Apple Cider Vinegar a lot of Health Benefits
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV) is made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation to form health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, giving it significantly less sugar and fewer calories than apple cider or apple juice. In fact, it only takes one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to take advantage of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and each tablespoon clocks in at just 3–5 calories and contains minimal sugar.
While the uses for white vinegar are plentiful, apple cider vinegar has arguably even more trusted applications. Its wide-ranging benefits include everything from curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, and some people have turned to apple cider vinegar to help with health concerns including diabetes, cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, and weight issues. For best results, it is ideal that you use organic apple cider vinegar when you use it as a health remedy. The primary ingredient in apple cider vinegar is sugar from apples that is fermented to produce the vinegar. While it is not a rich source of vitamins, the good news is that the vinegar is low in calories too.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Apple cider vinegar is making the rounds as a bit of a “miracle cure,” but what exactly does it do to your body? Here are some of the proven benefits.
- Relief from stomach upset
If you have diarrhea due to bacterial infection, the antibiotic properties of apple cider vinegar can get you relief from the problem. Just add a couple of tablespoons of this vinegar to a glass of water or any clear juice and drink it.
- Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat
As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
The ability of apple cider vinegar to help maintain normal blood sugar is one of the most well-studied apple cider vinegar benefits.
In one study, vinegar consumption was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31 percent after eating white bread. Similarly, an animal study showed that giving diabetic rats apple cider vinegar for four weeks was found to significantly reduce blood sugar levels.
Apple cider vinegar may also increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood to the tissues where it can be used as fuel. Sustaining high levels of insulin can cause insulin resistance, which reduces its effectiveness and leads to high blood sugar and diabetes.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that vinegar ingestion helped significantly improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34 percent in those with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
To keep blood sugar levels stable, try diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water and consuming before meals. Additionally, be sure to moderate carbohydrate intake, increase your consumption of fiber and protein foods and get in plenty of regular physical activity to drop blood sugar levels even more.
Your appetite could decrease
One of the best-known health benefits of ACV is its potential to help you lose weight. “Vinegar could lead to metabolic changes that support weight loss,” says clinical cardiologist Luiza Petre, MD. “Apple cider vinegar helps in weight loss [by] reducing appetite…and maintaining the fullness after meals longer.” Even small amounts of ACV have been proven to increase satiety. Jenny Sugar, during her ACV trial run, experienced these benefits firsthand. “[The] ACV lemon water satiated my appetite more than plain old water, which helped curb my desire to nosh after dinner,” she reports.
If you know you are going to have a heavy meal that you cannot avoid, then consume some apple cider vinegar before you dine. The best way to do this is to add a teaspoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Drink this mix half an hour before you actually expect to start the dining. This can also keep acid reflux and heartburn at bay. After all, it is better to take precaution than be sorry later.
Apple cider vinegar clears a stuffy nose
Next time you’re stuffed up from a cold, grab the apple cider vinegar. It contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents germ growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. High blood cholesterol puts a strain on your heart, forcing it to work harder to push blood throughout the body.
Apple cider vinegar can promote heart health by helping to keep cholesterol levels low. An animal study out of Iran showed that supplementing rats with apple cider vinegar was able to reduce bad LDL cholesterol while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Besides including a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in your diet each day, other ways to lower cholesterol fast include minimizing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, including a good variety of healthy fats in your diet and eating a few servings of fish per week.
Apple cider vinegar can provide a solution to your dandruff problem. Mix equal proportions of the vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake well. Apply thoroughly on your scalp. Cover your head with a towel and let it stay for around 15-20 minutes. Wash off as you usually would do to. It is best that you do this twice a week. The acidity in apple cider vinegar alters the natural pH value of the hair that in turn makes it difficult for the yeast causing dandruff to start manifesting itself. As a bonus, this natural conditioner adds luster to your hair.
You could absorb more of your food’s nutrients
Another secret benefit of ACV is that it can boost the nutrients you absorb from other foods. According to the scientific journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vinegar can help your intestines better absorb calcium; the same seems to be true for iron. “The helpful prebiotics in apple cider vinegar that feed our good bacteria allow us to absorb the vitamins and minerals from our food more easily,” says Mercree. “This also helps our body function better and increases our overall health.”
With apple cider vinegar, you can get rid of toxins accumulated in your body. Because of its ability to balance the pH of the body, the vinegar stimulates lymphatic drainage, bowel mobility and cardiovascular stimulation resulting in the flushing out of toxins.
Apple cider vinegar clears acne
Apple cider vinegar makes a great natural toner that can act as a natural home remedy for acne and leave skin looking healthier. Its antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of your skin.
Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It forces the heart to work harder, causing the heart muscle to weaken and deteriorate over time.
Apple cider vinegar benefits your blood pressure levels, helping to keep your heart healthy and strong. An animal study in Japan showed that giving rats acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, resulted in reduced levels of blood pressure.Another animal study had similar findings, demonstrating that vinegar effectively blocked the actions of a specific enzyme that raises blood pressure.
Other natural ways to lower blood pressure include increasing your intake of magnesium and potassium, upping your fiber intake and swapping the salt and processed foods for whole foods.
Your risk for cancer could decrease
Although there isn’t much research indicating that ACV can prevent cancer, a study back in 2004 suggested the vinegar could shrink and kill cancerous cells in test tubes. Despite the lack of direct evidence, many scientists do believe ACV has some anti-cancer benefits. “Apple cider vinegar is an alkalizing food that restores the alkaline/acid balance of our body,” says Lee. “This is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.”
Goodbye to nighttime leg cramps
The main reason for leg cramps is due to insufficient potassium levels in the body. Apple cider vinegar is known to have this mineral in abundance. Drinking a glass of warm water with one teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of the vinegar can bring you solace from this problem.
Apple cider vinegar boosts energy
Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Interestingly, the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote. What’s more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you’re beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water to boost your energy.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
- Apple cider vinegar whitens teeth
Gargle with apple cider vinegar in the morning. The vinegar helps remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums. Brush as usual after you gargle. You can also brush your teeth with baking soda once a week to help remove stains and whiten your teeth; use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. If your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.
- Soothes Sunburns
If you’ve spent a little too much time in the sun, apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy for soothing dry, sunburnt skin. Add a cup of apple cider vinegar plus 1/4 cup coconut oil and some lavender essential oil to a lukewarm bath and soak to provide sunburn relief.
- Apple cider vinegar fades bruises
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties; dabbing or laying an apple cider vinegar compress on a bruise can help fade the discoloration.
- Fights Fungus
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, jock itch or yeast infections can be easily treated with the help of apple cider vinegar. Creating an antifungal spray is one of the most effective apple cider vinegar uses. Combined with other fungus-fighting ingredients, it can reduce symptoms and provide relief fast.
- Enhances Circulation
Some studies have found that applying apple cider vinegar to varicose veins could help reduce symptoms. (13) Try combining with witch hazel and scrubbing in a circular motion to improve circulation and alleviate symptoms.
- Heals Poison Ivy
Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that can help soothe an itchy poison ivy rash. This is because it contains potassium, which may help reduce the swelling associated with poison ivy. Try applying a teaspoon directly to the skin a few times per day until it is healed.
- Kills Bugs and Fleas
If your dog or cat can’t stop scratching themselves, ditch the chemical-laden flea killers and try this natural remedy instead. Add equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle and apply to the fur once per day until fleas are gone. You can also try making your own homemade bug spray and applying to your skin to fight off pesky insects.
- Your breath could smell better
Another nice benefit of ACV’s antibacterial properties? It can help kill bad breath. While it certainly shouldn’t serve as a replacement for your mouthwash, drinking it every day (or using it as a mouth rinse) can help keep your breath fresh. If you do decide to gargle with it, though, make sure to dilute it with water and wait at least a half hour before brushing your teeth, so that the acid won’t wear down the enamel.
- Wards off Seasonal Allergies
Many people use apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for seasonal allergies. The healthy bacteria found in apple cider vinegar may promote immunity and support healthy lymphatic drainage to kick seasonal sniffles and allergies to the curb. Try drinking two tablespoons diluted in water next time your allergies are acting up.
- Acts as a Natural Deodorant
The armpits are a great breeding spot for bacteria, which can lead to a worsening of body odor. Apple cider vinegar possesses powerful antibacterial properties and makes an excellent natural deodorant. One of the simplest apple cider vinegar uses is to dab a bit on your fingers and apply under your arms to help neutralize odor and keep you smelling fresh.
- Acts as a Household Cleaner
Mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar with water to make an all-natural household cleaner is one of the easiest and most effective apple cider vinegar uses. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it’s perfect for killing off germs and keeping the house spotless.
Types of Apple Cider Vinegar
To maximize the apple cider vinegar benefits, you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar whenever possible. It should also be murky with a web-like appearance and the mother still intact to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Here’s what those terms actually mean and why you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar whenever possible:
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
If your apple cider vinegar is labeled as certified organic, it means that it’s free of genetically modified organisms and synthetic additives that can actually do more harm than good in terms of your health.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is unheated and unprocessed. This means that it still has the “mother” intact, which is a cluster of proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria often removed during processing.
- Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
For most apple cider vinegar uses, you’ll also want to go for unfiltered apple cider vinegar. When apple cider vinegar is filtered, it removes the mother as well as any sediment, leaving behind a clear, amber vinegar.
How to Choose Apple Cider Vinegar
- Do not shop at the supermarket for your vinegar.
When you are at the supermarket, you are likely only going to find vinegars that are pasteurized, because they are clear and more visually-appealing to customers. You may wish to check out a health food store in your area for a selection of vinegars that are not refined.
- Always choose apple cider vinegar that is both organic and raw.
By selecting vinegar that is both organic and raw, you are avoiding any genetically-modified organism (aka GMO) being in your food and ensuring that the vinegar has not gone through any filtration or chemical processing.
- Choose an apple cider vinegar that is unpasteurized and contains the Mother.
The presence of the Mother will mean a murky vinegar mixture in the bottle, but do not be alarmed. A cloudy mixture assures you that the Mother is doing its job to keep the nutrients intact.
Pasteurized vinegar, which is heated to a high temperature, would appear clear and have killed off much of the good bacteria and most of its health benefits.
History & Facts
Apple cider vinegar has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, records show that we’ve been fermenting apple juice into vinegar since well before 5,000 B.C.
Historically, apple cider vinegar has been used for a variety of different purposes, such as helping to detoxify the liver, purifying blood, cleansing the lymph nodes and boosting immunity. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates even prescribed it mixed with a bit of honey to help cure coughs and colds.
In the 17th century, Europeans began using vinegar medicinally. They started preparing it in syrups and antiseptics and even used it as a gargle to kill off germs.
Today, apple cider vinegar has re-entered the spotlight and is beginning to gain some well-deserved recognition for its potent health-promoting properties. Not only can it be used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments, but it even makes an effective all-natural household cleaner and disinfectant.
Although apple cider vinegar is healthy and safe for most people, consuming large amounts can lead to some negative effects on health. Apple cider vinegar side effects include erosion of tooth enamel, burning of the throat or skin and decreased levels of potassium.
Be sure to always dilute apple cider vinegar in water instead of drinking it straight to prevent negative side effects. You should also start with a low dose and work your way up to assess your tolerance.
If you’re taking blood sugar medications, talk to your doctor before using apple cider vinegar. Because apple cider vinegar may help reduce blood sugar levels, you may need to modify your dosage of diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms.
Finally, while there are a wide range of apple cider vinegar uses, it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix or cure when it comes to your health. Instead, it should be paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to really see results.
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