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Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can do everything from kill harmful bacteria in your digestive tract to kick start weight loss and fight diabetes. But take your shot of apple cider vinegar with a grain of salt – it’s no magic cure-all, and there are things to consider before buying it at your local health store. Like most anything in life, it should be sampled in moderation. Below, we’ll walk you through the proven benefits of apple cider vinegar, as well as a few of its limitations.

The apple cider vinegar we recognize today is a liquid produced during the fermentation of apple cider. Bacteria added to the cider transforms it into alcohol, and then vinegar. In modern society, apple cider vinegar boasts a myriad of health benefits acknowledged in both mainstream medicine and popular folk remedies. Much like kale and quinoa, a plethora of tonics, vitamins and beauty products on the market utilize this potent ingredient.

6 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Boosts weight loss: Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps absorb important minerals, reduce fat storage and suppress appetite. A 2018 clinical trial published in the Journal of Functional Foods revealed that ACV can help with weight loss. Study participants consumed 15 ml of ACV with their food, and lost an average of 9 pounds over 12 weeks. While participants kept to a strict diet and exercise regime, additional studies show that apple cider vinegar can help to increase satiety. For instance, when taken with food, people experience feelings of fullness that lead to less calorie consumption throughout the rest of the day. Keep in mind that adding or subtracting a single food isn’t likely to lead to drastic weight loss, and throwing back shots of apple cider vinegar won’t get you bikini ready in the next week. However, medical studies agree that when coupled with healthy eating and exercise, apple cider vinegar is beneficial for anyone looking to healthily drop a few pounds.

  • Lowers blood sugar and fights diabetes: Good news for anyone with a sweet tooth! You can keep sugar spikes to a minimum by ingesting a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, which has a powerful effect on maintaining healthy insulin levels. Its anti-glycemic effects can block starch intake, balancing blood sugars on an even keel. In fact, it is shown to improve insulin sensitivity by 19-34% and reduce blood sugar by as much as 34%! For this reason, apple cider vinegar is particularly useful for anyone with type 2 diabetes – though it can put strain on kidneys and bones. Patients should first focus on overall diet and health, then consult with their doctor before increasing vinegar intake.
  • Kills harmful bacteria: The main ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which kills harmful bacteria and prevents pathogens from multiplying. Save a slot in your medicine cabinet for a batch of apple cider vinegar, as you never know when it may come in handy.
  • Improves heart health: Apple cider vinegar is known to reduce the risk factors correlated with heart disease, such as elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol. Studies conducted on animals reveal a significant reduction of blood triglycerides. Apple cider vinegar is packed with antioxidants, so adding just a little bit into your everyday routine could be a great way to help ensure your heart remains strong and healthy.
  • Treats dandruff: For those among us with itchy scalps, American TV personality and surgeon Dr. Oz prescribes apple cider vinegar as a helpful home remedy. Mixing a quarter cup with water to spray on the scalp is a natural alternative to anti-dandruff shampoos that contain chemicals and strip hair of important nutrients. The acetic acid present in vinegar alters the scalp’s pH, making it difficult for dandruff to grow. When used as a follow-up to baking soda, it reduces frizz and seals cuticles to give hair a shiny and healthy appearance.
  • Whitens teeth and banishes bad breath: Proper brushing and mouthwash should help on both accounts, but apple cider vinegar is a great way to control bad breath. Not only does it kill pesky odor-causing bacteria, but its anti-fungal properties protect against oral mucous membrane inflammation. For coffee addicts and tea drinkers, gargling with apple cider vinegar in the mornings can also remove stains and whiten the overall appearance of teeth. 

Potential Health Drawbacks

Like anything, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Despite the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, there are downsides to consider. Because of its acidic properties, drinking excessive amounts can damage teeth enamel, burn your throat and upset your stomach. A few other cons include:

  • Interference with medications, such as diabetes, laxatives and heart disease drugs
  • Dangerous drop in potassium levels, which can impact muscle and nerve ability to function properly
  • A halt in the movement of food and liquids from the stomach to intestines, which can particularly affect those with type 1 diabetes
  • A strong, off-putting taste that may trigger acid reflex
  • Chemical burns (if placed directly on sensitive skin)
  • Hypoglycemia, throat irritation and allergic reactions (mostly when taken undiluted, or in large amounts)

How To Safely Consume Apple Cider Vinegar

Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of society’s most popular vinegar, how should you take it? Keep in mind that while the average serving size is 15 ml (about 3 calories), there are numerous applications for effective usage, depending on which ailment you’d like to cure. Below, we break down just a few.

  • Dilute with water, then gargle with it or drink a teaspoon. A word of caution: Vinegar is acidic, meaning that it erodes tooth enamel, so use with caution, and pursue professional treatments if dissatisfied with your smile
  • Try sipping vinegar in a glass of water, or mixing 1-2 tablespoons into apple juice
  • Just a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar may be enough to stop a case of hiccups in its track
  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons with water and spread throughout 2-3 doses during the day. This is best to drink immediately before meals. Alternately, consider sprinkling apple cider vinegar atop salad dressings, or implementing within marinades for meat and vegetables
  • Mix 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle on the hour
  • Thirty minutes before eating eating rich foods, ingest 1 teaspoon of honey mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Added bonus – this will help your body to absorb maximum nutrients
  • Put some pep in your step by mixing a tablespoon (or two) with a glass of water the next time you’re feeling sluggish
  • Gently dab an apple cider vinegar compress to the afflicted area as a means of speeding up the healing process
  • (for those with type 2 diabetes): Consume two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one ounce of cheese at bedtime

Apple cider vinegar can be purchased at most major retailers, and online at sites including Amazon and even right here on AuGoodsOnline; but not all apple cider vinegar brands are created equal. To maximize health benefits, purchase the raw, organic versions of the product – which contains “mother,” or strands of protein that give it a cloud like appearance. Look for dark, cloudy sediment at the bottom of the bottle, and purchase unfiltered apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s), when available. Apple cider vinegar is also available in capsule form, for those who can’t stomach the strong taste.

The bottom line? While not a magic cure, scientific evidence points to apple cider vinegar’s numerous health benefits (especially for blood sugar and weight control) when taken responsibly, and in small dosages. Any more than the standard 1-2 tablespoons/day may cause damaging side effects. If you wish to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, it’s all about how you choose to do it. Remember to consume it with foods to minimize any potential stomach irritation – and if you suffer from chronic gastrointestinal pain, apple cider vinegar is likely not for you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to mitigate any potential health risks.

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