Why You Should Be Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Why You Should Be Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the oldest natural health remedies around. Used as far back as 5000BC, it’s said to balance blood sugar, improve gut health and even give the immune system a helping hand. While it’s been on the shelves for years, recently – thanks to brand like Willie’s – it’s a talking point again. To find out who should be taking it and why – and to separate the fact from the fiction – we asked a pharmacist to share his knowledge.

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Improve Gut Health

Falling under the fermented food umbrella, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is packed with healthy bacteria, which keeps your digestive system working properly. “It may seem illogical that apple cider vinegar can help the gut as it’s so acidic in nature, but there are many studies that show it can help ease digestion,” explains Shabir Daya, MRPharmS and co-founder of Victoria Health. Science suggests ACV could provide relief for those with gut problems like indigestion and heartburn by neutralising stomach acid and taken diluted in water prior to meals can give your digestive system a helping hand. “If you are prone to sluggish digestion, take one or two tablespoons of ACV in a small amount of water a few minutes before eating – the effects are instant,” adds Shabir. “It’s also worth taking if you struggle with sluggish bowel movements or are prone to constipation. Plus, ACV can help cleanse the gut of harmful bacteria that may be responsible for a myriad of GI concerns.”

Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Several studies have shown that ACV may help to lower blood sugar levels. In 2004, one study found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. “This may sound far-fetched, but it’s believed the acetic acid found in ACV slows the digestion of starch, leading to lower sugar levels in the bloodstream,” adds Shabir. “If you have a history of diabetes in the family or are already a type 2 diabetic, introducing ACV may be of real value in controlling blood sugar levels.” Even if you’re not diabetic, it’s still worth trying, says Shabir – you may struggle with high blood sugar issues, which can manifest as energy fluctuations or weight gain around the stomach. Take in the evening for the best results, Shabir advises. “Studies show ACV is particularly effective in this context when taken prior to the last meal of the day. However, if you are diabetic and already take insulin, check with your GP first.”

Provide Immune Support

Believed to be anti-bacterial, the use of ACV for sore throats and upper respiratory infections is promising. “ACV can help support the immune system to fight infection,” Shabir says. To combat the effects of a sore throat, add two tablespoons of ACV to half a cup of water and gargle a few times a day. Plus, ACV can help put the body into a more alkaline state, which in turn creates an environment that inhibits the growth of pathogens such as bacteria and parasites. In addition, an alkaline pH helps reduce inflammation and improve bone health. 

Help You Lose A Few Pounds

According to a Japanese study, ACV aids weight loss. In a 12-week trial, participants who drank 15ml or 30ml of ACV daily lost up to 2lb more than those drinking a placebo. It’s believed the high acetic acid levels work as an inhibitor to lipogenesis, the process in which sugar is converted to fatty acids in the body. Researchers believe it also suppresses appetite. Acetic acid has been shown to delay gastric emptying, meaning you feel fuller for longer.

“If you’re prone to sluggish digestion, take two tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water a few minutes before eating – the effects are instant.”

Improve Heart Health

ACV lowers triglycerides, which cause fatty plaque along your arteries to build up. It also contains a fibre called pectin, which can help neutralise bad cholesterol. It’s also been suggested that acetic acid can lower blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease.

Double Up In Your Beauty Regime

“The benefits of ACV also extend to skincare,” Shabir adds. “Naturally rich in potassium, which can help boost the production of hyaluronic acid, many women claim that drinking ACV helps maintain a youthful complexion. Taking ACV may also slow the appearance and proliferation of age spots. Plus, ACV can help cleanse the hair of product build-up when rinsed through the hair, and can reduce frizz and boost shine. You can even add a couple of teaspoons of ACV to your bath to draw out toxins, leaving the skin feeling clear, toned and moisturised.”

Remember That Quality Matters

Understanding how ACV is made explains why quality matters. ACV is made from apple juice and is fermented to become apple cider. It’s then fermented a second time to become ACV, and during this process, yeast and bacteria build up – this is ‘the mother’. The mother makes ACV look slightly cloudy and may even show in strands or sediment in the finished product. “All of ACV’s nutritional properties and its benefits are associated with the mother,” says Shabir. “Therefore, when buying ACV, always look out for this on the label. A good-quality ACV will clearly state ‘with the mother’ on the label, and appear cloudy in appearance. If you see an ACV which is clear, this likely means it has been filtered and distilled, and thus stripped of its nutritional content.”

Take It As A Capsule

“Being a liquid, ACV is hugely versatile and can easily be incorporated into food or mixed with water. But if you don’t like the flavour, it can also be taken as a capsule,” says Shabir. “My go-to ACV is Higher Nature’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar as it contains the mother from organic apples. However, when it comes to non-liquid formulas, Goli Nutrition’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are a delicious-tasting supplement – portable, safe to tooth enamel and infused with superfoods such as beetroot and pomegranate.”

For more information visit VictoriaHealth.com

Shop our edit of the best apple cider vinegars here…

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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