The gut lies in the center of your body and is also the center of microbiological activity. It makes sense to optimize the inner workings of your stomach. Once your guts are running healthy and happy, you can expect other parts – from your brain to your metabolism – to follow suit.
There is no single key to a healthier gut. You have to start somewhere, though, and a good starting point is adding apple cider vinegar to your daily diet. Give this a try for 30 days, and you just might be surprised at how much healthier you feel.
Is Apple cider vinegar interchangeable from the Treetop or Mott’s Apple Juice you see in store shelves? Apple cider vinegar and apple juice are only similar in that they’re both made from apples. Apple juice is just that – juice from apples. It may have additional fillers, such as ascorbic acid, food coloring, or a blend of other juice concentrates or puree. Sure, apple juice is tasty. But it contains nowhere near the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is derived from a much more complex process. The apples are crushed and exposed to bacterial yeast. This ferments the sugars, turning them to alcohol. Additional bacteria are added, furthering the fermentation process and converting the alcohol into acetic acid.
The finished product is rich in enzymes and good bacteria that gives the vinegar a foamy, murky, and almost goo-like appearance. Some people refer to the collective enzymes and bacteria as the “Mother.” The Mother is also what gives vinegar its sour and tangy texture.
Now that you know the “what” of apple cider vinegar, it’s time to understand the “why.” Why is this age-old beverage so relevant that it warrants an entire post in a health blog? What are some apple cider vinegar uses that make the drink a natural elixir?
In one study cited in Reader’s Digest, subjects consumed a high-sugar breakfast. As expected, their blood sugar levels jumped the next hour. However, subjects that also consumed apple cider vinegar saw their blood sugar levels drop by 50%.
How does acetic acid do this? Scientists believe the compound interferes with the digestive enzymes in the guts that break apart the chemical bonds of sugar and starches. This prolongs the time it takes the body to break down the meal into blood sugar, thus preventing a sugar rush. Too much sugar in a single meal can eventually lead to insulin resistance. While diabetes may be associated with the heart and blood, the issue, as you can see, originates in the guts.
Laboratory rats fed apple cider vinegar saw less body fat accumulation when fed a calorie-rich diet. If you’re skeptical of animal studies, a separate study with human subjects showed that participants saw a reduction in body fat when given a daily apple cider vinegar drink over a 12-week period.
Here is an even more important finding: subjects also saw fat reduction around the liver. This is very important to point out. The liver is responsible for producing digestive enzymes and bile acids. A poor lifestyle can lead to a buildup of fat and endotoxins around the liver, bogging it down and inhibiting optimal function. Consuming more acetic acid for liver health and metabolism will improve function in this area. Apple cider vinegar, in fact, has long been touted as a natural liver detox remedy.
Apple cider vinegar also contains the right acidity to help with digestion and break down foods to smaller and more digestible micronutrients.
As mentioned, cider vinegar is also a natural liver cleanser. A healthy liver ensures supple production of enzymes needed for digestion. When the body lacks digestive enzymes, undigested foods are left to ferment inside the gut. Not only does the body not absorb the nutrients, but the food is left to rot, leading to endotoxins. Rotting food in the guts also leads to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
In case you glossed it over, apple cider is a prebiotic, not a probiotic. The latter term is so much more common. As you may know, probiotics are good bacteria and found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. They’re also readily found in various dietary supplements.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, is a type of carbohydrates that the human body does not digest. Rather, it serves as food for probiotics. This keeps the probiotics alive and functioning to regulate gut health and fight off bad bacteria and free radicals. It goes without saying that prebiotics and probiotics work synergistically to improve diversity of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.
There are just as many studies on prebiotics as there are on probiotics. The former has been shown, for instance, to improve sleep and reduce stress.
Apple cider vinegar is a rich source of prebiotics, as are foods like bananas, asparagus, and artichokes.
With the health benefits of apple cider vinegar established, it’s time to walk the walk and actually make this drink a part of your daily living. So, how should you go about it? Well, how do you pick out an apple juice product? Hopefully, you gravitate towards a 100% juice variety with zero fillers instead of the ones with added artificial preservatives and only a shameful 10% juice.
The same goes for apple cider vinegar. Look for these characteristics if buying from the store:
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are well documented and not based on pseudoscience. Adding this drink to your meals will improve gut health. Better gut health translates to an overall better sphere of health. This means your metabolism, brain, hormones, and heart will all indirectly benefit as a result.
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