Like kale or coconut oil, apple cider vinegar has joined the ranks of health foods that are now in the limelight. It is not just for salad dressing. The beneficial bacteria and nutrients found it makes apple cider vinegar a very useful item to have around.
Apple cider vinegar has become very popular in the “alternative” and natural health community. More importantly, it has even garnered superfood status because of its ability to cure almost any ailment.
It’s one of the most versatile products you can buy and is a natural alternative to a number of household cleaners, personal care items, and medications.
Apple cider vinegar is a special kind of vinegar made from apples. To be more specific, it is fermented apple juice. The apple cider underwent fermentation to form health-promoting probiotics an enzyme. As a result, it has significantly less sugar and fewer calories than apple cider or apple juice.
A tablespoon or two is enough to take advantage of its health benefits. A tablespoon has around 3-5 calories and has minimal sugar. The yeast turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. Additionally, the bacteria then turns the alcohol into acetic acid. This gives the vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.
It has a very long history as a home remedy. People have been using it medicinally and therapeutically for centuries. Also, people have been fermenting apple juice into vinegar since 5,000 B.C.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates even prescribed it mixed with a bit of honey to help cure coughs and colds.
ACV is an all-natural, non-toxic remedy for various ailments that alternative health and holistic experts speak highly of. Hence, when used correctly, it is inexpensive and generally considered safe.
Here are some surprising health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Read on for more reasons to keep a bottle of this miracle health elixir handy in the pantry.
1. Helps relieve sore throat
A sore throat can be very uncomfortable. Swallowing becomes painful and irritating. Infections often cause sore throat. This is the way the body’s immune system reacts to viral or bacterial infections. The mucous membranes in the throat swell and get inflamed.
Sore throat can be treated with many remedies. Apple cider vinegar is the most popular, inexpensive choice. Its germ-busting components can help fight off infections. It creates an acidic environment that can kill germs.
People have been using it as a health tonic for centuries. Aside from its germ-killing ability, ACV can also coat and soothe the throat. And it can also help loosen the phlegm that is causing the irritation.
To help get rid of sore throat, mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with an ounce of warm water. Add honey to the mix to improve the flavor. Honey also has its own antibacterial properties. Another popular option is adding it to warm tea or saltwater gargle.
2. Helps with digestive problems
The antimicrobial properties in apple cider vinegar can kill E. coli bacteria that cause food poisoning and many cases of diarrhea. And there is also some evidence that ACV can slow down the emptying of the stomach.
Apple cider can slow down the digestion process. As a result, the stool is given enough time to harden before it is expelled from the body. This can be pretty helpful to those who have diarrhea.
Bloating is another ailment in the long list of conditions that ACV can help with. Many believe that the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar helps in the digestion of protein-rich foods. People who take ACV diluted in water with their meals, experience less post-meal heaviness.
For this purpose, take a sip of ACV to prevent indigestion before eating foods that could cause some stomach discomfort later on.
Another popular folk remedy is to add apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of honey to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before dining.
3. Weight loss management
The acetic acid in ACV can reduce the absorption of starches and slow digestion. This creates a sensation of a full stomach, therefore, reducing the amount of food intake.
This acid component of ACV also promotes weight loss in other ways like improved metabolism, reduction of fat storages, significant increases in fat burning, and can help suppress appetite.
Those who swore by the results suggests drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in eight ounces of water twice daily preferably before meals. Others mix apple cider vinegar with oil and use it as a salad dressing.
Just remember though, apple cider vinegar, by itself, doesn’t guarantee weight loss but when combined with a strict low-calorie diet may become an effective strategy in losing those extra pounds.
4. Dandruff Remedy
Dandruff can cause the scalp to itch and produce flakes of skin. It is believed that apple cider vinegar can help balance the pH levels of the scalp. This makes it hard for dandruff-causing conditions, like fungus, to take hold. And the acidity can also help stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells.
There are also claims that apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for the hair and scalp. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acid that can help exfoliate scalp skin and it is also anti-inflammatory which can help relieve dandruff problems.
To use apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for dandruff, mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar to ¼ cup water in a spray bottle. Spray affected area with the solution and let it sit for about 15 minutes to an hour, then wash hair as usual. Repeat the process twice a week for better results.
5. Helps clear acne
Apple cider vinegar is well known for its ability to kill many kinds of viruses and bacteria. Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes is the bacteria that contributes to acne. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic, citric, lactic and succinic acid. These have been shown to kill these acne-causing bacteria.
Acne can cause scarring and some skin discoloration. Apple cider vinegar can also help with those. The acids in ACV can promote the process of chemical peeling. The keratolytic property of ACV aids with the peeling. It is when the acids remove the damaged, outer layers of the skin which in turn encourages the skin to regenerate.
A bit of warning though, apple cider vinegar is strongly acidic which may cause burns when applied directly and when left on the skin for longer periods of time. Use it in small amounts and always diluted with water.
It is also not recommended to be used on sensitive skin and open wounds.
6. Gets rid of bad breath
Want to banish bad breath but conventional toothbrush and mouthwash just can’t do the trick? Apple cider vinegar is here to get rid of that problem. Its pH balancing properties can be quite effective in removing bad breath.
Its high concentration of malic and acetic acid creates an environment that is unfriendly to bad breath producing bacteria. Apple cider vinegar also kills bacteria on the teeth and tongue. It also has anti-fungal properties against mucous membrane inflammations that occur under dentures.
Apple cider vinegar also has minerals -calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, etc.- that can help maintain overall oral health.
It also gives relief to digestion ailments that can cause bad breath.
To help with bad breath, add a tablespoon of ACV to water and drink it before taking meals. The other is adding apple cider vinegar to a cup of water and gargle with it.
7. Helps whiten teeth
The acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar works to remove plaque buildup and stains on teeth brought about by too much coffee or glasses of red wine or bad oral hygiene.
Although it is a proven inexpensive method for whitening teeth, there is a catch to it. Since ACV is highly acidic, using it often and undiluted can break down and damage the enamel of the teeth. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer that protects teeth from cavities and tooth sensitivity.
Mix ACV to two parts water and swish it around the mouth for about a minute. After rinsing, wait for 30 minutes before brushing the teeth.
8. Can help fade bruises
This is a surprising use of apple cider vinegar. Unknown to many, ACV can actually help bruises fade. Its anti-inflammatory properties lessen swelling and pain.
ACV increases blood flow in the affected area and helps break up any blood clot in bruised areas preventing further discoloration.
To use ACV as a quick remedy for bruises, mix it with warm water, soak a towel and use it as a compress for the injury. Repeat every 20 minutes until the swelling goes down. This will help the body heal the bruise quicker by eliminating discoloration and sensitivity of the bruise.
It is not advisable though to use it on cracked or broken skin.
9. Sunburn relief
Sunburns occur when the skin can’t produce enough melanin, the pigment that gives our skin color, to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation caused by sun exposure. In response, healthy skin cells promote inflammation to get rid of the damaged skin cells.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural antiseptic that makes it ideal in healing minor skin conditions. It can help reduce the itching and pain that comes along with a sunburn.
It helps balance the pH level of the skin that gives relief and helps reduce any blisters from forming. ACV’s antiseptic properties also help keep off any infection.
When using apple cider vinegar for sunburn relief, it is important to dilute it in water. Undiluted ACV that comes into contact with damaged skin can cause more burns.
It can also be used to bring relief to stings. The acetic acid in ACV prevents further release of toxins from jellyfish stings.
10. Help prevent nighttime leg cramps
Waking up in the middle of sleep to a painful leg cramp is an unpleasant experience for anyone susceptible to these kinds of cramps.
Several factors like overusing the muscles or poor circulation can also cause leg cramps. Most nighttime leg cramps are often a sign of potassium, magnesium or calcium deficiency. Potassium is essential for muscle health.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium and can do wonders in preventing nighttime leg cramps from occurring. By aiding this nutritional gap, it greatly helps in reducing leg cramps and alleviates pain associated with pre-existing cramps.
The acid in ACV helps the body produce acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps our muscles work. The more acetylcholine you have, the better your muscles function.
People who were helped with their nighttime leg cramps suggest drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of honey and a glass of warm water daily for better results.
Keep in mind….
While the evidence behind apple cider vinegar seems promising, there are a few things to keep in mind before using it. In general, using and consuming apple cider vinegar in small amounts is safe. Doctors recommend not going over 8 ounces per day. Anything above that has been linked to a few side effects.
Since apple cider vinegar’s acidity is responsible for many of its health benefits, be sure not to mix it with anything that could neutralize the acid and reduce its positive effects.
Although there are many claims of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits, it is still best to consult doctors before using apple cider vinegar as a supplement. The acidic properties should also be taken into consideration before using it.
Drinking it undiluted can harm the esophagus and other organs due to its very acidic nature. Apple cider vinegar is a traditional remedy and not medicine, there are no official guidelines on how to use it so always be mindful when using it to treat simple ailments.
Anything beyond that, go seek medical help.