Apple cider vinegar is produced from cider or old, crushed apples to create a vinegar that is yellow-brownish in color. Unlike clear vinegar, apple cider vinegar contains living nutrients and bacteria that are visible as sediment when settled at the bottom of a bottle. Enzymes that are produced during the fermentation process of making raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is believed to have several health benefits, according to Kimberly Snyder, CNS and author of "The Beauty Detox Solution." In addition to possibly alleviating acne, blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, the vinegar is believed to aid in decreasing digestive upsets. According to MayoClinic.com, apple cider vinegar may actually pose health problems for some individuals and use should be consulted with a health professional to avoid health risks.
Authors Earl Mindell and Larry M. Johns who penned "Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar" advocate using the vinegar to alleviate an upset stomach caused by indigestion. The suggested remedy consists of mixing 1 cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp. of honey. This mixture may also help alleviate cramping and discomfort from gas. Although a simple sugar, honey is believed to enhance the benefits of cider vinegar since it is rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as carbohydrates, phosphorus, potassium and iron.
Apple cider vinegar may help alleviate discomfort caused by acid reflux, or heartburn. Cal Orey, author of "The Healing Powers of Vinegar" writes that people who have low acid levels in their stomach are more likely to experience heartburn than those with a healthy balance. Decrease the risks of acid reflux by mixing 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink prior to each meal up to three times a day, Orey advises.
Foods that are high in fats and oils can increase stomach irritation and acidity leading to an upset stomach. Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is fat free, contains zero to negible calories per serving and no refined sugars that can cause discomfort, bloating, cramps or flatulence according to "The Healing Powers of Vinegar." The vinegar makes a suitable alternative to high-fat sauces or creams that are made from butter or mayonnaise as well as spicy seasonings such as hot peppers and cayenne. Mix cider vinegar with a small serving of olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple seasoning to top salads or lean meats.
Although apple cider vinegar is claimed to have several health benefits, more research is needed before such benefits can be fully substantiated. Individuals will vary in their response to different foods as well leading to differing results. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar may interfere with prescribed medications that could lead to ill health effects. Consult with a physician prior to adding the vinegar to your diet. Eating a healthy diet that is nutrient-rich, low in unhealthy fats and processed foods along with lifestyle modifications will aid in long-term relief from digestive upsets.