising effect of apple cider vinegar helps your immune system fight off the illness.
The acetic acid can also kill off the germs that cause a sore throat and thin mucus, which will unclog your system.
I started taking apple cider vinegar for insomnia. It worked so well that I started looking into it more and discovered the numerous health benefits.
Almost any time I had a minor health issue I would look to see if ACV could help.
Now, rather than waiting until I get sick or need it, I just take apple cider vinegar as a general health tonic everyday.
While the science is definately limited, this is one home remedy that experience has shown me I can't live without.
Image credit: Mike Mozart