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Health benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar has been used since ancient times as a remedy for many different ailments. Hippocrates is said to have used it as an antibiotic. Its uses in cardiac care are mainly for reduction of the bad cholesterol i.e. LDL. A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water per day is said to lower blood pressure. There is scientific evidence linking apple cider vinegar to weight loss, control of blood glucose and also reduction of LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising of HDL (good cholesterol) in studies on diabetic rats.

The effect of apple cider vinegar on Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG), glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and lipid profile has been investigated in clinical trials. Both normal and diabetic subjects were fed with standard food containing apple cider vinegar (6% w/w) for 4 weeks. Fasting blood glucose did not change, while HbA1c significantly decreased by apple cider vinegar in diabetic group (p<0.05). In normal subjects fed with vinegar, significant reduction of low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) (p<0.005) and significant increase of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) levels (p<0.005) were observed. Apple cider vinegar also reduced serum triglyceride (TG) levels (p<0.005) and increased HDL-c (p<0.005) in diabetics. These results indicate that apple cider vinegar improved the serum lipid profile in normal and diabetic subjects by decreasing serum TG, LDL-c and increasing serum HDL-c and may be of great value in managing the diabetic complications.

 The health benefits of the apple cider vinegar and honey drink are widely accepted as part of ‘traditional or home-remedies’. Anti-aging properties have been attributed to the combination while others have recognized and made use of its cleansing and disinfecting properties to self-detoxify their body. It is seen as a powerful cleansing agent and natural healing elixir with naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria. It has been found to be particularly effective in the control of blood pressure and management of high cholesterol.

Mechanism of action:

What is the reason for the beneficial effects of apple-cider-vinegar and honey? How does the combination act? The combination acts by helping to maintain the ‘acid-base’ balance of the body. Too much ‘acidic’ environment in the body is harmful. The combination of apple cider vinegar and honey pushes the acidic environment towards ‘alkaline’ which is highly beneficial and healthy. The body has an acid-alkaline (or acid-base) ratio called the pH which is a balance between positively charges ions (acid-forming) and negatively charged ions (alkaline-forming). When this balance is compromised many problems can occur. The body is forced to borrow minerals—including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid and safely remove it from the body. And severe damage can be done to the body due to high acidity. Ideally, for most people, the ideal diet is 75 percent alkalizing and 25 percent acidifying foods by volume. Allergic reactions and other forms of stress also tend to produce excessive acids in the body.

Link between diet and body acidityA modern diet of fats, starches and processed foods (e.g. fast foods, meats, peanuts, seafoods, alcohol and coffee) makes a person’s bloodstream acidic. If the body is acidic, disease can flourish; if it is alkaline, it is in balance and can fight off germs and ailments such as bladder and kidney conditions, osteoporosis, brittle bones, joint pains, aching muscles, low energy and chronic fatigue and slow digestion.

Foods having beneficial effects in maintaining body alkalinity: Raw fruits, leafy green vegetables, legumes and tea are examples of alkaline forming foods. Interestingly and ironically, a food’s acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For instance, lemons and limes are very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so lemons and limes are alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body. Thus, like all animal products, meat is very acid-forming. It is important to know that stomach acid or the pH of the stomach is an entirely different matter from the pH of the body’s fluids and tissues.

Beneficial effects of apple cider vinegar and honey: The alkaline-forming ability of apple cider vinegar can correct excess acidity in the body and also help prevent and fight infection. Honey added to the vinegar naturally makes the mixture more palatable. Unprocessed raw honey has been classified as an alkaline-forming food. Interestingly, every sweet food has a low pH and that is the nature of sugar. However, researchers have discovered that 45 minutes after eating honey, blood tests showed more alkalinity. Diabetics also have lower blood sugar 45 minutes after eating honey. This is because, unlike processed sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey is very quickly absorbed into the body cells for fuel use, rather than sitting in the blood.