The health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy that is making a fast return to the world of health.
It’s organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered and contains a wealth of good bacteria and enzymes. It’s also one of the oldest remedies on earth. We’re talking apple cider vinegar (ACV). Around 5,000 BC, the Babylonians used dates to make wine and vinegar—using both as food and as preserving agents. Later, in 400 BC, the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, “The Father of Medicine,” prescribed vinegar as a natural detox and to treat infection and illness.
In the famous words of Justin Timberlake, “What goes around comes back around.” As history has a way of repeating itself, ACV has made a comeback. This popular vinegar is trending in the natural health world because of its benefits—including weight loss and its bacteria-killing properties. Here are some reasons you should add apple cider vinegar to your daily routine:
It kills bacteria
According to the journal Scientific Reports, vinegar kills pathogens, includ- ing bacteria. The main component of vinegar is acetic acid, which has strong antibacterial properties. It has been traditionally used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces like bathtubs and floors. In fact, ACV can be used as a food preservative because it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing and spreading. Less well known is that it can also be used for treating things like warts, ear infections, a sore throat and a cold.
Since most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates, ACV is perfect for keeping the common cold at bay. The next time you find yourself stuffed up, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of warm water to help thin mucus and help clear up nasal congestion.
ACV is also a cure for bad breath. If you find that proper brushing, flossing and using mouthwash doesn’t do the trick, try gargling a tiny bit of ACV with warm water to kill odour-causing bacteria.
Lowers blood sugar
ACV has been shown to have many benefits in reducing blood sugar and insulin levels. A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that vinegar ingestion helped improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34% in those who had Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. Similarly, another study found that giving diabet- ic rats ACV for four weeks significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.
A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vinegar consumption reduced blood sugar levels in five subjects by an average of 31% after they ate white bread. Similarly, the American Diabetes Association found that ACV improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19–34%.
To help moderate blood sugar levels, try diluting one tablespoon of ACV in eight ounces of water and drink before meals.
According to the International Journal of Obesity, acetic acid increases your metabolism, reduces water retention
and suppresses your appetite. In another study, researchers found that by consuming two tablespoons of ACV each day for over 12 weeks, subjects lost nearly four pounds with no other changes to their diet or lifestyle. A similar study found that because vinegar increases satiety, consuming ACV can actually decrease total caloric intake by up to 275 calories over the course of a day.
However, it is important to note that ACV isn’t a quick fix. If just consuming it alone, the amount of weight lost due to ACV will be minimal. To really see results, be sure to combine ACV consumption with a healthy diet, portion control and an active lifestyle.
Treats stubborn acne
Because of its antibacterial properties, ACV can be used as a natural toner to fight acne. Acne is caused by bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)—and while there isn’t much research on the ability of ACV to fight P. acnes specifically, there are a few stud- ies on the organic acids ACV contains and why they work for fighting stub- born acne.
ACV contains acetic, citric, lactic and succinic acid—all which have been shown to kill acne-causing bacteria. The lactic acids in ACV have been found to soften and exfoliate skin, reduce the look of red spots and balance skin pH. According to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, citric acid can prevent and treat acne caused by P. acnes. A similar study found that succinic acid effectively inhibits the growth of P. acnes bacteria.
Since ACV is strongly acidic, it may cause burns when directly applied to the skin—be sure to avoid using on open wounds. If using ACV to treat acne or scarring, it is important to use it in small amounts and dilute it with water before application. It is also important to keep it on the skin for only a short period of time.
If you’re just starting to consume ACV, it is best to do so in small doses—as too much vinegar can cause harmful side effects including digestive issues and eroded tooth enamel. If you would like to drink ACV as a beverage, always make sure to dilute it in water.
Common dosages range from one to two teaspoons to one tablespoon per day, mixed in a tall glass of water. If you don’t want to consume ACV as a beverage, try adding it to a home-made salad dressing recipe.
Medical Note: Some medications, especially acne medications, may react with ACV. Check with your doctor before adding it to your daily routine.
More Inspiration: Check out this article on the health benefits of honey…oh and it’s sweeter than vinegar!
Author: Charmaine Millaire was the editor for Optimyz Magazine and is a graduate of the Kings School of Journalism in Nova Scotia.