Despite how it's marketed, apple cider vinegar is not a cure-all, but it does have elements that may be beneficial for digestion. The sweet and sour vinegar is a prebiotic and contains easy-to-digest carbs, both of which might be helpful in digestion. The acid in apple cider vinegar makes it not so good for your teeth, however. Consult your doctor to discuss the pros and cons of adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.
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Apple cider vinegar is considered a prebiotic -- not to be confused with probiotics, such as yogurt, which are sources of those friendly bacteria. Prebiotics are a source of food for beneficial bacteria, helping maintain the population of these bacteria in your gut and keeping your digestive system healthy. Prebiotics like apple cider vinegar may also help improve calcium absorption.
There are certain types of carbohydrates called fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols, or FODMAPs, that are considered hard to digest, and when consumed in large amounts, they cause bloating, gas and abdominal pain. Apples are considered a high-FODMAP food. Apple cider vinegar is a low-FODMAP food, however. If you experience abdominal pain and bloating after eating, filling your diet with more low-FODMAP foods may improve your symptoms.
Digestion starts in the mouth. As an acid, apple cider vinegar may not be good for your teeth. A 2012 case study report published in the Dutch Magazine for Dentistry noted that apple cider vinegar may lead to erosion of tooth enamel. Chewing American Dental Association-approved sugar-free gum after you drink or eat something with apple cider vinegar in it may help protect your teeth from damage by the acidic condiment. Brushing your teeth too soon after you eat, especially something acidic, can cause you to brush away the softened enamel and is not recommended.
Use It as Food
Instead of using apple cider vinegar as a supplement, consider using it as a food in place of your usual vinegars. Use the sweet vinegar to make your own salad dressing or splash it straight on your mixed greens with a touch of healthy olive oil. It works well as the sour element in sweet and sour soup or sauerbraten, too. You can also use it to marinate tough meats or make a barbecue sauce.
- University of North Dakota: Prebiotics/Probiotics
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Prebiotics and Probiotics
- Stanford Hospital and Clinics: The Low FODMAP Diet
- Dutch Magazine for Dentistry: Unhealthy Weight Loss. Erosion by Apple Cider Vinegar
- American Dental Association: Learn More About Chewing Gum
- The New York Times: Really? Never Brush Your Teeth Immediately After a Meal