By Teresa Zhang
Apples have many health benefits and apple cider vinegar made from fermented apple juice is a natural health food with multiple functionalities. In addition to aiding in weight loss and digestion, it also aids in cardiovascular protection.
What is the best way to consume apple cider vinegar, and who should take it with caution? Yang Jingduan, founder and medical director of Yang Institute of Integrative Medicine in the United States, proposes five tips for taking apple cider vinegar in the Internet program, Four Dimensional Health.
Yang said that apple cider vinegar has a variety of health benefits, is widely used in cooking, and plays a decontamination, purification, and astringent role in skin care products.
Compared with ordinary rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar is golden in color and translucent, with a sweet and sour taste and soft texture.
It contains malic acid, pectin, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, which can enhance immunity and fight infectious diseases. Apple cider vinegar can promote gastric acid secretion and improve gastrointestinal function. If you feel sick from overeating, drinking apple cider vinegar can often help.
Helps Weight Loss, Lowers Blood Lipids
One of the best-known benefits of apple cider vinegar is its application in weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolic rate and promoting fat burning. The Journal of Functional Foods published a randomized controlled clinical trial in 2018, showing that the intake of apple cider vinegar during dieting and weight loss is better than simply adopting a low-calorie diet.
The researchers divided 39 overweight or obese people into two groups. Each group underwent a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks, reducing their daily calorie intake by 250 calories. The experimental group ingested 30ml of apple cider vinegar a day, while the control group was on a reduced calorie intake without consuming any apple cider vinegar.
The results showed that the group who consumed apple cider vinegar every day not only lost more weight, but also had a decreased hipline, visceral fat index, and appetite index. Moreover, blood tests found that the blood lipids and cholesterol of the group that took apple cider vinegar were also significantly reduced compared with the control group.
The role of apple cider vinegar in protecting blood vessels is not just limited to lowering blood lipids. According to one meta-research published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies in 2021, a combination of six clinical trials found that after taking apple cider vinegar, fasting blood sugar decreased by about 7.97mg/dL. Experiments on animals also found that apple cider vinegar can increase oxidation resistance, is anti-inflammatory, and can aid in the prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood lipids.
Caution in Apple Cider Vinegar Intake for 4 Kinds of People
Apple cider vinegar is safe for most people when consumed properly. However, Yang cautions that the following four types of people should take extra care when taking it:
- Patients with gastric ulcer or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Apple cider vinegar can irritate the gastric mucosa and aggravate the condition.
- People taking hypoglycemic drugs. Apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels like some blood sugar-lowering medications and should be used with caution.
- People with sensitive teeth or bleeding gums. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and may damage teeth or gums.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women. The safety of apple cider vinegar for pregnant women and breastfeeders remains inconclusive.
5 Tips for Taking Apple Cider Vinegar
- Take the appropriate dosage. It is recommended to drink one to two times a day, 15 to 30 ml (0.5 to 1 fl. ounce) each time.
- Dilute before serving. As the acidic concentration of apple cider vinegar is high, it is recommended to dilute it with water at 1:5 or 1:10 ratio. Too high an acidity of vinegar can harm the digestive tract.
- Season to taste preference. Many people might find the taste of fermented apple cider vinegar strong or unpleasant. Try adding some honey or lemon juice, or add the vinegar to a salad dressing.
- Avoid drinking strong vinegar on an empty stomach. Drinking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach may irritate the stomach lining. If taking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach, it must be further diluted.
- Consult a doctor when taking medicine. Apple cider vinegar might react with the prescribed drugs and produce undesirable interference with the latter. If you have a digestive system disease or are on medication, it is best to talk to your doctor before taking it.