Apple Cider Vinegar: The New Health and Beauty Potion

You'll be using apple cider vinegar in more than just salads once you learn about all its wonders

Annabelle D’Costa

The Basics

Sugar obtained from apples goes through two fermentation processes to make Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). The processes are mainly alcoholic (a biological process which converts sugars into cellular energy) and acetification (a process of oxidation wherein alcohol is converted into acetic acid).
ACV has often been regarded as one of nature’s most prized ingredients. Rasika Parab, HOD-Nutrition Therapy, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai says, “Acetic acid is the most vital component of ACV which gives it the sour taste and strong odour. Acetic acid is known to have a wide range of health benefits.”
For those new to its wonders, ACV has been in use since time immemorial, thanks to its natural therapeutic value and versatility. With many types of ACVs available in the market, make sure you opt for the organic, unpasteurised variety as it contains the ‘mother’ of vinegar – an abundant source of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria, which your body and skin will thank you for.

Think health, think ACV

As an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal agent, ACV can be an answer to all your health woes. From helping treat the common cold to muscle pain, arthritis pain, diabetes, high cholesterol and weight issues, ACV can do it all.
You may have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but the same holds true for some ACV a day as well. However, a word of caution, too much of a good thing is always bad so don’t go overboard. The best way to reap the benefits of this wonder-ingredient is by beginning with a smaller dosage – 5ml (1 tablespoon) a day, diluted with water, explains Parab and adds, “The dosage can then gradually be increased to 15-20ml a day depending on one’s tolerance. However, it’s best to split the dosage over 2-3 times throughout the course of the day, preferably before meals."

Listen up, weight watchers

While the high potassium content in ACV helps stabilise blood sugar levels, the organic acids and enzymes in it contribute to the burning of fat. When consumed right, Parab says, “ACV can help increase insulin sensitivity by improving the uptake of sugar by the liver and muscles thereby helping keep blood sugar levels in check.” She further says, “Improved insulin sensitivity also promotes the utilisation of extra calories by improving the body's metabolic rate which can help in weight loss.”
What's more, this tonic, when mixed with honey and water, can also help to improve digestion. So, the next time you think you went a bit overboard at an all-you-can-eat buffet, this potion will come in handy. ACV helps in the build-up of hydrochloric acid, a type of stomach acid that facilitates the easy digestion of food. Besides, the healthy acids in ACV can also help relieve heartburn and bloating. "The presence of pectin, a soluble fibre in ACV, is also known to be helpful in treating stomach aches and preventing the spasms that result in hiccups," explains Paran and adds, "If you’re always low on energy, ACV could help offer some relief."

Consume with caution

ACV is known to have certain side effects when consumed in excess or without diluting it in water. Parab explains, “ACV may interact with oral hypoglycemic drugs and lead to low blood sugar levels. Its acidic nature is also likely to cause burning sensations in the oesophagus (food pipe) in a few people. Make sure you don't apply it on your skin directly either as it may cause burns. When consumed directly, it may damage the tooth enamel.” It is always good to consult a doctor before consuming ACV.


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