You might have walked into a grocery store and seen apple cider vinegar drinks in the refrigerated section. But are you always excited to grab one? Probably not! Apple cider vinegar is one of the basic pantry staples that is gaining exploding popularity due to its multipurpose benefits, which we will explore in this article.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Let’s first understand the meaning of apple cider vinegar or ACV before we talk about its benefits. In simple terms, apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apples, and it has 5% acidity.
There are different types of ACV that you can find at the store:
- The unfiltered or unpasteurized ACV: contains a cloudy substance floating around.
- Distilled ACV: looks clear in the bottle
All varieties of apple cider vinegar last in the refrigerator for a long time. So even if your vinegar looks cloudier, for instance, it’s still okay for you to use.
The dilute apple cider vinegar contains zero calories, as well as no protein, carbohydrate, fat, or fiber. So you can use ACV to add a burst of flavor to your food without worrying about adding extra salt or calories.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is considered one of the superfoods available today. Many fans have given claims that it helps to relieve a wide range of health complaints.
The antioxidant and antimicrobial effects of apple cider vinegar make it suitable for many health conditions. Several studies show that it helps to reduce cholesterol, boost weight loss, improve symptoms of diabetes, and lower blood sugar levels.
Without much ado, here are some evidence-based health benefits of apple cider vinegar:
It helps to kill harmful bacteria
Vinegar has been used traditionally as a disinfectant and cleaning agent, treating ear infections, lice, nail fungus, and warts. Even Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, cleaned wounds using vinegar.
Studies have shown that vinegar can help kill pathogens. It has been shown to inhibit bacteria like E. coli from spoiling food, thereby acting as a preservative.
So if you intend to preserve your food in a natural way, you can use apple cider vinegar.
It contains healthful substances
The processing of apples to get apple cider vinegar yields several healthful substances. Acetic acid is one of the healthful substances, which gives vinegar its characteristic sour smell and flavor. Some research states that this acid contributes mainly to the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
The unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains “mother,” a substance that consists of enzymes, proteins, and friendly bacteria that makes the product have a murky appearance.
Some people believe that the mother gives apple cider vinegar its numerous health benefits, but there are no studies to back this up.
Although apple cider vinegar does not contain minerals and vitamins, good quality brands contain some antioxidants and amino acids. More so, it sometimes offers a small amount of potassium.
It may aid in weight loss
Several studies have shown that vinegar helps to boost weight loss. One study showed that taking vinegar alongside a high-carb meal causes an increased feeling of fullness, making participants eat 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.
Another study conducted on 175 people living with obesity showed reduced belly fat and weight loss after daily consumption of apple cider vinegar. However, note that this study took up to 3 months to get a modest result.
Overall, apple cider vinegar contributes to weight loss by reducing insulin and blood sugar levels and promoting satiety.
It may help manage diabetes
Vinegar has been widely used to treat type 2 diabetes. This condition is characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the inability to produce insulin or insulin resistance.
High blood sugar levels also trigger aging and various chronic diseases. So, even without diabetes, you can still benefit from having blood sugar levels in the normal range.
However, the best way to maintain a normal blood sugar level is to avoid foods containing refined carbs and sugars. But you may enjoy some beneficial effects from apple cider vinegar.
One study shows that vinegar caused an improved insulin sensitivity by 19-34% after taking a high-carb meal. And this resulted in a significantly lower blood sugar level.
Another study on diabetic patients showed that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before going to bed caused a 4% reduction in fasting blood sugar the following morning.
Apple cider vinegar helps to boost skin and hair health
The skin is slightly acidic in nature, and you could rebalance the natural pH of the skin using topical apple cider vinegar. This helps to improve the protective skin barrier.
More so, apple cider vinegar is commonly used to treat skin conditions like eczema and dry skin. But using alkaline soaps could irritate eczema and make the condition worse.
Given the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar, a lot of people use the diluted form in a toner or facewash. This is intended to kill bacteria and prevent spots.
Apple cider vinegar is also effective for improving hair health
In general, apple cider vinegar is great for the following:
- Treats and soothes sunburn
- Treats and reduces the prevalence of acne
- Improves hair health
- Reduces hair frizz
- Combats hair tangles
- Treats dandruff
- Seals the hair cuticles and help the hair retain moisture
However, you need to avoid applying undiluted vinegar to your skin to prevent burns. And ensure you talk to your healthcare provider before using acid cider vinegar topically.
There are many benefits of apple cider vinegar. It is safe to use, as long as you don’t take an excessive amount of it. It works for killing bacteria, promoting weight loss, and lowering blood sugar levels, among other benefits. However, it also has non-health-related uses, including as a natural skincare product, hair conditioner, and cleaning agent.
You can add apple cider vinegar to your foods like homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings. Some people dilute it in water and take it as a beverage. You can take 1-2 tablespoons per day mixed in a large glass of water.
You can enjoy a concentrated form of natural apple cider vinegar by adding this ACV supplement to your diet.
But the best way to take ACV is to start with small doses. Too much can cause some harmful side effects like tooth enamel erosion, so avoid taking large amounts.
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