We all have been guilty of indulging in our favorite food with no limits at least once. However, the consequences of overeating are no joke. Bloating, acidity, gas, and abdominal pain become your full-time companion. But there is a remedy: apple cider vinegar!
Apple cider vinegar is the new rave among wellness geeks. Its admirers tout it as the solution to every health need one can have. From helping weight loss to controlling blood sugar and cholesterol to improving gut health, the list of its benefits never ends.
Many claims that apple cider vinegar aids digestion when taken before meals. It also reduces bloating, kills microbes, and relieves constipation.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from apples. Sugar in apples is converted into alcohol by a process called fermentation. The alcohol then goes under second fermentation to convert into acetic acid (vinegar). Acetic acid is the main ingredient of vinegar, giving it its signature smell and sour taste.
You may find apple cider vinegar in two forms: filtered (a clear liquid) and unfiltered. The unfiltered one deemed ‘mother’ contains proteins, bacteria (helpful), and enzymes. These all make it appear cloudy. The people seem to think all the medicinal prowess of vinegar lies in this ‘mother.’
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Improve Digestion?
There are countless apple cider vinegar health benefits– from relieving arthritis to controlling blood pressure. Improved digestion and gut health add to the touted advantages of this natural remedy.
It works in several ways to do the deed; increasing stomach acidity, reducing bloating, and providing probiotics. Here is a comprehensive layout of how apple cider vinegar helps digestion after meals. However, these are primarily anecdotal claims and require more research.
1. Increases The Digestive Enzymes
Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature. Thus it increases the acidity of the stomach, promoting the production of pepsin. Pepsin is the enzyme that breaks down food protein.
Taking apple cider vinegar diluted with a glass of water before a meal improves digestion to a greater extent. There is no research yet to back this claim, but people have, over time, found it a helpful remedy.
2. Contains Antioxidants
Apple cider vinegar possesses antioxidants, like polyphenols and vitamins. According to the research, these antioxidants have a significant role in improving digestion. Consuming apple cider vinegar in a dish or before the meal will help sort the digestive issues out.
3. Reduces Bloating
Bloating- stomach distention and pain- occurs due to the build-up of gas or air in the gut. Many other factors also lead to bloating, including constipation, bacterial overgrowth, low stomach acid, or stress.
Apple cider vinegar increases acid production as it is acidic in nature. It is also an antimicrobial remedy that fights off the pathogenic bacteria in the gut. In these ways, ACV relieves bloating and improves digestion.
4. Controls Indigestion
A heavy meal is often followed by an episode of indigestion involving burning, pain, or distress in the upper abdomen.
A study suggests that a diet containing apple cider vinegar overcomes stomach upset. However, it is a small study and does not hold much ground.
5. Replenishes Gut Microflora
Being a fermented food, apple cider vinegar provides live bacteria to your gut. These bacteria strengthen your gut health, improving digestion. For this reason, you would have to take apple cider vinegar containing mother, as it contains live bacteria and other enzymes.
Apple cider vinegar also contains pectin, which is a prebiotic fiber. It helps good bacteria overcome the harmful bacteria in the gut, resulting in good digestion.
6. Acid Reflux/ Heartburn
Acid reflux/ heartburn is a common symptom of binge eating. It occurs when your stomach acid moves into the esophagus. If the condition persists, it develops into GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder).
Heartburn is often due to low stomach acid. Apple cider vinegar, due to its acidity, makes up for the lost acid a little.
The catch is that your body’s acid production is way more than apple cider vinegar can provide. And above claims are more anecdotal and require further research.
When To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Digestion?
The best time to have apple cider vinegar is in the morning or before meals. Drinking apple cider vinegar in the morning is said to help with bloating, gas, and indigestion. Having a tablespoon of vinegar diluted with water before meals also increases the rate of digestion.
Using apple cider vinegar in the morning also helps for other purposes, such as controlling blood sugar or losing weight. You can dilute it in water or use apple cider gummies for weight loss, blood pressure regulation, and improved digestion.
Summing it up, apple cider vinegar has -though under-researched- myriad health benefits. People have been using it for centuries to prevent digestive distress and improve gut health. It contains enzymes, acid, prebiotic fibers, probiotics, and vitamins that speed up digestion and help you with your binge eating session.