We’ve all heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but what about a shot of apple cider vinegar (ACV) every morning? Some people regard ACV as a “cure all” and a “must have” ingredient in your household.
We will discuss some of the common uses, the benefits, and how you can incorporate ACV into your diet on a daily basis.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
As you browse the aisles of your grocery store, you will notice that there’s quite a bit of variety in the vinegar section. You’ve probably used white vinegar for various things from cooking to cleaning, and you might even use balsamic or rice vinegar in special recipes.
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, is available in a filtered form (much like the white vinegar) or a raw form. The raw ACV is the type we will be discussing and exploring in-depth.
What Makes Raw ACV So Special?
If you have a full jug of filtered ACV in your pantry, you might be wondering why you can’t use it as a substitution for some of the home remedies and healthy recipes. While there’s nothing wrong with using that type of vinegar, the raw ACV has all the “good” stuff.
ACV is made by crushing apples, saving the liquid, and adding bacteria and yeast to it. Once the fermentation process begins, the sugars in the liquid are turned into alcohol (ACV is not an “alcoholic” product). During a second fermentation process, the acetic acid-forming bacteria is added to convert the liquid into vinegar.
ACV is either left filtered or unfiltered (raw). The unfiltered ACV has the “mother,” which is amber-colored sediment that looks a bit like a cobweb. Raw ACV is not pasteurized and remains cloudy, kind of like a “real” apple cider. So, if you hear people talking about ACV with the mother, you know they are referring to raw ACV.
Even though ACV has a long history of natural remedies and recipes, which apparently date back to the Greeks, its use has become more popular. Due to its new-found fame, you should be able to find raw ACV (with the “mother”) in your local grocery store or at a health foods store.
ACV is typically sold in glass bottles and costs more than a filtered jug of ACV. It’s also common to see the sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle; all you need to do is shake it well before each use to distribute the sediment evenly.
Benefits Of Using ACV
Browse through any health magazine or online publication, and you might see an article discussing some apple cider vinegar benefits. As with any natural health product (food or otherwise), it’s important to keep in mind that you may or may not experience any of the benefits associated with using ACV.
As with any dietary changes that you make in your life, you should talk with your health professional before taking ACV to ensure that it’s safe enough and the best option for you, particularly if you have any health issues.
Some benefits are backed up with more research than others; here are some common benefits you might see and feel when beginning an ACV diet. ACV is not intended to replace a healthy diet or exercise but rather to help boost your health.
Helps To Regulate Blood Sugar
Adding one to two tablespoons of ACV to an eight-ounce glass of water and drinking the mixture before every meal may help you keep your blood sugar levels in balance. According to a study involving diabetic rats, the animals were given ACV for four weeks, which resulted in a significant reduction in blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you should talk with your doctor before using ACV in your diet; don’t substitute it for your daily routine.
Lowering Blood Pressure and A Healthier Cholesterol
If you suffer from high blood pressure or your cholesterol levels need to be healthier, an ACV drink might help you regulate and maintain both. LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure can negatively affect your heart health over time but a few studies have shown some promising results.
In another study involving rats, the animals were given ACV on a daily basis, and their blood pressure levels dropped. Similar studies have also resulted in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising the good HDL levels.
A Helpful Tool With Weight Loss
One of the more popular apple cider vinegar uses is in losing weight. While you should not consume ACV as a substitute for reducing your daily caloric intake and increasing your activity levels, it might offer a little boost in a weight loss journey.
When people try to lose weight, one of their biggest challenges is the constant struggle with feeling hungry. One study reveals that drinking a few tablespoons in a glass of water may help some people feel fuller longer, which can help when trying to manage caloric intake.
Consuming more acid, when you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may seem like a disastrous and painful idea but if you have low levels of stomach acid, drinking some ACV may help prevent the backflow of acid. Don’t forget to talk with your doctor, before trying apple cider vinegar, to make sure it’s a safe option for you.
Other Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar
We’ve discussed a few common health benefits to using ACV, but there are other ways you can incorporate it into your daily life.
Improving Your Gut Health
Improving your intestinal flora and gut health is pretty popular these days. While there are a ton of probiotic products on the market, fermentation is another key factor in improving the health of your gut. You may have already tried kombucha; ACV has some of the same properties. Always make sure to drink ACV diluted.
Add A Little Tang To Your Foods
Do you like to make your own salad dressing or are you following a recipe that calls for vinegar? ACV is a great substitute for any recipe that includes vinegar. Not only can you enjoy the health benefits but the taste is good, too.
Keeps You Shiny, Clean, and Smelling Nice
If you suffer from problematic acne or even a wart from time to time, applying ACV to your skin can help to make your complexion clear. Whether you use ACV as a toner or in a homemade face mask, there are a variety of ways to use it on your skin. Since it is acidic, keep it diluted when using directly on your skin.
Fungus, like Athlete’s Foot, can be embarrassing and hard to manage. OTC sprays and creams are full of chemicals, which can be a little expensive. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, consider making your own spray.
In a five ounce glass spray bottle, combine two ounces of pure aloe vera gel, one ounce of jojoba oil, one-half of an ounce of olive oil, one-half of an ounce of ACV, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, two drops of peppermint essential oil, 10 drops of chamomile oil, and one-half an ounce of witch hazel. Shake well and store in the refrigerator; apply as needed.
Some people use a dab of ACV as a substitute for deodorant and some claim that their bad breath is gone after drinking ACV (with water) every day.
Your pets can even benefit from using ACV, particularly if you’re trying to keep fleas and ticks away. Use ACV in a natural flea repellent or add a little vinegar to your pet’s drinking water.
Some Additional Tips When Using Apple Cider Vinegar
Even though ACV is natural, and for the most part, safe, you should avoid consuming it when pregnant or without talking to your doctor first.
While there are hundreds of recipes and home remedies, that use ACV, on the Internet, avoid taking advice from anyone who tells you that ACV is a “cure all” or makes claims without sufficient evidence.
Testing out a recipe or two isn’t likely to cause you any harm, but since ACV is extremely acidic, you should always dilute it with water. Acidic foods and drinks can damage the enamel on your teeth and cause stomach upset.
Once you begin using ACV on a regular basis, pay attention to how you feel. If you experience any negative effects, try adjusting your dosage (such as fewer times a day). Some people don’t enjoy the taste of ACV, even when diluted with water. If this is the case, try adding it to a tea or adding a little honey and cinnamon to your ACV drink.