Apple cider vinegar is commonly used to make dressings and sauces. However, recently it has become a popular ingredient in all sorts of diets and nutrition programs. From apple cider vinegar shots and beverages lining the refrigerated section at your local supermarket to gummies supplements you can buy online; there are plenty of people that swear by its benefits. But what are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and is it actually good for you?
Here’s what the science says about apple cider vinegar and what you need to know about how it can help your health.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, is one of the most common kinds of vinegar. It is made by fermenting apples and has been used for centuries in recipes and remedies. Its acidic, sour taste is pungent on its own but can add a unique flavor to a variety of dishes.
Despite its strong flavor, taking a daily dose of apple cider vinegar by adding it to one’s water or tea, tossing back a shot of the liquid, or popping ACV gummies, is now the popular way to consume it. This trend developed as people caught on to the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar. From boosting immunity to improving metabolic health, consuming even small amounts of apple cider vinegar might have an impact on health.
Is apple cider vinegar a probiotic?
Apple cider vinegar does contain probiotics since it is made by combining apples with yeast and bacteria. This process, called fermentation, produces probiotics — good gut bacteria. Consuming probiotic foods, such as apple cider vinegar, yogurt, or sauerkraut, may help improve digestion and immune function. In addition, probiotics can reduce the risk of chronic disease.
What Are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
People who swear by apple cider vinegar say it can improve skin, ease a sore throat, and even help with weight loss. However, there isn’t much research to back up these claims. One study on overweight subjects did find that those who consumed 15 or 30 ml of ACV per day for 12 weeks had significantly lower weight, BMI, and waist circumference, but more research is necessary.
Another potential health benefit of apple cider vinegar is it may reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of clinical studies revealed that consuming less than 15 milliliters of apple cider vinegar per day for at least 8 weeks significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and blood lipid levels in type 2 diabetics. The blood sugar lowering effects of apple cider vinegar may also benefit people with prediabetes that take apple cider vinegar when eating starchy foods.
Yet, despite only minimal research backing its benefits, apple cider vinegar may still be a good addition to your diet. It is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that protect the body against oxidative stress and it does have probiotic properties, which can lead to more good bacteria in the gut that aid digestion.
Can apple cider vinegar lower my A1C?
In addition, some studies suggest that consuming apple cider vinegar may significantly reduce HbA1C concentrations as well. However, other studies have been inconclusive. Yet, despite mixed results on the effect for HbA1c, apple cider vinegar does have a positive effect on blood glucose levels and, therefore, may help reduce one’s risk of metabolic disorders.
Does apple cider vinegar lower blood pressure?
Researchers have found that apple cider vinegar does lower blood pressure in rats. However, studies confirming these antihypertensive effects in humans are limited. One way apple cider vinegar may help lower blood pressure is as a weight loss tool when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
Regardless, while there isn’t firm evidence that ACV could lower blood pressure, it has few calories, is rich in antioxidants, and may help promote modest weight loss. All of these factors can contribute to a more healthy overall lifestyle as well as lower blood pressure. If you are looking for more ways to potentially lower your blood pressure, check out our simple tips for lower blood pressure.
Does apple cider vinegar help with bloating?
Apple cider vinegar does contain probiotics, which may help improve digestion and bloating. However, there is no evidence that conclusively shows apple cider vinegar has a direct effect on bloating.
But that doesn’t keep many people from claiming it helps. An easy and healthy way to see if it works for you would be to use apple cider vinegar as part of a salad dressing and monitor how you feel over time. Despite a lack of research, it may be worth mixing into your regular dietary plans if you feel it is helping.
Can apple cider vinegar help with nerve pain?
There is no evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar can help with nerve pain. Although it has been used as a home remedy for many ailments, including nerve pain, there is no research to confirm may of these benefits.
Nerve pain may be a sign of a serious health condition. If you are experiencing nerve pain, you should always talk with your primary care doctor. They will be able to refer you to a specialist who can diagnose and advise you on the best way to treat your specific condition.
Does apple cider vinegar help with inflammation?
Apple cider vinegar contains polyphenols, which can have anti-inflammatory properties. However, more research is necessary to discover if consuming apple cider vinegar benefits inflammation. Fortunately, there are several other home remedies you can use to try and reduce inflammation. Instead of apple cider vinegar, try these tips to reduce inflammation in the body fast.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad
Like most kinds of vinegar, apple cider vinegar doesn’t go bad. According to research by The Vinegar Institute, its shelf life is almost indefinite. This is true even if the appearance, such as color or clarity, changes over time.
Some manufacturers pasteurize apple cider vinegar, while others produce and sell raw apple cider vinegar. These will appear different on the supermarket shelf as the non-pasteurized version may have a cloudy substance floating near the bottom called the “mother.” The mother can also naturally develop over time in pasteurized ACV once you’ve opened it, but that doesn’t mean the vinegar has gone bad. Mother is a fiber that accumulates due to the natural bacteria in the vinegar and is safe to consume.
Does apple cider vinegar need to be refrigerated?
Apple cider vinegar does not need to be refrigerated. In fact, it can live on your pantry shelf for years and still be safe to consume. However, if you pick up an apple cider vinegar beverage that contains other ingredients, follow the label instructions to know whether to refrigerate the product or not and when to consume it.
Ultimately, apple cider vinegar does seem to have some health benefits while others will need more research to confirm. If you are looking to add apple cider vinegar to your diet, talk with a nutritionist or an otherwise qualified healthcare professional to see if ACV could be right for you.