Turning your nose up at the sweet pungent aroma of the fermented refreshment? You may want to rethink your vinegar aversion once you learn how beneficial apple cider vinegar is for your health. From promoting weight loss and preventing diabetes to helping your body detox and your hair look shinier than ever, apple cider vinegar has been proving its own versatility for thousands of years. The “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates, even famously utilized apple cider vinegar with honey to cure his patients’ colds.
Because apple cider vinegar does contain acetic acid, it’s critically important to recognize that it should not be drunk on its own, but rather diluted (1 – 2 tablespoons in a full glass of water) or added to other consumable beverages or dressings. Mixing with a little honey or lemon helps cut the harshness of the vinegar, or you can even find “drinking vinegars’ available in some grocery stores by the bottle. Since 400 B.C. the world has seen apple cider vinegar embraced for its healing properties, and the 21st century is no different. To feel all the great health effects apple cider vinegar can have, make sure to use the unfiltered (or raw) versions of the fluid with the mother (murky film on top composed of healthy proteins, enzymes, and bacteria) still present.
1. Regulates Blood Sugar
When you eat food and drink beverages, your body metabolizes the glucose you ingest and produces insulin to help convert it into energy. People with Type 2 Diabetes are either chronically insulin-resistant or simply don’t produce enough insulin to maintain a healthy glucose level. The antiglycemic properties of the acetic acid found within apple cider vinegar has proven in one Diabetes Care study to help lower blood sugars of Type 2 Diabetes patients overnight possibly by aiding in starch digestion, or altering the glycolysis process of the liver. Apple cider vinegar seems to positively impact metabolic functioning overnight and thus prevent blood sugar spikes in the morning.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Apple cider vinegar plays a part in boosting circulation too and helping lower the pressure at which your heart needs to pump blood through your body. As well, a study from the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry also found that in rats, acetic acid (like is found in apple cider vinegar) positively affected the levels of renin, an enzyme that helps regulate blood pressure.
3. Supports Weight Loss
As apple cider vinegar in part aids in metabolizing your body’s glucose, it prevents your body from over-producing insulin which can leave you craving sugar and other foods that are bad for you and which add to weight gain.
In addition, apple cider vinegar has been shown, like in this 2005 study, to increase feelings of satiety; that is, it was reported to make study participants feel fuller longer. In combination with a healthy diet and exercise, apple cider vinegar can serve as an aid to weight loss, not a solution on its own.
4. Aids Detoxification
The human body has a miraculous way of eliminating toxins and waste that might otherwise make someone sick. The natural detoxification process specifically targets the blood – impurities are removed from the blood by the liver and more toxins are eliminated through the intestines, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic system.
Apple cider vinegar is rich with enzymes which stimulate liver function and lymphatic drainage, as well as healthy bacterias that filter to your gut and aid in digestion and waste elimination. One study showed the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar also binds to toxins making it easier for your liver to get rid of them.
5. Prevents Osteoporosis
Apple cider vinegar boasts the unique ability of helping your body absorb vital minerals like calcium which aids in growing strong bones and maintaining bone density as you age.
With osteoporosis affecting close to 55% of men and women over 50, a healthy diet that prioritizes calcium consumption and exercise is highly recommended for fighting bone loss.
When you consume apple cider vinegar it helps pump up the acid content of your stomach – this is crucial to stimulating the enzymes which break down foods and help your body assimilate nutrients and vitamins.
6. Balances Body pH Levels
Your body’s ecosystem is constantly trying to maintain a state of homeostasis, or balance, including between the acid-base levels (or pH). Healthy pH levels for the human body hover between 7.35 and 7.45 which leans more towards the alkaline side of the spectrum, instead of the acidic side.
Interestingly, the acetic acid (derived from the original latin word “acetum” which meant “vinegar) found in apple cider vinegar actually exhibits alkaline properties in the body. This is especially important for those who consume a largely acidic more western diet.
7. Prevents Acid Reflux
The curse of acid reflux and heartburn can be both an annoying and painful meal companion. Apple cider vinegar’s powerful ability to balance pH levels in the body with its naturally occurring enzymes and probiotics can lend itself towards resetting the acid balance in your own stomach towards a more alkaline level.
If your heartburn results from low stomach acid, on the other hand, even the little bit of acid from apple cider vinegar can help prevent the bloating and heartburn that pushes gastric juices up into the esophagus.
Experts recommend ingesting apple cider vinegar diluted in water before each meal to aid with treating heartburn.
8. Kills Candida (Yeast)
Apple cider vinegar contains naturally occurring enzymes which kill the candida yeast and foster an alkaline environment – candida thrives in an acidic environment.
In addition, apple cider vinegar promotes the growth of healthy bacteria which crowd out the candida and help flush the digestive tract.
9. Combats Common Cold
Immunity-boosting apple cider vinegar aids in reducing mucus and sinus congestion, often times associated with allergies.
Rich with probiotics, or healthy gut bacterias, all-natural apple cider vinegar preps your body to fight off infections, cold, and the flu, and the alkaline environment it supports eliminates viruses which can make you sick.
Feeling something sinusy coming on? Add a one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink until symptoms subside.
10. Improve Hair Health
Ever heard of the “acid mantle”? This very fine, slightly acidic film covers your skin and helps protect it from bacterial pathogens, viruses and other contaminants. When it comes to your hair, the acid mantle helps hair stay moisturized, sleek, and shiny.
Because many commercial hair products are more alkaline, they can disrupt or remove the vital acid mantle on your scalp. An apple cider vinegar hair rinse can restore pH levels and exfoliate the scalp, improving the look and feel of your hair as well as preventing dandruff and itchiness.
11. Healthy Bacteria
One of the things that makes apple cider vinegar as potent as it is is its content of good bacteria. Not all bacteria is bad as you may be aware: good bacteria can also exist and it is important for the body to have a balance of both kinds.
When we consume cultures of healthy bacteria in our food, we can encourage their existing in our guts, which in turn helps with digestion (through the production of digestive enzymes) and much more.
You know when I ended that last entry with ‘and much more’…? Well one of the additional benefits of consuming more healthy bacteria is that it will produce more neurotransmitters as well.
Neurotransmitters are similar to hormones except that they have a shorter action and specifically affect the brain. In other words, they are responsible for regulating mood, focus, wakefulness and much more.
When you increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut, you actually produce more neurotransmitters such as serotonin and this can then put you in a better mood!
13. Appetite and Rhythms
What many people don’t understand is that there is a very close relationship between your energy levels, your mood, what you eat and even the time of day. Serotonin is linked with the gut because it indicates that we are satiated – i.e. full.
So, when you improve your gut flora balance, you actually help it to send signals that tell the body to stop eating as well as boosting the mood. This can be useful for weight loss, as you may already have guessed!
14. Energy Levels
We’ve already seen that apple cider vinegar can help to regulate blood sugar and that this in turn will help us to avoid conditions such as pre-diabetes. But did you know that this would also boost your energy levels?
The same goes for enhanced digestion, which is important seeing as a lot of energy is spent digesting food. When you have more apple cider vinegar then, you enjoy greater energy levels which is another way in which this great ingredient can help you to burn more calories and lose more weight!
15. Nutrient Absorption
Many of us live with deficiencies in keys nutrients including a range of minerals and vitamins. This can leave us with low energy levels, it can cause weight gain and in general, it results in poor health.
Often this comes down to the simple fact that we aren’t eating enough of those nutrients – which is no surprise given our processed modern diets. However, it can also be a sign that we aren’t absorbing the nutrients properly, meaning that we aren’t able to get the most benefit from them in our diet.
This can lead to deficiencies in just the same way – something which apple cider vinegar helps to prevent!
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve cholesterol by reducing levels of the unwanted LDL cholesterol and boosting the ‘good’ kind of cholesterol called HDL (high density lipoprotein).
This is important as it can improve your circulation, as well as reducing your chances of developing heart disease or other serious conditions.
Apple Cider vinegar has antioxidant effects, meaning that it can help to neutralize the action of free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that are highly reactive and which can damage cell walls when they come into contact with them.
Eventually, this damage can build up to become visible and this is one of the reasons that we see visible signs of aging in the skin.
By improving circulation and cholesterol, apple cider vinegar might also be able to balance the skin tone more. Don’t make the mistake of applying this directly to your skin though – that’s actually liable to cause much more harm than good!
Like any antioxidant, you will also benefit from the anti-cancer properties of apple cider vinegar.
That’s because it will prevent free radicals from causing damage to the DNA, which leads to unwanted mutations and then can spread throughout the body as cells split and proliferate.
Apple cider vinegar is not the most potent antioxidant on the plant so this is a mild effect. But every little bit helps!
Apple cider vinegar actually contains a number of useful nutrients and one of the most abundant is manganese. Specifically, consuming a regular helping of apple cider vinegar will provide you with 30% of your DV for manganese.
This nutrient is important for your bone structure and helps to prevent damage. It is also a co-enzyme which helps with metabolic activity in the body – i.e. energy efficiency. In other words, it supports many of the things that apple cider vinegar is already good for!
20. Zero Fat
Apple cider vinegar can be used to add a little flavor to your potato chips, or you can use it when poaching eggs to prevent them from spreading out in the pan. Either way, you’ll get the benefits while adding zero fat to your diet!
Now fat isn’t a bad thing in itself, but as the most calorific of food groups, this is reassuring because it means that you can add apple cider vinegar without worry that you will be ruining your diet!
We’ve already seen that apple cider vinegar can help you to fight candida. But did you know that this is just one example of its larger anti-bacterial capabilities?
In short, adding apple cider vinegar to your diet will help you to prevent infections, bacterial growth and more and should generally improve your health as a result of all that.
It supports good bacteria and gets rid of the bad. Bonus!
As you can see then, there are a ton of great reasons to consume apple cider vinegar! And as it happens, it’s also great for various different jobs around the house. Just be careful not to apply it to your skin (no matter what some people tell you!) and make sure that you don’t try whitening your teeth with it either – it will burn away the enamel.
Oh, and if you want to get the best benefits from those live bacteria cultures, make sure you consume the ‘mother’ of the vinegar. This is the most nutritious and valuable part!