You must have heard or read that apple cider vinegar offers several health benefits. Everybody is talking about it and everybody seems to be loving it. But what exactly does it do to your body? Are there really actual benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Over the years, apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for many health and beauty issues. Although we’re only becoming more aware of those benefits nowadays, they were always there.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
Apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar is vinegar made by crushing apples, extracting the liquid, and then going through a 2-step fermentation process – first, to make alcoholic cider and second, to make it vinegar.
Simply put, apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice. It is commonly used in marinades, salad dressings, food preservatives, chutneys, and vinaigrette.
Health Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Below are just some of the benefits you can get from drinking apple cider vinegar every day.
It helps control diabetes.
If you’ve been searching for natural remedies to control or lower your blood sugar levels, you have probably come across the suggestion to take 0ne to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar every morning. But does this really work?
After doing some research on the impact of vinegar on appetite and blood glucose management, Susan Weiner, a registered nutritionist, and dietitian (RND), said there is some emerging evidence that suggests apple cider vinegar may have certain potential benefits for people with diabetes. However, she added that all of the studies in this area are small and have varying results.
So what is in vinegar that provides the benefit of controlling blood glucose levels? Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which may slow down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into the bloodstream.
Just a word of caution here, people with diabetes should not consider apple cider vinegar or any other isolated dietary change to be a quick-fix for diabetes. The most effective methods of controlling diabetes include eating a high-fiber diet containing the right amount of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein, alongside regular exercise.
It helps regulate cholesterol levels and improves heart health.
We learn from health experts that high cholesterol can present a huge health risk, blocking blood vessels thereby increasing the chance of heart problems and stroke. So it is very important to keep our cholesterol, especially LDL, called the bad cholesterol, always in check.
How does apple cider vinegar help control cholesterol, lower blood pressure, thereby improving heart health? By controlling renin, a hormone produced by the kidneys that are responsible for dilating and constricting the blood vessels. When the blood vessels constrict, blood pressure rises. Apple cider vinegar keeps the blood vessels to relax so that blood pressure won’t rise.
Furthermore, a recent study shows that drinking apple cider vinegar before a meal does not only lower bad cholesterol; it also increases HDL (good cholesterol) due to its natural antioxidants.
Aids in weight loss.
According to a report in the Journal of Functional Foods released in 2018, apple cider vinegar may help you to lose weight when you make it a part of a restricted-calorie diet. This is because of its acetic acid content which has been found to reduce the absorption of starches. Apple cider vinegar also slows down digestion, which can lead to a sensation of a full stomach.
Most people over-eat because they don’t feel full. Apple cider vinegar increases your feeling of fullness (satiety) which is very helpful for you to stay on track with your healthy diet.
It helps clear acne.
Since vinegar is well-known for its ability to kill many bacteria and viruses, apple cider can be used as a natural home remedy for acne.
Our skin is naturally acidic but this natural acidity is disrupted when we use harsh cleansers and soaps, thus destroying the acid mantle of our skin, which is needed to protect our skin from bacteria, germs, and pollution.
Apple cider vinegar is great for curing acne because it restores the acidity of our skin. Aside from killing bacteria, the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar also help soften and exfoliate the skin, reduce red spots and keep the balance of the skin’s pH.
To cure acne, dip a cotton ball on a diluted apple cider vinegar and gently rub over the affected area. Leave it for about three to five minutes and then rinse with water. Do this at least twice a day until you see get the desired results, usually after one to two weeks.
A word of caution: Make sure to do a “spot test” on your skin first as it might cause skin irritation.
It improves digestion and helps tummy troubles.
Did you know that one of the oldest uses of apple cider vinegar is to fix tummy woes? If you’re suffering from an upset stomach, you may want to try sipping some apple cider vinegar mixed with water.
If you have diarrhea as a result of bacterial infection, apple cider vinegar can help to control the problem because of its antibiotic properties. Some experts also contend that drinking a mixture of one to two tablespoons apple cider vinegar with water or clear juice like apple juice can soothe intestinal spasms because of its pectin content.
In addition to helping tummy woes, apple cider vinegar, when taken before protein-heavy meals is said to improve digestion. The idea behind this is that apple cider vinegar increases the stomach’s acidity, which in turn helps the body to create more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein.
To aid in digestion, just drink one to two tablespoons (or 15-30 ml) of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water right before meals.
It may help reverse PCOS.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age and is responsible for as much as seventy percent of infertility issues in women. Yet, few women are aware of PCOS and its symptoms.
What’s with apple cider vinegar and PCOS? Apple cider vinegar is among the few natural supplements that may help reverse PCOS by increasing insulin sensitivity according to several studies, including a trial in women with PCOS. In this trial, seven women with PCOS were given one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day for forty days.
At the end of the trial, six of the women experienced a measurable reduction in insulin resistance, five had a decrease in their LH/FSH ratio indicating less androgen production and four resumed ovulating.
Another study conducted over a period of three months found that women with PCOS who took one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 100 ml of water immediately after dinner had improved hormone levels and experience more regular periods.
However, this does not mean you are to take shots of pure vinegar. For best results, consume 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. You may also want to use apple cider vinegar for your salad dressings and sauces.
Detoxifies the liver.
In addition to boasting various healing properties for the skin and blood, apple cider vinegar also contains liver detoxification properties. When we talk of detoxification, it refers to the removal of harmful toxins that build up in the body, especially in the liver, due to our day to day activities.
In a spirit of full disclosure, there is no scientific research to back up this claim. But according to experts, apple cider vinegar works wonders in flushing out toxins from the liver, thus improving its natural blood filtration processes and increasing its energy levels.
To detoxify the liver with apple cider, follow these steps:
1. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with approximately 9 ml of water and drink this solution first thing in the morning.
Note: You can add honey to this mixture if you find the taste unpleasant.
2. Wait one hour after drinking the mixture, then eat fruits or vegetables (preferably organic as they do not contain toxins). Consumption of organic fruits and vegetables will boost the detox process.
3. Prepare again a mixture of one to two teaspoons apple cider vinegar and about nine ml of water and drink it one hour before lunch. Your lunch should consist of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You may include a salad of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber.
4. Again, prepare the same mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, and drink it an hour before dinner. For dinner, have fresh fruits and vegetables along with bread and cheese or whole-grain pasta.
5. Continue this detox process for several days if needed. An important tip: Make sure to drink lots and lots of water during your detox to keep hydrated.
Negative Side Effects of Drinking ACV
Generally, consuming apple cider vinegar in small amounts is considered safe. How much is too much?
Most doctors and health experts suggest that you do not consume more than eight ounces per day because taking more than what’s necessary has been linked to low potassium levels, which in turn can cause muscle cramps or weakness.
By the way, I cannot overemphasize the importance of diluting apple cider vinegar with water in order to avoid causing an acidic shock on your esophagus and stomach. One other thing is that ACV can damage tooth enamel. Therefore, drinking through a straw and rinsing your mouth after consuming ACV are highly advised.
Although drinking apple cider vinegar daily clearly helps with your overall health and longevity, keep in mind that there are no silver bullets or magic pills when it comes to your health.
A healthy lifestyle that incorporates regular exercise and a well-balanced diet is still the most important factor in your health.