Healthy eating Nutrition By Jim Dillan / November 21, 2013 Diluted raw apple cider vinegar is a drink with many potential benefits and it has been used throughout history to treat a long list of health problems. Here is 12 reasons why it’s worth drinking apple cider vinegar, also commonly known as ACV, daily for more energy, a better body and improving your health in general. 12 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar 1. Improved Digestion Drinking apple cider vinegar in water can help to naturally improve your digestion. Take a tablespoon of ACV in a big glass of water around 15 minutes before a meal to stimulate digestive juices for better breakdown of your food. It’s important to use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the mother for this and all of the other health benefits listed below. The mother is the cloudy strings of naturally occurring pectin and proteins that form during fermentation. Filtered and pasteurized vinegars will not have this and lack the enzymes and other nutritional properties in raw ACV that have such a positive effect on the digestive process. Real apple cider vinegar, like this organic version I use, contains valuable minerals and trace elements, LDL cholesterol lowering pectin, fat burning acetic acid, anti-viral malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids and many other beneficial nutrients. When you drink apple cider vinegar regularly, ideally before each main meal, you digestion improves and you naturally begin assimilating more from your food. This can also reduce hunger and help with losing weight. More on this ahead. 2. Heartburn, Intestinal Problems and Constipation Regular apple cider vinegar in water is believed to help correct low stomach acid conditions that leads to heartburn. Importantly, straight ACV is very strong and likely to be too powerful for heartburn sufferers, and especially those with ulcers, so make sure you dilute it well. Apple pectin fiber, found in the mother of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar, soothes the entire gastrointestinal tract, helping to prevent stomach cramps, bloating and gas. Apple cider vinegar can also be useful as a mild laxative to stimulate peristalsis in cases of occasional constipation. It should not have this effect if your bowel movements are already regular. 3. Prevent Candida and Normalize Intestinal Bacteria ACV is full of beneficial acids which are believed to help improve the make up of your intestinal flora. These include acetic acid and malic acid, which have antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can help control the spread of the candida fungus in your intestines, a common and debilitating problem with many people’s high sugar diets. 4. Strengthen Your Immune System Your intestinal flora are a big part of your body’s immune system. It makes sense then that improving the conditions for the growth of friendly bacteria with apple cider vinegar can help improve your overall immunity. The malic acid in ACV is also a strong antiviral, perhaps one of the reasons people often say they experience fewer colds when they take apple cider vinegar in water daily. Additionally, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is said to benefit your lymphatic system by helping to cleanse lymph nodes and break up mucus in the body. Over time this can relieve sinus congestion, reduce colds and alleviate allergies. 5. Regulate Blood Sugar and Aid in Diabetes Apple cider vinegar is full of acetic acid which appears to slow down the digestion of simple carbohydrates, thus regulating blood sugar levels from the brief highs and longer lows of a high carb diet. The anti-glycemic effect of ACV has been proven in several studies, including this one that concluded, “vinegar can significantly improve post-prandial insulin and sensitivity in insulin resistant subjects…thus, vinegar may possess physiological effects similar to acarbose or metformin (anti-diabetic drugs). Further investigations to examine the efficacy of vinegar as an antidiabetic therapy are warranted.” 6. High Blood Pressure Some animal studies have shown that apple cider vinegar may lower high blood pressure and there are many reports in online forums of using it for this purpose. It’s possible that ACV increases nitric oxide production that helps relax blood vessels, or it may just have a generally beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system that, over time, naturally results in a lowering of high blood pressure. 7. Detoxification Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in detoxification protocols with good reason. Aside from all the other body cleansing benefits already listed, drinking diluted raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is believed to help detoxify and cleanse your liver. One tablespoon of ACV in a large glass of water before each meal is often recommended as an effective dosage for daily detoxification. Some detoxifying methods may use larger doses, though it’s best to build up to these over time. 8. Weight Loss Apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid has been shown in studies to suppress the accumulation of body fat and liver lipids. Its pectin content is also thought to slightly reduce your body’s ability to absorb fat. When you have an apple cider vinegar drink before a meal, as well as improving digestion, it will usually reduce your hunger levels as well, which can only be beneficial for losing weight. Once again, 1 tablespoon in a large glass of water before each meal is the recommended dosage. Raw ACV may well aid weight loss, but it would be better thought of as part of a larger body fat reduction plan. In all I’ve read on the subject, I believe the most effective first step is to reduce grain-based carbohydrates and eat more, not less, of the right type of foods. 9. Bad Breath The natural acids in real apple cider vinegar, like acetic and malic acid, can reduce the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. Using apple cider vinegar for halitosis, you would make it a bit stronger than when drinking it. Add one tablespoon to a third of a cup of water and gargle it for around 20 seconds to minimize bad breath. 10. Skin Benefits The page on apple cider vinegar as a skin treatment covered using ACV externally in detail, but drinking it regularly can have a very beneficial effect on your skin from the inside. Apple cider vinegar balances your skin’s pH levels and has long been recommended as a skin tonic. It can also help treat dermatological conditions like acne, especially when used both internally and externally regularly. 11. Leg Cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome Sipping on an apple cider vinegar drink can increase low potassium levels in your body, a suspect in nighttime leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Many people in health forums report positive results with regularly drinking ACV in water right before bed to prevent leg cramps and reduce restless leg syndrome. 12. Stamina and Energy Improved stamina and energy are harder to measure subjectively, but raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar has long been considered a general health tonic and more energy and greater stamina are commonly reported when drinking it. This may be a combination of all the other health benefits of ACV already listed. Or it could be due to the powerful alkalizing effect it has on your body when you drink apple cider vinegar daily. Despite been acidic outside the body, ACV, like lemon water, is recognized as a premier alkalizing drink, which reduces acidosis in the body and has been reported to aid in recovering from a wide range of health conditions and diseases. Drinking ACV to Improve Your Health Drink apple cider vinegar like this daily for best results, ideally 15 minutes before each meal. The starting dosage is 1 tablespoon in a big glass of water and you can slowly increase the dosage, a teaspoon at a time over several weeks, to 2 or even 3 tablespoons, if you find the increased dosage beneficial to your health. Yes it does taste a little sour, but that’s a good thing. It’s important to train your taste buds to not expect everything to be sweet. If you really can’t handle it at the start, then try it with a drop of natural stevia sweetener, but using sugar or commercial honey to sweeten it will only feed the intestinal problems that ACV is used to treat. Have you tried having a daily apple cider vinegar drink for better health? Do you have other health conditions you’ve found ACV beneficial for? Let everyone know in the comments below and spread the word about just how good for you apple cider vinegar is.