Everyone goes through issues when it comes to digestion. Upset stomach, nausea, heartburn, gas, diarrhea and constipation are a few symptoms you’re probably familiar with. It’s difficult to get the full benefits of our hard work and proper dieting if our digestive system is out of whack.
Things we can do to improve digestion are eating whole foods, getting plenty of fiber, consuming healthy fats, managing stress, staying hydrated, chew our food better and staying active.
A trick that not only improves digestion, but also helps us regulate our blood sugar levels, is Apple Cider Vinegar.
What is ACV?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is basically fermented apple juice. A mixture of apples, water and sugar sit for an extended period. Over time the sugars are converted to alcohol. The cloudy appearance in the bottle is a byproduct of yeast and bacteria called “the mother”, which occurs during the second fermentation cycle when the alcohol is converted into acetic acid. The mother is comprised of proteins, enzymes and good bacteria that are very health for our gut.
How Does It Help?
Apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic. The concentration of acetic acid changes the PH level of our gut making digestion more efficient. Most raw foods contain enzymes that aid digestion. When we heat them up these enzymes die, denying our bodies of these healthy substances.
When we eat, our insulin levels begin to rise. If we eat high glycemic foods, it rises quickly, which is one of the leading causes to gaining weight. As it continues to rise, lipolysis slows down significantly which is a natural response for the body. Glucagon levels fall, hormone sensitive lipase begins to slow and can no longer liberate fats from triglycerides into the blood stream.
ACV decreases the amount of enzymes involved in monosaccharide and disaccharide (carbohydrate) breakdown, which lessens the body’s ability to breakdown starches. It also delays gastric emptying, which slows down enzyme and mechanical digestion. This ensures a slow, steady release of sugar into the bloodstream.
The pectin within ACV, which is a water soluble fiber, is a prebiotic that feeds our probiotics in the gut. This allows the digestive system to work at a better pace and allows our bodies to be more regular.
Benefits of ACV
Kills Harmful Bacteria
Cultures around the world have used vinegar for cleaning, disinfecting, treating fungus, lice, warts, ear infections and more. What apple cider vinegar is best known for is it’s antifungal and antibacterial properties. This is because the acetic acid is known to kill fungal infections as well as bacteria that can cause harm to the body. For example, harmful bacteria that can cause staph infections.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
When taken before a meal, apple cider vinegar helps slow down carb breakdown. This allows a slow release of sugar into the bloodstream so we can avoid sudden spikes in insulin levels.
This can also be helpful to those who have diabetes as well. ACV can help manage diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels within their normal range. Although it’s not a replacement for medical assistance, ACV has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity during high carb meals.
ACV Can Help With Weight Loss
One of the main benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it has the ability to keep you satiated after meals. Studies have shown that taking apple cider vinegar before meals can help increase the feelings of fullness which could lead to eating fewer calories throughout the day.
Keeping blood sugar levels low decreases the amount of insulin that is released into the blood. Insulin is a fat storing hormone, and it’s job is to take any excess sugar that the body can’t utilize and store it within our fat cells.
We’re constantly surrounded by processed foods and sugar-loaded meals. ACV aids the body to help reduce the amount of sugar pushed into the bloodstream, reducing the amount of insulin the pancreas has to produce.
ACV has some other added benefits that our bodies can take advantage of. Apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for dry skin and eczema. The antibacterial properties of ACV could help prevent skin conditions from flaring up, but this is a case by case basis. There have been reports from some people claiming it helps, and others claiming it had no affect on their skin.
Some people also use apple cider vinegar in their hair to limit dandruff and remove hair product buildup.
Recipes for Apple Cider Vinegar
Morning Joint Relief (my choice)
• 1-2 tbsp ACV
• dash of cayenne pepper (helps with joint pain and boosts metabolism)
• dash of ginger (digestive support and circulation)
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon (helps with inflammation)
• 1/2 lemon or lime squeezed (elevates liver enzymes and detoxification)
• 8-12 oz water (bad for teeth if you don’t dilute it)
• Stivia or honey as desired (honey is great for antioxidants)
• 1-2 tbsp ACV
• 1/2 lemon or lime squeezed
• 2 slices apple
• 1/4 grapefruit squeezed
• mint leaves as desired
• 8-12 oz water
• 1-2 tbsp honey