Apple cider vinegar detox programs are popular because they’re all-natural, inexpensive, and because apple cider vinegar has reputation for helping people lose weight. But, does an apple cider vinegar detox work?
First, What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
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Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar that’s been around for hundreds of years. There’s some thought that Romans cultivated apple orchards so that they could create apple cider vinegar (ACV). Vinegar itself has been around for thousands of years, developed spontaneously on separate continents.
The root words for vinegar come from two French words that mean “sour wine,” and that gives us a clue about how vinegar was first discovered. Alcohol, which can be made from anything with enough sugar and yeast to ferment into ethanol, is exposed to acetic acid bacteria that live all around us.
The acetic acid bacteria eats the ethanol and produces acetic acid, which is what makes vinegar, vinegar. There are as many different types of vinegar as there are sugary substances, including cane sugar vinegar in Indonesia, rice vinegar in Asia, and malt vinegar in England.
Vinegar can be anywhere between 3-5% acetic acid to nearly 20%; apple cider vinegar typically falls in the lower end of the spectrum.
What Are Apple Cider Vinegar’s Health Benefits?
One of the things our modern diets lack the most is the traditional foods are ancestors relied on--such as vinegar. As it turns out, vinegar--including apple cider vinegar--has powerful health benefits that we can enjoy daily.
1. Help With Weight Loss
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In several studies (including this one in Japan), participants have lost weight simply by drinking vinegar or apple cider vinegar daily. The exact weight loss mechanism isn’t fully understood, but researchers believe vinegar may help increase feelings of satiety, causing people to eat less.
Vinegar consumption can also help people better control blood sugar levels (see the next section) and high-fat diets which can, in turn, assist with weight loss. Now, we’re only talking a few pounds over a several month period, which isn’t a lot. However, including apple cider vinegar as part of your healthy lifestyle can help you in the long run.
2. Help With Managing Blood Sugar Levels
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One of the best-documented of all the health claims for apple cider vinegar is its ability to help people better manage their blood sugar levels. Numerous human and animal trials have concluded that ACV is a powerful tool, especially if you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, for improving levels as well as insulin sensitivity.
3. Help With Acid Reflux
There’s not a lot of research proving apple cider vinegar’s impact on acid reflux and indigestion, but there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence! If you’re struggling with indigestion or reflux, you’ll benefit from the apple cider vinegar detox.
4. Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease
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You’ll get all the benefits of apple cider vinegar when you drink it as part of a detox drink, but you can also reap the benefits of ACV when you use it as a salad dressing!
A follow up on nurses in 1999 found that nurses who regularly ate more than five salads a week with an oil and vinegar dressing were much less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than those who ate salads without vinegar dressings.
ACV has also been shown to lower blood pressure levels and improve cholesterol levels when taken regularly.
5. Help Your Gut Health
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The microbiome in your gut is made up of beneficial bacteria that help keep you healthy. The live agents in apple cider vinegar nourish this bacteria, helping it provide immunity support.
What Kind of Apple Cider Vinegar Should You Use for a Detox?
The final vinegar product is heavily influenced by the starting product, which is why you should make sure that the ACV you use is organic since apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “dirty dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that contain loads of pesticides. You certainly don’t want pesticides in your body if you’re trying to detox!
You should also make sure that your ACV is raw or unpasteurized, as heat will destroy the benefits of the acetic acid.
Raw ACV will sometimes have a long chain of sediment floating in it; this is “the mother,” a natural byproduct of acetic acid bacteria. It’s completely harmless and has tons of healthful, active ingredients, but you can strain it out if you don’t want it!
You can purchase any brand of ACV as long as it’s raw and organic, but Braggs has been something of a gold standard for close to a hundred years now and is usually readily available.
How Do You Do an Apple Cider Vinegar Detox?
You can find tons of different apple cider vinegar detox recipes online, with varying instructions. Keep in mind that the magic is in the acetic acid in the ACV, not in the detox, itself. The body detoxes itself naturally, and there’s little-proven evidence that additional detox help is needed.
Usually, a better choice is to simply abstain from foods like sugar and wheat that cause inflammation to build up in your system.
There are a variety of recipes for ACV detox drinks, but most involve 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, with a cup of water and a natural sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or stevia. Some recipes also call for lemon juice, sea salt, or cayenne pepper.
Some detox programs recommend drinking this several times a day, but we need to caution against this: because acetic acid is an acid, too much of it can cause nutrient imbalances in your body, damage the inside lining of your mouth and esophagus, and damage your tooth enamel.
While one or two tablespoons a day mixed with water won’t cause any harm, more than that isn’t a good thing.
FAQs About Apple Cider Vinegar Detoxes
Taking a new supplement often raises a lot of questions. If you’re like most people, you probably have one of the following concerns about your apple cider vinegar detox:
Can I Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day?
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You can drink one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day without suffering any ill effects. If you drink more than that a day, you might experience damage to your esophagus lining, stomach lining, or tooth enamel.
Ingesting much more than that every day for a long period can cause even bigger problems.
What Are the Dangers of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?
Even though apple cider vinegar contains a type of acid known as acetic acid, it contains very small amounts. It is completely safe for adults to take, as long as it’s in small doses (one or two tablespoons) and mixed with water.
In 2009, a report in a major medical journal reported that a woman in her late 20s who had consumed more than eight ounces of ACV a day for six years was admitted to the hospital because of dangerously low potassium levels and osteoporosis.
As long as you stick to one or two tablespoons of ACV a day, however, and stop if you experience any discomfort, you should have no problems. And if you’re worried about the erosion of tooth enamel, make sure you rinse out your mouth with water or brush your teeth after drinking ACV.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Flatten Your Stomach?
There’s no direct evidence that apple cider vinegar will flatten your stomach, but there is a great deal of evidence indicating that it may help you digest your food better and regulate your blood sugar levels, which can help you lose weight.
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes
An apple cider vinegar detox drink isn’t the only way to consume apple cider vinegar and reap the health benefits. Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:
Whether or not an apple cider vinegar detox will help you, well, detox, what’s certain is that ACV has incredible health benefits. Whether you enjoy it as part of a drink or simply diluted in water, this is one treat you can indulge in daily!