Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
The benefits of apple cider vinegar extend well beyond adding tang to a salad dressing. Apple cider vinegar—specifically the raw, unpasteurized, organic version containing the “mother”—is considered by some to be an unconventional beauty treatment and health tonic. The “mother” is the name for the cloudy fermented strands of enzymes that are often settled at the bottom of the bottle. The numerous benefits associated with apple cider vinegar are attributed to these enzymes, as well as the vinegar’s high acetic acid content.
In fact, the bottle I have in my fridge is plastered with dozens of health claims and promises, including younger looking skin, increased metabolism, and appetite suppression. Since I started drinking ACV regularly about 4 months ago, I have noticed that I am less sore after a hard workout and that I have experienced fewer blemishes on my skin. Of course it could partially be attributed to the placebo effect, but I am not ready to give up my daily dose of ACV just yet (see my exact recipe at the end of this article). Even though not all of the health claims have been backed by scientific research, those that have may make apple cider vinegar worth its hype. Below are just a few reasons and ways to add ACV to more than just your salads.
Weight loss and appetite suppression
According to WebMD, studies have shown that when taken with meals, ACV may trigger satiety sooner. The rationale behind this claim is that ACV contains high levels of pectin, a naturally occurring fiber compound. Once consumed, the pectin in the ACV expands in your stomach, which makes you feel fuller, which can reduce appetite. To try using ACV for appetite suppression, drink 1-2 teaspoons diluted in a an eight-ounce glass of water before a meal.
Improved blood sugar control
This is ACV’s most researched health claim with evidence showing that drinking 1-2 teaspoons of ACV mixed in at least 8 ounces of water nightly can lead to lower blood sugar levels in the morning. This good news is not just for those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Maintaining steady blood sugar levels—e.g., avoiding the extreme post-meal spikes and dips often caused by over consuming refined carbohydrates and sweets—reduces your risk of developing insulin resistance later in life.
ACV makes an amazing once-a-week hair rinse. The acidic vinegar helps remove gunky buildup and leaves hair shiny and silky. After shampooing (or skip the suds altogether) apply a mixture of 1/4 cup ACV and 2 cups water to your strands and let it sit for 5–10 minutes before rinsing clean. Conditioner is optional, too, but I usually still condition my hair because it is so dry.
Whether used topically or ingested, ACV can help reduce blemishes and breakouts, allegedly due to its antibacterial properties. To use as a toner or to treat a pesky pimple, simply dab a cotton ball with ACV and apply to affected area.
Swabbing a little ACV under your arms may seem like it would only increase any pungency but once the vinegar dries, it has quite the opposite effect. For those concerned about using antiperspirants it is a nice alternative. (Hey, you never know when you may need a backup plan!)
Acid reflux and indigestion
One would think that consuming something as acidic as ACV would only lead to increased acidity in the body, but quite the opposite is true. ACV may help balance the body’s pH levels, which can become overly acidic with a Westernized diet high in processed foods. In this regard, ACV can also relieve symptoms of acid reflux and indigestion.
Pre- or post-workout energy boost
ACV contains amino acids that can help the body breakdown lactic acid, a byproduct of exercise that leads to that sore muscle feeling. ACV is also rich in potassium, which is an essential dietary mineral that plays an important role in nerve function.
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
2 tbsp raw, organic, unpasteurized ACV
1/2 cup organic pineapple juice
8 ounces water
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Mix everything together in a cocktail shaker with ice and enjoy! You can also substitute organic apple juice for the pineapple juice. If it is still too sour, add a teaspoon of honey or 100% maple syrup to sweeten it up.