For thousands of years vinegar has been made and used by people and there are many ancient texts that refer to it. Vinegar is a liquid that contains acetic acid and is produced by a process of fermentation that increases bacteria within this acid. Today, vinegar is mainly used in the diet as a cooking agent, though historically, because it was readily available and had a high acid content, it had many commercial and industrial uses such as a cleaning agent and disinfectant. Its interesting to note that even though vinegar is high in bacteria, mainly acetic acid bacteria, it is an excellent medium for canning and preserving food. Essentially vinegar contains good bacteria that will defend against bad bacteria that can degrade food.
There are many types of vinegar including: Balsamic vinegar made from grapes, cane vinegar made from sugar cane, beer vinegar, wine, coconut, date, rice,and many more. Perhaps the most common vinegar is white vinegar made from corn. For this discussion we will be focusing on apple cider vinegar, in particular, apple cider vinegar made from organic apples, that is raw, unfiltered and un-pasteurized and it’s health benefits thereof. This process ensures that the vinegar doesn’t contain any chemicals and that the raw health benefits aren’t filtered and heated out in the production process.
Here are a few health benefits widely associated with the intake of apple cider vinegar in the diet:
Aids in digestion and stomach upset: A healthy digestive system is meant to be highly acidic. It’s a little challenging to understand but without this high acidity one can actually experience gas, bloating and acid reflux. The reason for this is because while there is acid in the stomach, there is not enough to do the job properly and food ferments and expands slowly instead of breaking down more quickly thus causing problems. Stomach upset and diarrhea can many times be caused by bacteria or viral infection. Apple cider vinegar with its antimicrobial properties can help to eliminate such invaders.
Promotes alkalinity: Again, a bit of a paradox here. Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic and it promotes a highly acidic digestive system, but all of this actually promotes alkalinity throughout the body.
Supports immune health: We now know that apple cider vinegar promotes a highly acidic and healthy digestive system and alkalinity in the body and as it turns out both of these are important for overall immune health. An estimated 70% (the heart of our immune system) is in the gut. Apple cider vinegar also promotes cleansing of the liver and lymph system both important to the overall immune system.
Oral health: Apple cider vinegar has the ability to kill germs that cause bad breath. It can also help whiten and eliminate stains from teeth by dissolving plaque and mineral buildup although caution should be used so as not to damage tooth enamel. The next time you feel a sore throat and possibly a cold coming on try gargling with apple cider vinegar to kill off the invaders. It’s worth while to mention that gargling with straight apple cider vinegar is not advisable because one wrong move here and you might end up with it in your windpipe which can be very unpleasant. Instead dilute with water for a safer experience.
Helps stabilize blood sugar: Research indicates that apple cider vinegar can help stabilize blood sugar and reduce the glycemic index of foods all of which is good news for anyone dealing with diabetes.
Promotes weight loss: As previously outlined improved blood sugar management can also help in weight management. Also, apple cider vinegar is touted as increasing the metabolism in general. But perhaps the one area where apple cider vinegar plays the most significant role in weight loss is it’s ability to improve the digestive system in general and it’s antimicrobial properties. Both of these factors can play a significant role in helping to control and eliminate candida (yeast) which is known to contribute to stubborn weight gain.
Improve respiratory health: Apple cider vinegar has the ability to not only kill the bacteria that can cause mucous, but also thin and eliminate excess mucous. This can be beneficial for anyone dealing with a short term cold and flu issue or for someone dealing with a more chronic long term concern such as asthma and allergies.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to entertain trying apple cider vinegar – try taking a shot of it the next time you have hiccups, massage it into a sunburn to speed healing, use it as a facial cleanser to improve skin tone and elevate acne. Use it as a natural cleanser and disinfectant around the house, to remove water stains from stainless steel and around the kitchen sink, add some to the dishwasher for spot free glasses and to remove lime scale from the heating element.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains