You may think apple cider vinegar is only good for pickling vegetables and making salad dressings. But this popular cooking ingredient has so many healthy attributes, it’s commonly listed alongside superfoods like kale, Greek yogurt and blueberries.
According to Patti Ennis, RDN, program manager of clinical nutrition at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, studies suggest apple cider vinegar helps reduce the glucose response in healthy adults and individuals with diabetes.
This means that apple cider vinegar, when consumed before eating carbohydrates, slows down the breakdown of starches into sugar, keeping you full longer and giving your body more time to digest.
While apple cider vinegar can improve satiety and reduce post-meal hunger, Ennis cautions it should only be viewed as an aid to a weight-loss plan.
“Including apple cider vinegar in your diet is neither a weight loss solution nor a magic bullet,” she says. “Drinking apple cider vinegar may slightly curb appetite, but weight loss involves a healthy, reduced-calorie eating plan and exercise.”
When adding anything to your diet, it is important to understand how to consume the product and how much is safe.
Ennis suggests diluting 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in at least 8 ounces of water once or twice daily if you want to incorporate it into your diet. “For medical purposes, only consume 1 to 2 tablespoons total per day,” she advises.
“Make sure to consume this elixir before a meal containing carbohydrates for the best results,” says Ennis. “Also, adding vinegar-based salad dressings into the diet is recommended.”
While vinegar has been used for thousands of years, Ennis advises to never consume it undiluted.
“The acetic acid in vinegar can cause injury to the esophagus and harm to tooth enamel,” she warns. “The side effects of large amounts of vinegar include decreased potassium.”
If you are taking other medications, Ennis recommends reviewing if it is safe to consume them with ingredients like apple cider vinegar. “Vinegar may interact with medication such as diuretics, laxatives, and some diabetic and heart disease medications,” says Ennis.