Move over coconut oil. Apple cider vinegar is the new darling off the healthy living community. Long since hailed by the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates himself, for healing properties, apple cider vinegar has many benefits that have the healthy living community buzzing. From medicinal purposes to green cleaning and delicious meals, read on to discover all of apple cider vinegar’s benefits and uses.
What is it?
The word vinegar literally mean sour wine. The translation stems from French with vin meaning wine and aiger meaning to sour. The appropriate translation describes the fermentation process all vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, undergoes to create its unique chemical composition of water and acetic acid.
In the case of apple cider vinegar, apples are pressed to squeeze out all of the liquids. Yeast and bacteria are added to the apple liquid to break down the apple liquid , creating an ethyl alcohol in process. The resulting alcoholic apple liquid then undergoes a second fermentation to create the vinegar as we know it.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but perhaps apple cider vinegar may keep the doctor away longer. Apple cider vinegar has a long list of health benefits.
- Weight loss. Perhaps the most widely appealing health benefit of apple cider vinegar is that it promotes weight loss by increasing satiety and decreasing the body’s glycemic response to starch.
Studies have been done showing that consuming a small amount of apple cider vinegar in conjunction with carb heavy meals may decrease hunger levels for the rest of the day. Study participants ate on average 200 to 275 fewer calories for the rest of the day, which would lead to a monthly weight loss of 1.5 pounds. (1)
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to cause a 20-40 percent reduction in the body’s glycemic response after eating carbohydrates. According to studies done by the associate director of the Arizona State University nutrition program Carol S. Johnston, apple cider vinegar may “inhibit the enzymes that help you digest starch.” (2)When broken down, starches convert to glucose in the body and cause blood sugar to spike. Spikes in blood sugar cause the body to overproduce insulin, a chemical that lowers blood sugar. When insulin levels soar, the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin) essentially tells the body to stop converting food to energy and to store it instead, leading to weight gain. By blocking the process of completely digesting starch, the surge in insulin is prevented, thus preventing the body from storing excess calories.
To take unlock the weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar, simply enjoy a small amount of apple cider vinegar alongside a meal.
- Helps control diabetes. Because apple cider vinegar stabilizes the body’s glycemic response to carbohydrates and starch, the body now has more time to convert glucose to energy. The increased time to break down glucose prevents blood sugar from raising. According to a study in Diabetes Care, diabetics that consumed 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar had lower fasting blood sugars than those who did not.
When blood sugar stays better controlled, diabetics reduce their risk of long term complications from the disease including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage.
- Promotes heart health. Heart disease kills more people each year than cancer so protecting the health of your cardiovascular system is crucial. Apple cider vinegar may lower biological risk factors for heart disease. Studies done have shown rats that ingested higher levels of acetic acid, the main component of apple cider vinegar, had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.(3) High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are known risk factors for cardiac conditions.
- Soothes upset stomach. Apple cider vinegar contains a variety of stomach calming components. The pectin from the apples soothes upset stomachs while the bacteria used in the fermentation process helps restore the balance of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. To get quick relief from an upset stomach, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm water, ginger, and honey.
- Reduces acid reflux. Acid reflux can be caused by the a disruption in the amount of acid in the stomach. Often the body has too little acid in the stomach causing the stomach to overproduce its potent digestive acid. This strong acid then backs up into the esophagus, creating the painful burning associated with reflux. Apple cider vinegar restores the balance of acid in the gi stomach, reducing reflux symptoms. (4)
- Treats colds and allergies. It was good enough for the ancient Greeks to use, thanks to Hippocrates, but now more people recognize the apple cider vinegar’s cold fighting powers. Full of antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar may help kill bacteria in the human body, as it kills and prevents e. coli on food. Consuming a spoonful of apple cider vinegar may also relieve sinus congestion and treat sore throats. To find relief from annoying cold or allergy symptoms like runny or stuffy nose and scratchy throatsm , mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water and honey.
- Fights yeast infections. Yeast infections afflict both men and women with a plethora of annoying symptoms. These infections cause itching, pain, and redness at the site of the infection which can happen in the mouth, genitals, or on the skin. Apple cider vinegar’s acidity and good bacteria help inhibit the growth of candida, the bacteria that causes yeast infections. To treat yeast infections with apple cider vinegar, mix one to two tablespoons with water and drink up to three times a day. For a topical solution, soak in a warm bath mixed with apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes or apply a compress prepared with an apple cider vinegar solution to the affected area. (5)
- Banishes fatigued muscles. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself, but overly sore muscles often stand in the way of a consistent exercise routine. According to Health.com, wrapping an apple cider vinegar soaked clothe around a sore muscle for 20 minutes helps relieve pain. The apple cider vinegar helps draw the lactic acid, the component that makes muscles hurt, out of the muscles, reducing soreness.
- Protects against cancer. Full of cancer busting antioxidants, apple cider vinegar may aid in fighting cancer. Studies have shown that vinegar helps shrink tumors and banish cancer cells. Most of the studies done have been done using rice vinegar(6), but apple cider vinegar can’t hurt in the fight against cancer.
- Increases energy. Apple cider vinegar gives lemon water a run for its money when it comes to energy boosting drinks. According to Healthambition.com, Scientists speculate that its energy boosting effect is a result of the alkanizing effect drinking apple cider vinegar has on the body. This promotes healing and gives the body an extra bit of energy by reducing acidosis in the body.
- Beats hiccups. While not dangerous, hiccups notoriously annoy anyone afflicted with them. Instead of holding your breathe or breathing into a bag, swallow a straight teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to get rid of them quickly.
Adding More Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
With its many health benefits becoming more and more apparent, it makes sense find ways to consume more of this miracle liquid every day. Drinking tonics of apple cider vinegar water may not suit your taste. Vary your intake with these ideas.
- Detox Tea. Next time you need a tea fix, brew up a soothing cup of apple cider vinegar tea. Try this untraditional take on tea from Allrecipes.com, Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 12 ounces of hot water. Flavor the tea with a twist of lemon, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of honey. This warm drink jump starts the day by detoxifying the body.
- Green Tea. For those who enjoy a more traditional cup of tea, steep a green tea bag in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Stir in a half teaspoon of honey and apple cider vinegar and then garnish with mint before enjoying this metabolism booster. (10)
- Use it as a salad dressing. Whisk together two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season it as desired with herbs, salt, and pepper before drizzling over salad greens. Another good dressing recipe involves mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with mayo. That recipe works particularly well on cucumber salads.
- Make it into a meat marinade. Marinating meat with apple cider vinegar tenderizes the meat and adds flavor. Try soaking some steaks prior to grilling.
- Add it tomato juice. Adding a teaspoon to tomato juice enhances the juice’s natural tang and allows you to get some extra benefits in your glass.
- Make rice fluffy. Pouring a tablespoon into boiling water for cooking rice makes for extra fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together.
- Smoothie supplement. Simply blend up your favorite smoothie recipe and add up 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Due to apple cider vinegar’s strong taste, start with less than 2 tablespoons if you are looking to mask its flavor.
- Sparkling water. For a refreshing drink, add a teaspoon full to a glass of sparkling water. This drink hydrates and promotes liver cleansing.
- Other drinks. The sky’s the limit when it comes to drinks that you can add apple cider vinegar to in order to up your intake. Try mixing it with pure cranberry juice and water to promote urinary tract health. For a cold fighter, add two tablespoons to a cup of warm chicken broth and enjoy.
As if all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar weren’t enough reason to keep a jug of this in your pantry at all times, apple cider vinegar has some serious beauty benefits as well. Unlike other beauty solutions that may contain harsh chemicals and dyes, apple cider vinegar provides an all natural solution to common beauty woes.
- Fights acne. Apple cider vinegar can help clear pesky pimples. Unlike some other acne remedies, apple cider vinegar works both internally and externally to create beautiful, clear skin. When ingested, apple cider vinegar aids in digestion by balancing the good bacteria in your gut. The probiotics in apple cider vinegar’s good bacteria helps remove the bad bacteria from the gi tract that causes internal stress. This stress from the bad bacteria creates the system wide inflammation that causes acne. Keeping the bad bacteria in check with apple cider vinegar’s probiotics fights acne. Apple cider vinegar can also be applied to the skin in a homemade toner. The acid in the apple cider vinegar dissolves bacteria, pollution, and dead skin that clogs pores, causing acne. The microbial properties help kill any other lingering acne causing culprits. To make the toner, add one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water and mix it together. Apply the toner to skin using a clean cotton cloth. (7)
- Tames sunburn. Inflamed, red sunburned skin is unattractive and painful. When heavily diluted with water, apple cider vinegar eases the sting of sunburn. Some believe apple cider vinegar may have a neutralizing effect on skin that causes relief while others believe it acts as a cooling and moisturizing agent on the skin. Though the scientific reason for apple cider vinegar’s sunburn relief is still debated, the relief of spraying sunburned skin with an apple cider and water mixture can’t be denied. (8)
- Deep cleans hair. Most commercial shampoos can’t remove all the product and pollution that builds up in hair, making hair look dull. Most clarifying shampoos designed to do just that job are harsh and strip hair of the natural oils that protect it and make hair shine. According to InStyle, rinsing hair with a cup of apple cider vinegar twice a month removes buildup without stripping hair of those natural oils that keep it shiny and healthy. Big names in hair care have caught onto the secret of apple cider vinegar and have formulated cleansing products around this miracle ingredient.
- Clears dandruff. Aside from deep cleaning hair, apple cider vinegar can banish dandruff. Newhealthadvisor.com says applying apple cider vinegar to the scalp twice a week for a month clears up the nasty flakes. Be sure to let it sit directly on the scalp for an hour prior to rinsing. Do not wash hair with shampoo afterwards.
- Beats bad breath. Bad breath plagues many at inconvenient times. When brushing, flossing, and mouthwash fail to banish stinky breath, try apple cider vinegar. According to Everydayhealth.com, apple cider’s mix of minerals and acid causes it to work as a bacteria buster that cuts through even the nastiest breath. To take advantage of apple cider vinegar’s mouth freshening properties, mix together a half tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of baking soda until it forms a paste. Brush teeth with the resulting mixture and chase the halitosis away.
- Whitens teeth. The acid in apple cider vinegar cuts through stains on teeth as it freshens breath. Either brush your teeth with the mixture mentioned above or gargle with it each morning to brighten your smile.
- Kills toe fungus. Nothing makes feet look as gnarly as a nasty case of toe fungus. Soaking the affected foot in apple cider vinegar could help kill the fungal infection. The apple cider vinegar’s acid and antibacterial properties create an unfriendly environment for foot fungal infections to thrive in.
- Removes warts. Apple cider vinegar may clear up nasty warts.To remove a wart with apple cider vinegar, dab a cotton ball soaked with apple cider vinegar on the area, every day until the wart falls off. This generally happens after 2 weeks of daily use. (10)
Aside from health and beauty benefits, apple cider vinegar has many uses around the home. Many health conscious individuals choose to avoid harsh bleaches and toxic chemicals when cleaning their homes. The same microbial properties that boost immunity give apple cider vinegar an edge over other chemical cleaning agents.
- Floor Cleaning. Apple cider vinegar can be used to clean several areas of your home. Merry Maids suggests adding a quarter cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water to mop wood floors with.
- Dusting and countertops. A similar solution can be mixed and poured into spray bottles. Spray the solution on furniture or counters and wipe dry to clean surfaces.
- Brightens bathrooms and sinks. Cleaning bathrooms and sink doesn’t have to include bleach or toxic cleansers. Pouring a mix of apple cider vinegar and baking soda into sinks and toilets, brightens them and deodorizes them.
- Beat bugs. Pour a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup and mix it with a drop of dishsoap for an easy, nontoxic fruit fly trap. Spraying pets with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water can also help deter fleas.
- Freshen pet odors. The noxious odor of cat urine is one of the hardest household stenches to squash. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to laundry will cut through the feline fumes fast.
- Save cords from cats. When cats feel frisky, they often chew and otherwise attack cords on electronics. Keep cords in tact by rubbing an apple cider soaked cotton ball onto the cords every week.
With all the benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar, it obviously deserves a place in every pantry. Fortunately, apple cider vinegar is widely available at grocery stores. However, before buying this wonder liquid, stop to consider the quality aspects of apple cider vinegar. Shop for vinegars that are not clear so that they still contain the potent mother strands, which is a byproduct of the apple pulp and bacteria. Avoid plastic bottles that may have BPAs. Choose organic, raw vinegar when possible for the best quality. Top of the line apple cider vinegar includes Bragg, Vitacost, and Fleicshmann’s. (11)