We all know what apple cider vinegar is. Oh wait, you don’t? Surely, you’ve used it, or seen it being used in salad dressings and marinating onions and pickles?
Well, as the name suggests, apple cider vinegar is the vinegar obtained from apples, by squeezing the pulp and obtaining the juice. This vinegar has common uses that we already mentioned, but it also has several health benefits.
Vinegar is one of the oldest fermentation processes known to humankind. The oldest fermentation process of all is that of wine, from which the first vinegars were made. Dating back to 5000 BC, the Babylonians made wine from date palm and the Egyptians made wine from barley.
Around 2500 BC, an ancient nomadic tribe called the Aryans developed a soured apple wine, the forerunner of apple cider. The name ‘cider’ is rooted in the Phoenician ‘shekar’ meaning wine or strong drink.
So, from the Babylonians to the Aryans to the Phoenicians, the soured apple wine recipe was passed to the Greeks and Romans and people started developing apple cider vinegar as a by-product to their soured apple wines.
Apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Historically it has been used for treating a variety of ailments, including mushroom poisoning, dandruff and toothache.
It was used in the US Civil War and World War I to treat wounds on the battle field. Japanese Samurai warriors were said to drink it for strength and power. A dilution of apple cider vinegar was drunk by Ancient Persians to prevent the accumulation of fatty tissue in the body, while the Romans used fire and vinegar to break through rocks when conquering the Alps.
Vinegar has been used to preserve food for thousands of years and is still used nowadays as a very versatile cleaning product. In short, there are historical records showing a myriad of uses for apple cider vinegar from all over the world.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
(Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc on March 15, 2018)
Apple cider vinegar is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community.
It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, many of which are supported by science.
This includes weight loss, reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.
It is also an ancient folk remedy and has been used for various household and cooking purposes.
Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are supported by scientific research.
1. High in Acetic Acid, With Potent Biological Effects
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made.
The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.
In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.
In French, the word “vinegar” actually means “sour wine.”
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.
Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.
Apple cider vinegar only contains about three calories per tablespoon, which is very low.
There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a small amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.
2. Can Kill Many Types of Harmful Bacteria
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria.
It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago.
Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in food and spoiling it.
If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food, then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.
There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied to the skin, but I didn’t find any strong research to confirm this.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Fights Diabetes
By far, the most successful application of vinegar to date is in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, either because of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
However, high blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes. It is believed to be a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.
Pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the normal range. The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can also have a powerful effect.
Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
- Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19–34% and significantly lowers blood sugar and insulin responses.
- Reduces blood sugar by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugar in the morning by 4%.
- Numerous other studies in humans show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low for other reasons.
If you’re currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, check with your doctor before increasing your intake of any type of vinegar.
4. Helps You Lose Weight and Reduces Belly Fat
Surprisingly, studies also show that vinegar can help you lose weight.
Several human studies show that vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and lead to actual pounds lost on the scale.
For example, if people take vinegar along with a high-carb meal, they get increased feelings of fullness and end up eating 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.
A study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss :
15 mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
30 mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.
However, keep in mind that this study went on for 3 months, so the true effects on body weight seem to be rather modest.
That said, just adding or subtracting single foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight.
It’s the entire diet/lifestyle that counts and you need to combine several effective methods to see results.
Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar is useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering blood sugar and insulin levels.
But it won’t work any miracles on its own.
5. Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature death.
It is known that several biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of heart disease.
Several of these “risk factors” can be improved by vinegar consumption, but many of the studies were done in animals.
These animal studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, along with several other heart disease risk factors.
There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure in rats, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and kidney problems.
The only human evidence so far is an observational study from Harvard showing that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease.
But this type of study can only show an association, it cannot prove that the vinegar caused anything.
As mentioned above, human studies also show that apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and help fight diabetes. These factors should also lead to reduced risk of heart disease.
6. May Have Protective Effects Against Cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that various types of vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human.
That said, some observational studies in humans have shown that vinegar consumption is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia.
It is possible that consuming apple cider vinegar may help prevent cancer, but this needs to be researched more before any recommendations can be made.
There are a lot of wild claims about apple cider vinegar on the internet.
Some say that it can increase energy levels and have all sorts of beneficial effects on health.
Unfortunately, many of these claims are not supported by science.
Of course, absence of proof isn’t proof that something isn’t happening and anecdotes often end up becoming supported by science down the line.
However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for more studies, since research on natural health products like these are both few and far between.
From the little evidence available, I think that apple cider vinegar may be useful and is definitely a good candidate for some experimentation if you’re interested in it.
At the very least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe as long as you don’t go overboard and take excessive amounts.
Apple cider vinegar also has various other non-health related uses like hair conditioning, skin care, dental care, pet use and as a cleaning agent (to name a few).
These can be highly useful for people who like to keep things as natural and chemical-free as possible.
At the end of the day, apple cider vinegar appears to be very healthy.
It’s not a “miracle” or a “cure-all” like some people seem to believe, but it does clearly have some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar and weight control.
Apple cider vinegar uses range from soothing sunburns to giving your gut health a boost. Some even suggest that apple cider vinegar cures cold symptoms and seasonal allergies as well as acid reflux.
With at least 20 potential uses and a host of proven health benefits, this is a must-have item in your medicine cabinet.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
1. Boosts Gut Health
By opting for organic raw apple cider vinegar, you can add a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria into your diet. These bacteria can enhance the health of your digestive system and deliver a host of added gut bacteria benefits like increased immunity and an improved ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Incorporate one to two tablespoons into your diet per day along with other fermented foods such as kombucha or kefir for best results.
2. Soothes Sunburns
If you’ve spent a little too much time in the sun, apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy for soothing dry, sunburnt skin. Add a cup of apple cider vinegar plus 1/4 cup coconut oil and some lavender essential oil to a lukewarm bath and soak to provide sunburn relief.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
Apple cider vinegar benefits your blood sugar levels and can even increase insulin sensitivity. Try diluting one to two tablespoons in an 8-ounce cup of water and drinking before meals to keep blood sugar levels steady.
4. Fights Fungus
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, jock itch or yeast infections can be easily treated with the help of apple cider vinegar. Creating an antifungal spray is one of the most effective apple cider vinegar uses. Combined with other fungus-fighting ingredients, it can reduce symptoms and provide relief fast.
5. Improves Skin Health
Apple cider vinegar benefits for skin include treating acne and reducing scarring. Known for its antibacterial and healing properties, apple cider vinegar benefits skin health by killing off strains of acne-causing bacteria. Try an apple cider vinegar toner to help enhance skin health.
6. Enhances Circulation
Some studies have found that applying apple cider vinegar to varicose veins could help reduce symptoms. (13) Try combining with witch hazel and scrubbing in a circular motion to improve circulation and alleviate symptoms.
7. Treats Warts
Want to get rid of a wart that won’t go away? Try soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, applying directly to the wart and covering with a bandage overnight. Though it may take a while, repeating this a few times can cause the wart to eventually fall right off.
8. Heals Poison Ivy
Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that can help soothe an itchy poison ivy rash. This is because it contains potassium, which may help reduce the swelling associated with poison ivy. Try applying a teaspoon directly to the skin a few times per day until it is healed.
9. Kills Bugs and Fleas
If your dog or cat can’t stop scratching themselves, ditch the chemical-laden flea killers and try this natural remedy instead. Add equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle and apply to the fur once per day until fleas are gone. You can also try making your own homemade bug spray and applying to your skin to fight off pesky insects.
10. Wards off Seasonal Allergies
Many people use apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for seasonal allergies. The healthy bacteria found in apple cider vinegar may promote immunity and support healthy lymphatic drainage to kick seasonal sniffles and allergies to the curb. Try drinking two tablespoons diluted in water next time your allergies are acting up.
11. Acts as a Natural Deodorant
The armpits are a great breeding spot for bacteria, which can lead to a worsening of body odor. Apple cider vinegar possesses powerful antibacterial properties and makes an excellent natural deodorant. One of the simplest apple cider vinegar uses is to dab a bit on your fingers and apply under your arms to help neutralize odor and keep you smelling fresh.
12. Keeps Hair Shiny
For dull or dry hair, give apple cider vinegar a try. Making an apple cider vinegar hair rinse prevents dryness, makes it smell great and helps hair stay shiny and lustrous.
13. Amps Up Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar can boost satiety and kill cravings to kickstart weight loss. Try making an apple cider vinegar weight loss drink by adding a dose of apple cider vinegar to your favorite green smoothie recipes or simply use it wtih a glas of water.
14. Reduces Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Many people experience acid reflux as a result of low levels of stomach acid. Apple cider vinegar can help increase levels of stomach acid to prevent backflow into the esophagus and reduce symptoms of heartburn. It works best to drink apple cider vinegar right before meals. Dilute a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in one 8-ounce cup of water and drink up to fight off acid reflux.
15. Balances Your pH
Although acetic acid, the primary component in apple cider vinegar, is acidic, it has an alkalizing effect on the body. A few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day can keep your pH levels balanced to help optimize health.
16. Acts as a Household Cleaner
Mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar with water to make an all-natural household cleaner is one of the easiest and most effective apple cider vinegar uses. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it’s perfect for killing off germs and keeping the house spotless.
17. Whitens Teeth
Apple cider vinegar can even brighten up your smile and naturally whiten your teeth. For best results, try brushing with a bit of apple cider vinegar, rinsing your mouth out. Keep in mind that overdoing it can actually erode your enamel, so use a moderate amount and avoid overdoing it.
18. Relieves Cold Symptoms
If you feel a case of the sniffles coming on, a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar may be a useful natural cold remedy to relieve symptoms fast. This is because apple cider vinegar contains beneficial bacteria that can help give your immune system a quick boost, especially when you’re feeling under the weather.
19. Lowers Blood Pressure
Acetic acid, the main component in apple cider vinegar, has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels and help improve heart health. For best results, dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in an 8-ounce cup of water and consume three times daily to help drop blood pressure.
20. Aids in Detoxification
Apple cider vinegar can help balance your pH, encourage lymphatic drainage and enhance circulation, making it a great tool when it comes to detoxification. The typical apple cider vinegar dosage is one to two tablespoons mixed with water a few times per day, but you can also try out the Secret Detox Drink to get a concentrated megadose of health-promoting ingredients that can aid in detoxification.
Types of Apple Cider Vinegar
With apple cider vinegar, terms like “organic” and “raw” are tossed around pretty loosely, making it hard to decipher what you’re actually getting when you grab a bottle from the store.
To maximize the apple cider vinegar benefits, you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar whenever possible. It should also be murky with a web-like appearance and the mother still intact to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Here’s what those terms actually mean and why you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar whenever possible:
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
If your apple cider vinegar is labeled as certified organic, it means that it’s free of genetically modified organisms and synthetic additives that can actually do more harm than good in terms of your health.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is unheated and unprocessed. This means that it still has the “mother” intact, which is a cluster of proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria often removed during processing.
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
For most apple cider vinegar uses, you’ll also want to go for unfiltered apple cider vinegar. When apple cider vinegar is filtered, it removes the mother as well as any sediment, leaving behind a clear, amber vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar vs. Apple Cider
So what distinguishes apple cider from apple cider vinegar and can they be used interchangeably?
Apple cider is made from fresh pressed apples. It’s similar to apple juice but it’s not filtered or processed in the same way.
Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, is actually made from apple cider that has been fermented by yeast and bacteria, which turns the sugars into alcohol. It then undergoes a second fermentation process in which the alcohol is converted into acetic acid.
This fermentation process accounts for the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar and is the reason why apple cider vinegar is able to lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels stable and relieve acid reflux. Apple cider, on the other hand, may taste great but doesn’t provide the same wealth of benefits.
Although apple cider vinegar is healthy and safe for most people, consuming large amounts can lead to some negative effects on health. Apple cider vinegar side effects include erosion of tooth enamel, burning of the throat or skin and decreased levels of potassium.
Be sure to always dilute apple cider vinegar in water instead of drinking it straight to prevent negative side effects. You should also start with a low dose and work your way up to assess your tolerance.
If you’re taking blood sugar medications, talk to your doctor before using apple cider vinegar. Because apple cider vinegar may help reduce blood sugar levels, you may need to modify your dosage of diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms.
Finally, while there are a wide range of apple cider vinegar uses, it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix or cure when it comes to your health. Instead, it should be paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to really see results.
Reviews of Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Erica Scime cured her acne with Apple Cider Vinegar
Erica was one of millions of teens suffering from acne, and low self esteem due to a broken out face.
“I tried everything in my battle against blemishes — drugstore cleansers, department store skin regimens, medicated creams, dangerous prescription pills — you name it.”
Then she heard the internationally acclaimed actress Scarlett Johannson praise the benefits of ACV for skincare and decided to give it a shot.
“I don’t mean to sound like a commercial, but that apple cider vinegar toner changed my skin. After just a couple weeks my skin was softer, my pores were smaller, my scars were faded, my skin tone was the most even it had ever been, and there wasn’t a pimple to be found on my face.”
2) Alicia’s Cramps
Alicia had a hard time dealing with her menstruation cycles. Cramps, menstrual migraine and PMS made it impossible for her to carry out her daily routine. It was then she heard about apple cider vinegar and its benefits, and with its daily usage she has been able to curb them. It also helped with her digestion and made her skin better and beautiful. Moreover, she noticed that once she discontinued it, her old problems resurfaced. For her apple cider vinegar has truly been a game changer.
3) Dannie’s Scalp
Dannie had a history of dry scalp. It made her feel disgusted and she started detesting herself. After trying every other hair product, she applied apple cider vinegar on her scalp for 2 weeks and was amazed by the results. Her scalp was much healthier and cleaner. She started feeling better about herself and a lot more confident too.
4) Vanessa’s weight loss
Vanessa felt sick of her weight, and no exercise seemed to be helping her. It was then she decided it’s time for a change. She started taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted with water, with absolutely no changes in her diet and exercises. In just a week she lost 4 lbs of weight and also dropped an inch of her waist. Nothing had helped her as much as it did. According to her it helped flush out the toxins from her body and made her feel lighter and livelier than ever before.
5) From celebs
We already mentioned ScarJo. Apart from the heart stealer Black Widow, we also have a list of celebs that promote apple cider vinegar.
- Courtney Kardashian
- Megan Fox
- Miranda Kerr
- Hilary Duff
- Gabby Douglas
- Katy Perry
Now you know…
That everyday-use-item in your cabinet has so many health benefits to it! Well, what are you waiting for? Use it and reap the benefits!