What Are They?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used medicinally for centuries for treating a broad range of ailments. It has also been used as a weed killer, breath freshener, wart remover, and household cleaner. Although it actually has little nutritional value, ACV contains acetic acid, the “magic ingredient” that makes it beneficial to us in numerous ways in our keto lifestyle, both in terms of weight loss and overall health.
The pH scale, which ranges from 1 to 14, is used to measure the level of acidity or alkalinity of something. Higher numbers indicate more alkalinity, while lower numbers mean a higher level of acidity. Neutral pH is a 7 on the scale (water is a 7). Acetic acid is rated about a 2.5, which is similar to the level of stomach acid.
Contrary to what you may have heard, most people are actually too alkaline, meaning they don’t have enough acidity in their body to facilitate the many important functions that depend on it. As we get older we become even more alkaline, so finding ways to reverse this is important. Our bodies should be just slightly alkaline; I’ve seen numbers ranging from about 7.2 to 7.45 as being an ideal range.
Am I Too Alkaline?
There are a couple of ways you could actually test your pH level, but honestly none of them are very convenient, and some are downright expensive. But if you pay attention to some of the signals your body is giving you, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of whether you are or not. Some problems caused by being too alkaline are:
* Digestive issues such as indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux. Many people believe these are caused by having too much acid in the stomach – hence the rampant use of antacids and prescription drugs for acid reflux – but this is not the case. There was a time when I literally walked around every day with a pocketful of antacid tablets because I got acid reflux so often and so severely. They would help me temporarily, but the problem always came back with a vengeance after a short time. I had no idea I was doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what I should have been doing! Since adding ACV to my diet on a regular basis, I have not had that problem again – not once!
* Insufficient absorption or depletion of some vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and potassium. Even if you are taking supplements, your body has difficulty absorbing them properly without having the correct pH level. Deficiencies of either or both of these particular nutrients comes with a host of negative consequences for our body.
Some of the symptoms you might see with a potassium deficiency are muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, constipation, fatigue, weakness or light-headedness.
A calcium deficiency can cause eyelid twitches (don’t you just HATE those?!), cramps in your calves, nerve pain, and arthritic pain/stiffness. When calcium is not being properly absorbed it builds up and becomes “stuck” in the soft tissues of your body, your kidneys, gallbladder, arteries, and eyes rather than being used by bones and teeth.
* Inability to properly digest proteins (you might experience some bloating or gas and/or a feeling of stiffness in your joints)
* candida/yeast overgrowth
Stress has a pretty significant effect on our pH level as well. Stress increases our cortisol level, which causes us to become more alkaline. As this happens, we lose potassium. Depleted potassium levels in turn cause us to become even more alkaline … and so it becomes a vicious cycle.
By optimizing our pH level, ACV stimulates digestion and improves our ability to absorb nutrients from our food. It has antimicrobial properties which help control the growth of harmful yeast and bacteria, and it boosts our immune system. It’s also been shown to help suppress appetite, help you feel full longer, and lower blood sugar levels. Pretty impressive for a little spoonful of vinegar, don’t you think?!
Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Start by choosing a high quality product. Look for an unpasteurized, organic, unfiltered vinegar that contains “the mother”. It will have a milky appearance; if it doesn’t, it has probably been filtered, so select another brand.
You can simply add a little ACV (a teaspoon or two) to your water or other beverage (a couple of drops of stevia or a little monk fruit sweetener may help make it more palatable if the sourness is too much for you).
My personal preference is to use it with olive oil as a salad dressing. I have this at the beginning of my meals just about every day. You can vary the salads so they’re not the same day after day by changing up the vegetables you use and by using different combinations of spices and maybe a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Sometimes I add nutritional yeast to my salad too (it helps thicken up the dressing nicely!) I normally use a 2-1 ratio of olive oil to ACV, but you can experiment with that to find your favorite mix!
I love that such a simple change, one that’s so easy to fit into our keto meals, has such a huge positive impact our health! It’s convenient and inexpensive, and the benefits are amazing! I hope you’ll try it and see just how much better you’ll feel. After all, that’s one of our goals with living the keto lifestyle, right?!
I would love to hear how using ACV has helped you in your keto journey, and what kinds of creative ways you have found to include it in your diet! Please feel free to leave a comment or question anytime! And if you’d like to receive new posts by email, please subscribe to my list to be notified right away! Keto on, friends!