It’s apple season! We all have our favorite types of apples—my personal favorite is Macintosh—and ways to incorporate apples into our diet (apple pie for the win!) but have you ever used Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)? Here are some benefits:
Helps Lose Weight
Always check with your doctor or nutritionist before adding anything new into your diet but when taken before meals, ACV lowers the glucose and insulin levels in the blood after the meal. This has a threefold effect of keeping one full, reducing fat storage, and improving risks of heart attacks caused by glucose spike. Take 1 tablespoon diluted in 1 cup of water before a meal daily. Do not have more than 2 tablespoons per day.
Offers Cosmetic Benefits For Skin And Hair
ACV is popular as a natural hair and skin care remedy. Here are some ways you can use it. Remember, these are home remedies that have been used by individuals, but until scientific study backs up wider use, you may want to try these with some caution – and only if your skin and hair are not too sensitive. Always test a small patch of skin first to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the remedy.
- Skin Toner And Facial Cleanser: Mix a tablespoon of ACV into a cup of clean water and dab onto your face with a clean cotton ball. You should feel your skin tighten and your pores should close up. Rinse off once dry.
- Sunburn Remedy: If you have a sunburn, applying diluted ACV (about half a cup to every four cups of water) can help heal the skin and may even prevent blistering.
- Dandruff Remedy: For dandruff or itchy scalp, rinse hair and scalp with ACV that has been added to your regular shampoo. You could also just rinse it through with a mix of plain water and ACV, with both in equal amounts.
- Natural Deodorant: The acetic acid in ACV kills the bacteria on your skin that decomposes sweat and creates body odor. Dip a cotton ball in a 1:1 ACV and water mixture. Swab your armpits with it. Let it evaporate. Then powder the armpits with a 1:1 cornstarch and baking soda mixture to keep dry. If you are worried about the vinegary smell, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Detoxes Your Body
ACV also features in detox regimens. That is because it may bind to toxins that have accumulated in your body and help expel them. As toxins build up in your body, its ability to function at its best also declines. Taking ACV may help offset some of that.
Lowers Blood Pressure
ACV may also have benefits for those with high blood pressure. Animal studies have proven the hypotensive action of the vinegar, showing that it can lower blood pressure possibly due to the acetic acid in it. However, human studies must be done before it can be suggested as treatment for the problem. It also helps that the potassium in ACV eases tension in your blood vessel walls, lowering blood pressure.
Alleviates Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis causes red raised patches and silvery skin to develop in those afflicted. Besides the knees, elbows, and lower back, it can also leave you with a scalp that’s itchy and painful. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, using ACV as a rinse on the scalp can relieve symptoms like itching and associated pain or discomfort.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity In Diabetics
Insulin resistance and diabetes have the uncomfortable ability to make life that extra bit challenging. Which is why the antiglycemic effect of ACV is so important. ACV can improve insulin sensitivity in those who have type 2 diabetes. It ups the glucose intake by the tissues of your body and prevents the complete digestion of complex carbs. The result are blood glucose levels dip, enabling you to avoid spikes and fluctuations that diabetics dread. With better control over diabetes, you are that much closer to getting your health back on track.
But here’s where it gets tricky. Taking ACV with blood glucose-lowering medicines may dip your sugar levels below normal, leading to hypoglycemia. So always ask your doctor.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol And Increases Good Cholesterol
Another area in which ACV makes a mark is heart health. If you are hoping to ward off cardiovascular illness, taking some ACV can help. The antioxidant polyphenols in it can help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Chlorogenic acid, one such polyphenol, also does not allow the LDL to oxidize and form fatty deposits in the arteries. This helps keep your blood pressure in check and your heart in better shape.
By improving your heart health, you boost overall fitness. You may, therefore, be able to stay active and build up the stamina to work out – good signs if you want to lose weight.
Even if you eat a cholesterol-rich diet, like fatty meats and dairy, drink a little with warm water before all meals to improve digestion and reduce serum cholesterol levels.
Stimulates Growth Of Helpful Gut Bacteria
ACV is a functional food that helps you keep a favorable balance of gut flora. Considered a prebiotic, ACV can also help stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your intestine. These are needed not just for good digestion but also for health and well-being and enable the body to fight off infections better. A tablespoon of ACV mixed with water is a good aid for digestion too. Apple cider vinegar can also treat acid reflux. Drink 2 teaspoons mixed in a glass of water at each meal.
Protects You From Fungal Infections
ACV has antifungal properties. This is invaluable when dealing with common problems caused by the growth of the yeast candida, also responsible for oral thrush. Research has shown it to be an effective antifungal agent with therapeutic potential in problems like denture stomatitis, which is the inflammation and redness of the area beneath a denture.
Other Possible Benefits
There are a lot of popular claims about how ACV can cure the common cold, treat eczema, and get rid of warts. But we do not yet have any scientific evidences to prove these, so we cannot recommend ACV for these purposes. But you can of course go right ahead and drink ACV for all its other benefits.
How To Have ACV For Health Benefits
Whatever your purpose, ACV can be consumed in a few popular ways. Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) per day. Do not go above that, because excess consumption may have harmful effects.
- Plain ACV: If you have a stomach for it, simply drink up the dosage suggested by your naturopath or specialist, or have a therapeutic dose of about a teaspoon before each main meal as most people do. Make sure to wash down with a glass of water as ACV can erode tooth enamel and burn the tissue of the esophagus.
- ACV With Warm Water: Another popular way is to mix the apple cider vinegar with a glass of warm water so it goes down easy.
- ACV In Drinks: Simply add ACV to water, add some honey, and you have a refreshing drink. You can also add some to smoothies or juices.
- ACV In Food: You can also add it to salad dressings and marinades. Also use it as a glaze or baste meat and vegetables with it.
Should You Have Raw Or Organic ACV?
Raw or organic apple cider vinegar usually refers to the unfiltered version of the vinegar. It has a cloudy appearance and contains some of the bacteria involved in the fermentation process as well as enzymes and protein strands – also called the “mother.” Non-organic ACV is pasteurized and its nutrient content is thought to be lower than organic ACV.
While some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for all the health benefits of ACV, this hasn’t been proven adequately via scientific research. Also, the high bacteria content in the unpasturized organic version may not agree with everyone.
On the other hand, the acetic acid in both organic and non-organic ACV has been found to have some marked benefits. Depending on your constitution and needs, your healthcare provider will be best equipped to recommend one of the two.
Blog post by Ally Wilson.