The impressive health benefits of apple cider vinegar include its ability to regulate blood sugar levels, boost weight loss, improve gut health, lower cholesterol levels, aid in detoxification, and enhance skin health. It also speeds up metabolism and provides relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, diarrhea, depression, asthma, and cancer.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from ripe, freshly crushed, apples that are fermented and passed through a rigorous process to develop the final vinegar product. In the first step, the crushed apples are exposed to yeast to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution which further ferments the alcohol and turns into acetic acid.
Around 400 BC, Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine, used apple cider vinegar as a curative product for his remedial treatments. Apple cider vinegar has since progressed from a folk remedy to a reliable modern age medicine. If you can tolerate its sour taste, it is a natural remedy that heals and protects the body.
Apple cider vinegar has only 3 calories per tablespoon (15 grams) and virtually no carbohydrates. It contains small amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Like apple juice, it may contain pectin, vitamins B1, B2 and B6; biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C. Acetic acid is the main active compound which is responsible for its powerful numerous health benefits including weight loss. The amino acids in this vinegar are effective antiseptics and antibiotics, whereas the acetic acid content in the vinegar can aid in the treatment of various fungal and bacterial infections.
Unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar contains a colony of bacteria, referred to as the “mother”, which has a cobweb-like appearance. This bacteria is gut-friendly and is often considered the most nutritious part of the apple cider vinegar.
The most impressive health benefits of apple cider vinegar are:
Blood Sugar Levels
The dietary fiber present in apple cider vinegar is extremely beneficial for maintaining proper blood glucose levels. According to a research report published by the American Diabetes Association, two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar before bed can reduce fasting blood sugar levels. Apple cider vinegar is also proven to significantly improve insulin sensitivity in those with either insulin-resistance or type 2 diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar is an excellent therapy for losing excess weight. It works by making the body burn all the unwanted calories and getting the body’s metabolism working at its best. It supports appetite control and fat burning in the body. According to a study, acetic acid, which is the main component in it, can help in weight loss since it targets body fat.
The vinegar contains acetic acid, along with chlorogenic acid, that is effective in reducing the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thereby protecting the cardiovascular system.
Balancing your body’s pH levels is imperative to maintain healthy skin, and apple cider vinegar can do wonders for your skin because of its high alkaline levels. The pH level of the apple cider vinegar is similar to the pH level of the protective acid mantle of the skin. An apple cider vinegar rinse can help restore the glow of the skin, restricts the dilation of skin pores, keeps your skin from becoming too oily or too dry by balancing the production of sebum, and improves the circulation of nutrients. Mix together one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water. Moisten a cotton ball with the rinse and use it to wipe your face clean and dry. This also helps ward off bacteria and shed dead skin cells.
This vinegar is useful in dandruff control and balancing the pH level of the scalp. You may also try applying two to three spoonfuls of vinegar directly to the scalp and rinse it after five minutes or so. Avoid contact with eyes so as to not cause irritation.
It plays an important role in terms of speeding up the metabolism of the body. When diluted apple cider vinegar is consumed with a high-carbohydrate meal, it helps increase the feeling of fullness and help with weight loss by preventing overeating.
Acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, helps reduce levels of blood pressure, according to a study. This has a cardioprotective effect on health.
Raw apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level and beat acidity and its unhealthy effects on the body. It also helps clean the blood during the oxidation process.
The arthritic condition of inflamed joints is due to the accumulation of toxic waste in the body. Natural apple cider vinegar can relieve pain in the joints and also curb the dangerous progress of the arthritic condition.
The pectin content in the vinegar helps treat diarrhea symptoms by forming bulk fibrous matter. The pectin also forms a protective coat for soothing the lining of the colon. Some say this miracle tonic can give relief as early as twenty minutes. So, 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar diluted in 8 ounces of warm water, three times a day, is a suggested remedy.
Medical experts believe that ‘depression syndromes’ may be connected with the physical body more than the mental state. Apple cider vinegar can help in the fight against the melancholic state by means of detoxifying and cleansing the liver.
The vinegar can come handy in terms of animal and pet care. In case of cat care, vinegar can be used to clean the litter pan. Dilute the vinegar with water and use it to bathe your dog. This can help treat it for various infections, and as a way to repel insects and ticks.
Many people have found relief from chronic asthma by taking apple cider vinegar or by applying vinegar-soaked pads to the inner region of their wrist area.
This health tonic may aid in neutralizing the free radicals that have the potential to form cancerous growths. The beta-carotene content acts as an antioxidant and effectively neutralizes the free radicals formed through oxidation. The free radicals are harmful bodies that could cause major damage to blood cells.
Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Health Tonic: A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) added to a glass of warm water can be taken as a tonic; it helps with bowel regularity and treats acid reflux. It also wards off seasonal allergies, soothes a sore throat, and provides relief from cold.
- Skin cleanser: You can use it to manage oily skin, facial acne, and acne scarring. ACV can be mixed with green tea and applied sparingly as a facial toner. It can also be combined with green tea and honey as a face mask for acne.
- Meat tenderizer: Apple cider vinegar can be used in salad dressings and to tenderize meat. It can also be drizzled over cooked greens for flavor.
- House cleaning product: You can dilute the vinegar with water and use it as a natural cleaning-spray or odor-neutralizer in your home.
- Soothes sunburns: You can add a tablespoon of vinegar to your bath to provide relief from sunburns.
- Teeth-whitening product: It is an excellent remedy to remove stains from teeth. For stubborn stains, apple cider vinegar can be directly rubbed on your teeth. It is advisable not to do it too often as it can break down tooth enamel. For a less abrasive action, mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and then swish it around in your mouth.
- Treats warts: Dip a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it directly on the wart and cover it with a band-aid. You can repeat this a few times. The wart will fall off eventually.
- Heals Rashes: Potassium, in apple cider vinegar, can be applied to poison ivy rashes to help soothe the inflammation and reduce itchiness.
Recommended Amount Per Day
There is no prescribed dosage of apple cider vinegar that you should be drinking in a day to get its health benefits. However, it is highly acidic and its main ingredient, acetic acid, can be harsh to consume. To avoid possible side effects, it is best to limit it to 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in 8 ounces of water, thrice a day.
Types of Apple Cider Vinegar
The two popular types are:
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: It is made from apples that are allowed to ferment naturally without heat. Unlike commercial types, the organic variety is not processed or refined. It has a cloudy appearance because it contains the “mother” of vinegar. This type of vinegar is also called non-pasteurized, raw, or unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
- Commercial Apple Cider Vinegar: This type of vinegar goes through a pasteurization process in which the vinegar is heated and filtered and sediments are removed if any. It also has a clear, amber appearance as the “mother” of vinegar is removed.
Note: In terms of health benefits, the best type to buy is the organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar which contains the ‘mother’ bacteria. This variety of vinegar is available in the supermarket as well as online.
Apple cider vinegar is relatively safe for everyone. However, if you consume it in excess, it can cause the following:
- Enamel erosion: The vinegar, due to its acidic content, can wear off the enamel of the teeth over time if consumed in an undiluted form.
- Burning of the throat: It can also cause esophageal burns. Children should not have undiluted ACV as it causes a burning sensation in their throats.
- Hypoglycemia: The vinegar can reduce blood sugar levels, so you may need to adjust your diabetes medication to avoid hypoglycemia symptoms.
- Low potassium levels: If had in excess, it can cause low blood potassium and bone loss. Over time, it can also contribute to osteoporosis.