There’s more to apple cider vinegar than meets the nose. Beyond the sharp scent, the sour flavour, and the crushed apples, apple cider benefits make for an impressive list.
So, can apple cider vinegar really help with weight loss? Are the diabetes prevention promises true? Will this versatile ingredient get your brain firing on all cylinders? Let’s look through the microscope at the potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used to fight infections and improve health. But now we’ve got the science to back it up. Apple cider vinegar is packed full of antioxidants that could help fight against heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s proven to do good things in your gut, like fighting against pathogenic bacteria that cause disease. And how about treating diabetes? Scientists believe that this sour liquid can reduce glucose levels, as well as playing a part in weight loss. Apple cider vinegar may lower cholesterol, and might even reduce blood pressure.
How to take apple cider vinegar can range from salad dressings to non-alcoholic cocktail concoctions, with people finding ingenious ways to make the most of this ingredient.
That’s where Three Spirit comes in. Apple cider vinegar is a key player in our Livener elixir. Mixed up with ethically-sourced active plants, a non-alcoholic cocktail is our favourite way to enjoy this ingredient. Like all our active plant based components we like to understand how apple cider vinegar works. Let’s find out more.
Health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Is apple cider vinegar good for you? It’s long been heralded as a cure-all potion, but some claims have more scientific basis than others. Here’s the science behind the health benefits, unpacked and picked apart.
1. Apple cider vinegar is packed with antioxidants
First things first — what is an antioxidant? In simple terms, they’re compounds found in food that can have an effect on your body. They work against oxidative stress to prevent cell damage — cell damage that’s thought to make some contribution to accelerated ageing, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have shown that antioxidants can reduce these effects.
Blueberries might get all the glory, but there are plenty of other plant-powered ways to imbue your body with antioxidants. Like other vinegars, apple cider vinegar has an antioxidant effect. This means there are wide-ranging health benefits of apple cider vinegar, like protecting against heart disease, cancer, and degenerative brain conditions, according to a study from the Society of Chemical Industry.
Antioxidants aren’t a magic cure, and there are plenty of other factors at play in the health of your body — diet, genetics, and environment for starters. But of all the apple cider benefits, its antioxidant-rich content is a positive way to give your body a boost.
2. Apple cider vinegar may help treat diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is linked with insulin problems, which lead to high levels of glucose in the blood. This can cause serious health problems. Some studies have explored the effect of vinegar on both type 2 diabetes and prediabetes conditions, and the results are promising. It’s important to note though that the sample sizes are small, so more tests are needed to build a stronger picture.
One report from the American Diabetes Association looked into the effect of vinegar on people with insulin sensitivity. Some of the people in the study had type 2 diabetes, while others were nondiabetic. The people in the test drank a mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and an artificial sweetener (to take off the acidic edge), before sitting down to a sugary meal of white bagel, butter, and orange juice. The scientists analysed blood samples, as well as using control subjects. When the results came in, they showed that apple cider vinegar reduced insulin sensitivity by a considerable amount. While more tests are needed to assess whether apple cider vinegar could be used in the treatment of diabetes, the researchers from American Diabetes Association would like to see those investigations take place. They even suggested that the health benefits of apple cider vinegar could be similar to acarbose or metformin, which are drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Other investigations have been carried out too. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined whether vinegar could lower glucose and insulin after people ate bread. For this experiment we traveled to Lund University in Sweden, where 12 healthy volunteers fasted for the night, before sitting down to a breakfast of bread soaked in vinegar (not our top choice of how to take apple cider vinegar). Some control subjects had their bread served plain. Once the breadcrumbs were cleared and the blood tests were in, the results showed once again that vinegar lowered glucose levels after a bread meal. To get a bit more scientific, it’s all down to the acetic acid found in vinegar.
And there was another finding — soaking bread in vinegar not only lowered glucose levels (compared to a plain slice), but it also filled people up more and kept them full for longer. This is an interesting finding, when diet has such a huge role to play in conditions like type 2 diabetes.
As with any health condition, it’s important to get the right medical care and follow professional advice, especially if you’re already taking medication. A dinner of apple cider bread might offer exciting health prospects, but we need more evidence to understand the full potential.
3. Apple cider vinegar could help with weight loss
For people looking to lose weight for health reasons, apple cider vinegar could be a smart dietary addition. To understand, we’re going back again to the vinegar-soaked bread experiment conducted at Lund University. It isn’t only a promising development for the treatment of diabetes, it also offers an insight for combating obesity. Because the vinegar-soaked bread keeps people fuller for longer, it might reduce how much food people eat, adding further to the growing list of apple cider benefits.
However, the science only goes so far when it comes to establishing whether apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. Many more tests have been run, but most have been conducted on animals. So far, we’ve seen very few human experiments.
4. Drinking apple cider vinegar may contribute to a healthy heart
One of the biggest causes of death is cardiovascular disease — conditions related to the heart or blood vessels. It can include heart attacks, strokes, and angina. There are many factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, but a healthy diet is one of the ways to reduce your risk.
One of the greatest risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease is having high cholesterol, a fatty substance found in the blood. According to a study from the American Chemical Society, apple cider vinegar can reduce cholesterol levels. While this study might sound promising, it was carried out on rats who’d been fed high-cholesterol diets and has not yet been replicated on humans.
Other studies, which have again involved animals, have explored whether vinegar can reduce blood pressure, or hypertension. The results of these tests show how the acetic acid in vinegar helps regulate blood pressure, making a healthy contribution to cardiovascular health. But with no human tests available, there’s a lot more to be discovered about the effect of apple cider vinegar on your heart.
5. Apple cider vinegar could get your brain into gear
Does apple cider vinegar make for good thinking juice?
Like many of the other studies around the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, the experiments assessing the effect on the brain have been carried out on rats. But this is what we know. Based on a study published by the American Chemical Institute, scientists suggested that vinegar could improve cognitive function and could slow down dementia. It’s the acetic acid found in vinegar that we need to thank for this.
6. Apple cider benefits that are good for your gut
We’re about to get microbiotic. When it comes to pathogenic bacteria which can cause disease, we often turn to antibiotics to treat problems, but antibiotic resistance is set to become a huge global issue. When bacteria goes bad, we feel it. E. coli, for example, is a normal part of our gut, but pathogenic versions can leave us with health complications. What role can apple cider vinegar take in keeping our guts happy?
A 2018 study published in Scientific Reports set out to assess how well apple cider vinegar can combat pathogenic bacteria. They took a deep dive into how it fares against three microbes — E. coli, S. aureus and C. albicans — adding the vinegar to the bacteria in petri dishes. All three reacted to the apple cider vinegar, with the cell integrity damaged. The results were clear — apple cider vinegar does have an antimicrobial effect on all three of the bacteria.
Antibiotics still have a vital role to play, but apple cider benefits could have an exciting future in helping to treat these diseases.
The mother of all apple cider benefits
Apple cider vinegar is a fermented liquid, created in a two-step process with three simple ingredients — yeast, bacteria, and apple juice. First, the yeast gets added to turn the apple juice sugars into alcohol. Next comes the bacteria, which turns the alcohol into acetic acid. The bacteria, which sometimes makes apple cider vinegar cloudy, is known as the mother. The mother is full of good bacteria.
The apple cider vinegar in our Livener elixir arrives raw, but because we pasteurise the vinegar during our creation process, the mother is deactivated through heat.
Is drinking apple cider vinegar good or bad for you?
Apple cider benefits range from helping your digestive system to contributing to a healthy heart. Some scientists believe it could help treat diabetes, aid weight loss, and help protect against cancer, although more human tests are needed before we’re certain.
You can have a little apple cider vinegar every day, but as with anything, it’s all about moderation. Consuming large amounts of undiluted apple cider vinegar could cause you some serious damage, so don’t start drinking it neat. But if you know how to take apple cider vinegar in a responsible way, your heart, brain, and gut might just thank you.
If you’re looking to boost your body and mind, there’s a whole range of other ingredients with incredible qualities. Why not explore the health benefits of drinking turmeric?
How to take apple cider vinegar
Ready to make the most of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar? There are plenty of ways to welcome this ingredient into your life. You might fancy stirring it into a salad dressing, or use it instead of salt on your meals.
If you choose to drink apple cider vinegar on its own, it’s important to dilute it first. Large amounts of neat vinegar can cause damage to your teeth or digestive tract, but mixing a small amount with plenty of water prevents these negative side effects.
Our favourite way to drink apple cider vinegar is in our Three Spirit Livener elixir, where it’s mixed together with schisandra berries, watermelon, and guayusa. Apple cider vinegar has a strong, sharp taste, so bringing it together with other Livener ingredients is the perfect recipe for a fresh and fiery treat. For a Livener tonic, pour 50ml of Three Spirit Livener into an ice-filled glass, then top up with tonic water.
Three Spirit drinks are packed with feel-good ingredients and we love concocting mood-making recipes. Livener is our invigorating drink, the realm of clean caffeine and vegan ingredients that put a pep in your step. It’s carefully crafted to stimulate your mind, body, and taste buds.