Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the magical elixir everyone is talking about.
Dr. Oz and Oprah claim it helps shed pounds.
Your trainer swears a shot will help burn fat.
And, the end aisles at the grocery store display Apple Cider Vinegar “on sale” at the turn of the New Year—claiming that metabolic boosting benefits of ACV to easily-sold Resolutioners.
Despite the hype though, apple cider vinegar is nothing new.
Dating back to 5,000 B.C. when ancient Babylonians used it as a pickling (fermented foods) agent, apple cider vinegar has since been used as the “cure all” agent of health remedy.
Hippocrates prescribed it to boost immunity and prevent illness. American soldiers used it to remedy indigestion, pneumonia and scurvy. And Lord Byron popularized dieting as we know it today come the 19th century with his strict, low-fat diet, consisting of biscuits, soda water, and potatoes drenched in (apple cider) vinegar.
So should you drink apple cider vinegar? And what REALLY makes ACV so “magical” anyway?
Answer: It’s not what you think.
BEYOND BOOSTING METABOLISM
Ask most anyone on the street why apple cider vinegar is good for you, and chances are they will tell you they heard it “boosts metabolism” Most people think that apple cider vinegar boosts metabolism, but that’s actually just a side effect of what apple cider vinegar really does.
In order to understand why apple cider vinegar is the health and healing agent that it is, you must first understand what it is made of:
Apple cider vinegar is made from the vinegar that is a byproduct of the fermentation of apple cider. During the process, apple cider is broken down into alcohol and vinegar. The vinegar contains acetic acid, some lactic acid, as well as citric acid.
(Do you sense the theme?).
Apple cider vinegar is a highly acidic substance that while safe to consume goes beyond being “just a food” or drink to sip.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar is where the magic of ACV lies and it boils down to helping your body (and stomach) “boost stomach acid” naturally—a requirement for impeccable digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function and your “metabolism” (the efficiency at which your body digests and uses your nutrients).
In short: Apple cider vinegar does a body (and metabolism) good because it BOOSTS stomach acid and digestion—not because it directly spikes your metabolism.
STOMACH ACID IS GOOD FOR YOU
Your gut is the gateway to your health.
Every single cell, organ and function in your body is affected by your absorption (or malabsorption) and nutrient consumption through your gut (your digestive system).
If you aren’t eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, or you’re NOT absorbing the foods you are eating optimally, then guess what takes a hit?
Every single cell, organ and function in your body.
From autoimmune conditions and poor immunity, to low energy levels, skin breakouts, anxiety, ADHD, high blood pressure, cardiovascular “risk,” poor workout recovery and performance and a “sluggish” metabolism, the majority of all health imbalances point back to your gut.
Since 90% of your serotonin (“feel good” brain chemicals), 80% of your immune system (responsible for skin health, allergic tension, autoimmunity, inflammation), 31 hormones, and more than 100 million brain neurons are produced in your gut, the gut is HIGHLY responsible for your personal “health report card” in all areas.
In short: An undernourished body (ie. dysfunctional or “imbalanced” gut) is the foundation of ALL imbalance.
How does your gut become imbalanced anyway?
Often times, it starts with low stomach acid.
Low stomach acid is a condition that affects more than 60-percent of all Americans—many of whom are on PPI’s (protein-pump inhibitors) and pop TUMS incessantly for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), heartburn and inflammation.
Most people think such conditions are caused by TOO MUCH stomach acid, but in actuality, it is too little stomach acid.
In fact, in an editorial on the treatment of GERD in the Journal of Gastroenterology, the authors said treating GERD with profound acid inhibition (PPI drugs) will never be ideal because excess acid production is NOT the primary underlying defect.
Instead, low stomach acid leads to bacterial overgrowth, which in turn causes production of gases which put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and cause it to open inappropriately, which then allows acid from the stomach to reflux into the esophagus.
Even if you don’t have GERD, stomach acid is essential for the digestion of food. When we do not have enough, digestion stalls, indigestion happens, or other side effects, like stomach pains, constipation and bloating, as well as other common signs of low stomach acid (not always associated with digestion) including: skin breakouts, mood imbalances, “adrenal fatigue,” seasonal allergies, the common cold, thyroid imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and a slow metabolism.
Enter: Apple cider vinegar—a natural stomach acid booster.
The real reason apple cider vinegar is good for you?
It boosts digestion, and healthy digestion (full break down of your nutrients in your food) does a body—metabolism included—good.
HOW TO DRINK IT
So the big question: How to consume ACV if you want to give it a try?
Plop one tablespoon of ACV in a juice glass of 2 to 4 ounces of water and take a swig (preferably before meals, and/or first thing in the morning).
Can’t stand the tartness?
Some folks find a teaspoon of raw honey helps the medicine go down, or if you’re up for a real kick in a glass, try my classic Fire Cider Recipe—a homemade “tonic.”
Fire Cider provides an immune and cleansing boost to your gut health, and afew sips at a day will keep the gut-invaders away. Here’s how to make your own:
Dr. Lauryn’s Homemade Fire Cider Tonic
- 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled, minced
- 2-3 inch piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 inches horseradish, grated
- 1 tbsp. tumeric, ground
- 1 small lemon, sliced
- 1/4 orange, sliced
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- sprig of rosemary
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- Place herbs in a 2-3 canning jars and cover with enough raw organic apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.
- Place jar in a warm place and let sit for three to four weeks, shaking it daily if you can remember to help the maceration process
- After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.
- Add raw honey ‘to taste’ if you prefer. Warm the honey first so it mixes well.
- Rebottle and enjoy!
*Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry or fridge