The wonder liquid, if you ask me. Or the terrific tonic. You probably can attach any good adjective to it, and it would suit it just fine.
I am talking about apple cider vinegar.
But why is it such a big deal? How is it going to make our lives better? If you have similar questions in mind, let them be. Because once you are done with the post, those questions shall perish. Most definitely.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
You got to be kidding if you tell me you haven’t heard of apple cider vinegar before. Most of us may not have used it. But we would have definitely heard of it (and its wonderful properties) at some point in our lives.
Vinegar has been used for centuries for various cooking and household purposes. And the most popular of all the vinegar types is apple cider vinegar. It is made from cider and has a pale to medium amber color.
One of the most common beliefs prevailing in the scientific and non-scientific communities today is that apple cider vinegar has disease-fighting properties due to its high concentration of beneficial ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar is used in marinades, chutneys, food preservatives, salad dressings, and numerous other dishes. It tastes sour due to the presence of acetic acid and malic acid.
ACV has been in use for a very long time. Here, we take a look at its history…
Apple Cider Vinegar – A Brief History
Around 2500 BC, an ancient nomadic tribe by the name of Aryans developed a sour apple wine, which formed the basis for the preparation of apple cider vinegar.
Cider basically means wine or strong drink. ACV has been medicinally used for thousands of years. It was used to treat certain ailments like toothache, mushroom poisoning, and dandruff. The vinegar was also used during the time of Civil War and World War I to treat the wounds of soldiers in the battlefield. It is also said that Japanese Samurai warriors used to drink ACV for enhanced strength and endurance.
Vinegar was also used in food as a pickling agent. The residues have been found in ancient Egyptian urns that were traced way back to 3000 BC.
Apple cider vinegar is prepared by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid – in a way similar to the preparation of other fermented drinks like Kombucha, Kefir, and wine.
That’s about the brief history of ACV. But wait, why talk about all this? Because, as we have already discussed, it is good for you.
Why Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For You?
ACV has too many benefits. One major reason it can be good for you is it contains good concentrations of certain beneficial nutrients. One of the benefits is its ability to induce satiety – if you have had a heavy meal and are having a hard time staying away from those chocolate cookies, you can take a little bit of ACV.
ACV can also help get things moving. It can act as a natural laxative. It is known to cure anything from cold to warts. It finds its use in the treatment of numerous other ailments related to excessive weight and blood sugar.
Well, there are many more benefits of apple cider vinegar . We will look at them as we go ahead with the post. As of now, check the nutritional values of this wonder liquid.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – Nutritional Profile
1 serving – 1 cup (239 g)
DV – daily value
Amount Per Serving
|Calories||50.2 (210 kJ)||3%|
|From Carbohydrate||50.2 (210 kJ)||0%|
|From Fat||0.0 (0.0 kJ)||0%|
|From Protein||0.0 (0.0 kJ)||0%|
|From Alcohol||0.0 (0.0 kJ)||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate||2.2 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.0 g||0%|
Now, we come to the most important part – what makes apple cider vinegar what it is is its vast array of benefits.
Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Detoxifies Your Body
Detox is THE thing today, if you know what I mean. Apple cider vinegar is replete with incredible enzymes and good bacteria. It also contains acetic acid, which can play a good role in detoxifying your body.
ACV can help detoxify your liver and enhance circulation (1). This will make you feel healthy and radiant right from the moment you wake up in the morning.
Raw ACV contains acids that bind to the toxins within your body and help in flushing them out. The vinegar purifies your blood. It also relieves constipation, thereby helping release waste and other toxic materials from your body (2).
2. Aids Weight Loss
There is no need to reiterate the ill effects of weight gain. The repercussions can be life-threatening.
The weight loss effects of ACV can be attributed to the presence of acetic acid, which can interfere with the body’s ability to digest starch. When this happens, less amount of food is broken down into calories in the bloodstream. This, eventually, can have a subtle effect on your weight. But, there is one thing you must keep in mind – too much of acetic acid can hurt your throat. Hence, the best way is to mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with about 250 ml of water and take it before a meal. Also, yes, ACV does keep some starch from being absorbed. But this doesn’t mean you can gobble up the entire plate of chocolate cookies. Daily disciplines are as important as anything else.
One study where rats were exposed to apple cider vinegar had found the increase of an enzyme called AMPK that was present in their bodies. This enzyme increases fat burning and decreases the production of fat in the liver (3). Though similar effects in humans are still under speculation, the findings look very promising.
3. Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar and diabetes are turning out to be the top killers in the world today. But, with apple cider vinegar, one can probably avoid falling victim to the ailment.
The effects of ACV on blood sugar are believed to be similar to certain medications. The anti-glycemic effects of ACV can be linked to its ability to prevent some of the starch from getting digested and spiking your blood sugar levels (6). However, please consult your doctor in this regard.
As per a report published by the American Diabetes Association, the ingestion of vinegar at bedtime can favorably impact glucose concentrations in type 2 diabetes patients (7).
[ Read: Apple Cider Vinegar For Diabetes ]
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Apple cider vinegar helps balance the body’s pH levels, which helps lower blood pressure. ACV also breaks down the fat and phlegm deposits in the body – this aids better circulation and lowers the pressure against the arterial walls.
The anti-hypertensive properties of apple cider vinegar can also be attributed to its high potassium content – potassium alleviates sodium’s negative effects on blood pressure (8). To get the best result for lowering blood pressure, it is best to consume apple cider vinegar in some form every day.
5. Lowers Cholesterol And Reduces The Risk Of Heart Disease
As per a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, rats that were given vinegar experienced a reduction in LDL (bad cholesterol) and an increase in HDL (good cholesterol).
Apples also contain pectin, a fiber that has been found to lower cholesterol levels (9). And, as ACV is made of apples, its consumption might help decrease cholesterol.
As we know, reduction in cholesterol levels means a lower risk of heart disease. According to a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, women who ate salad dressings with vinegar observed a lowered risk of heart disease (10).
ACV also controls triglycerides and raises the levels of good cholesterol in your body, thereby helping prevent heart disease. The vinegar also contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that has been scientifically proven to protect an individual from heart disease (11). The higher dose of pectin also directly contributes to heart health (12).
6. Helps Prevent Cancer
When it comes to diseases that can possibly wreck human lives, cancer is not unknown. There have been certain studies that support the efficacy of ACV in treating cancer. For instance, the vinegar has been found to help treat or prevent esophageal cancer (13).
However, there are certain other studies that state otherwise. Hence, it is recommended to check with your doctor.
7. Improves Digestion
The malic acid in apple cider vinegar possesses antimicrobial properties that may treat bowel irregularities.
Apple cider vinegar is also considered a prebiotic (food for probiotics, the good bacteria). It helps the beneficial bacteria in your gut thrive and maintain a healthy digestive system.
8. Banishes Bad Breath
Bad breath could be one of the most embarrassing things one can ever experience. It hurts your self-confidence and makes you feel inferior to others.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the few folk remedies for bad breath. This is because of the presence of malic and acetic acids, the acidic properties of which can create a hostile environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Also, ACV contains a rich mixture of minerals like potassium, sodium, magnesium, copper, sulfur, and calcium – all of which help support oral health. In addition, since ACV helps improve digestion, it banishes bad breath as well (as digestive problems can also result in bad breath).
Apples are also known to cure bad breath because of their richness of fiber and crunchiness – two factors that help scrub away the food remnants in your teeth that might cause bad breath (14).
9. Naturally Whitens Your Teeth
ACV can act as a powerful cleansing agent. It not only helps remove stains on your teeth, but also kills the bacteria that cause certain gum diseases (15). All you need to do is mix half a teaspoon of ACV with a cup of water. Gargle in the morning, post which you can brush your teeth as usual.
ACV, as we have already seen, contains enzymes that foster the growth of good bacteria. And since it is naturally acidic, it breaks down the plaque stuck to the teeth.
10. Helps Treat Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Believe it or not, heartburn and acid reflux are often caused by too little stomach acid, not too much of it. ACV, being acidic, provides a similar acidic environment like the stomach and aids the breakdown of food. This can help treat heartburn or acid reflux.
ACV also contains antimicrobial properties that can prevent certain intestinal issues that might cause acid reflux.
11. Balances Your Body’s pH Levels
One way to keep the body functioning normally is by maintaining its pH within the normal range. And ACV helps achieve that by making the body maintain a healthy and alkaline pH level.
Also, since ACV is acidic, it can help if your body’s pH has become too basic. And since it helps kill all the bad bacteria, it regulates any pH imbalances.
12. Has Antioxidant Properties
Apple cider vinegar is rich in certain bioactive compounds like acetic acid, catechin, gallic acid, caffeic acid, etc., which give it potent antioxidant properties (16). These antioxidant properties prevent the detrimental effects of free radicals that can damage cell DNA.
13. Improves Nutrient Absorption
It’s all about nutrient absorption, isn’t it? If the nutrients in the food you intake aren’t properly absorbed, what’s the point? Proper stomach acid levels enable proper nutrient absorption.
Apple cider vinegar also boosts metabolism, which ultimately results in proper nutrient absorption. The consumption of vinegar has also been found to increase the surface area of cells in the small intestine, thereby improving nutrient absorption (17).
14. Helps Treat Candida
Candida is a fungal yeast that lives on the surface of the skin. It thrives in an acidic environment that is often the result of poor nutrition. Apple cider vinegar, as we have seen, restores the pH balance in the body. It creates an alkalizing environment and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. This healthy bacteria helps cure candida.
The rich enzymes present in apple cider vinegar regulate the presence of candida. As per a Brazilian study, the antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar can act against candida and offer therapeutic benefits (18).
15. Boosts Energy
Nothing can be more taxing than feeling lethargic and snoozy the entire day. And in such an eventuality, apple cider vinegar can come to your rescue. Just two tablespoons of this golden liquid mixed with a glass full of water can give you that burst of energy you very badly need.
16. Soothes Sunburn
Apple cider vinegar will help restore your skin’s pH levels, thereby soothing it and treating sunburn. Simply add a cupful of apple cider vinegar to your bath. This will neutralize the burn.
17. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Apple cider vinegar can also help prevent osteoporosis. It is used alone or with honey for weak bones (19).
18. Helps Treat Acne
Did you know that our skin is naturally acidic? But, as we use harsh cleaners and soaps, this natural acidity gets disrupted. This destroys the acidic layer of the skin that offers protection against germs, bacteria, and pollution. The reason apple cider vinegar does a great job in treating acne is it restores the acidic layer. It also kills bacteria and removes excess dirt and oil.
19. Has Anti-Aging Properties
According to legend, Hippocrates, considered as the father of medicine, used apple cider vinegar as a healing elixir. Even the Parisians, by the turn of the century, used ACV as a healing tonic to preserve their youth.
Apples are good sources of flavonoids, phytochemicals like quercetin and catechin, and carotenoids that exhibit excellent anti-aging properties.
20. Treats Sore Throat
The antibacterial properties of vinegar can help neutralize the infections in the throat and treat soreness. All you have to do is add one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water and stir. Keep sipping the drink gradually once to thrice a day. If you want to gargle, you can add two tablespoons of the vinegar to half a cup of water. Gargle the mixture once or twice every hour.
Germs can’t survive in the acidic coating apple cider vinegar forms in your throat. Hence, you will get relief from sore throat.
21. Cures Cold
It is but obvious that cold is caused by microbes. When you add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and consume it, you alkalize your body. This alkaline environment kills the microbes and relieves cold.
22. Cures Hiccups
Though not life-threatening, hiccups can surely be irritating. How ACV cures hiccups is quite simple – its sour taste distracts the mind, and this helps stop hiccups.
23. Treats Leg Cramps
Low levels of potassium can be one of the causes of leg cramps. Apple cider vinegar, being high in potassium, can alleviate leg cramps. As per certain naturopaths, apple cider vinegar, when taken with water and honey, can help treat muscle cramps.
You can take a dairy-free diet without animal fat and with green salads, along with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in water. This, when taken twice daily, can dissolve the acid crystals in the blood and treat leg cramps (20). And in case apple cider vinegar is contraindicated for any condition you have, do consult your doctor before taking action in this regard.
24. Improves Hair Health And Appearance
Apple cider vinegar has multiple benefits for hair. Firstly, it improves the porosity (hair’s ability to absorb and maintain moisture) of your hair. It seals the cuticles and enables the hair to retain more moisture. But, keep this in mind – ACV can dry the hair out, so you need to use a moisturizer after using it (21).
It also flattens the surface of the hair and combats tangles. ACV is known to stimulate hair growth, thereby helping prevent hair loss.
Apple cider vinegar, when used as a follow-up to baking soda in a DIY hair treatment, reduces frizz and also seals the cuticles (22).
You can use apple cider vinegar to treat dry ends as well (23). Just mix one part of ACV with two parts of water and massage your hair, avoiding the scalp. The only thing to make a note of is the smell of ACV might linger for a while.
Apple cider vinegar also helps treat dandruff. Its acidity makes it hard for the fungus (which contributes to dandruff) to thrive on your scalp. Simply mix equal parts of ACV and water and add the mixture to a spray bottle. After shampooing, spray it onto your hair and leave it on for 15 minutes. Then, rinse your hair. Use this remedy twice a week, and you will see the results soon.
25. Repels Fleas On Your Pets
Though apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill the fleas pestering your pets, it will offer an unpleasant environment that repels fleas. Yes, there are countless other flea-repelling products stocked on supermarket shelves. But hey, they contain chemicals. ACV works as a natural flea repellent.
More importantly, it is easy to prevent fleas than to get rid of them. And this is where apple cider vinegar enjoys the upper hand.
There are different ways you can use ACV to protect your pets from fleas. You can add a teaspoon of ACV to a liter of water that you use for bathing your pet. Increase the dose gradually.
You can also add a teaspoon of this wonder vinegar to your pet’s food (1 teaspoon of ACV for every 9 kilos of your pet’s body weight). Adding the vinegar to your pet’s water is not advisable – your pet might dislike the water and consume less of it (26).
In addition to preventing flea infestation, raw apple cider vinegar can also help your pet have a shiny coat.
26. Works As A Natural Deodorant
There are as many warnings against deodorants as there are deodorants in the market. Some say they contain cancer-causing chemicals. Others say deodorants make you itch and cause rashes. Best – chuck all of them, and stick with our beloved apple cider vinegar.
Also, most commercial deodorants are antiperspirants. Now, what does that mean? They block your body’s ability to sweat. Sweating is your body’s natural way to detoxify, and blocking that ability means blocking the ever-important process of detoxification. Hence, once again, ACV wins as it neutralizes and absorbs stinky scents. All you have to do is rub a little amount of ACV on your underarms. It will absorb and minimize body odor. Don’t worry about the vinegary smell though – it dissipates as it dries.
27. Heals Poison Ivy
In case you don’t know (I definitely didn’t!) what poison ivy is, it is a North American climbing plant that secretes oil, which can cause dermatitis. Well, that’s what Google says.
Anyway, the deal here is dermatitis can be pretty irritating. That might not be the case if you have ACV in your kitchen. ACV has a toxin-pulling ability that can suck the poison out of your skin pores. Simply apply a teaspoon of organic ACV to the infected areas. Reapply as needed.
You can also soak a brown paper bag in apple cider vinegar and place it on the infected areas to draw out the toxins.
28. Cures Warts
I know warts, by the way. Small overgrowths on the skin caused by a virus. But one doesn’t have to worry about them as our super cider knows a way around this skin condition. Just apply ACV to warts and cover the area with a band-aid. Leave it on overnight and remove in the morning. Repeat every day, and you will see results in a week or a little longer.
As per an Arizona study, certain reports suggest that the topical application of highly concentrated acetic acid helps alleviate warts (27).
That’s about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. The dosage of ACV might vary from benefit to benefit. But, does it have a standard dosage? Let’s see.
Note: Certain studies have supported the benefits of ACV during pregnancy. However, these benefits can be attributed to only the pasteurized form of apple cider vinegar. Uncertainties exist with the unpasteurized form. To be on the safe side, it is best to avoid ACV altogether during pregnancy.
Frankly speaking, there is no specific dosage for ACV that has been proven to be effective (28). However, people usually use doses of ACV ranging from a teaspoon to a tablespoon taken with a glass of water, once to thrice a day.
The acidic nature of ACV might erode your tooth enamel. It might even interfere with certain blood-thinning medications. Hence, check with your doctor if there are any issues. If you consume ACV using a straw, it might help protect your tooth enamel.
If you don’t want to intake ACV as it is, that’s okay. You consume it in a few other special ways as well.
How To Add Apple Cider Vinegar To Your Diet
1. As a tonic
What You Need
- Your favorite fruit juice (preferably high in vitamin C), 250 ml
- Apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons
- Add the two ingredients to a glass.
- Mix well and serve.
2. As a salad dressing
What You Need
- Honey, ½ cup
- Apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup
- Extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup
- Mustard powder, 1 teaspoon
- Dried basil, ½ teaspoon
- One small minced shallot
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Whisk together the honey, shallot, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, dried basil, and lemon juice.
- To emulsify, pour in olive oil slowly while whisking.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour into a jar with lid. Refrigerate.
3. As a marinade
What You Need
- Garlic powder, ½ teaspoon
- Sea salt, 1 teaspoon
- Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon
- Red pepper powder, 2 teaspoons
- Pure apple cider vinegar, 2 cups
- Oil, 120 ml
- Light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Hot sauce, 2 teaspoons
- In a glass jar, mix all the ingredients and shake well.
- Place the jar on the counter and let it be for an hour before using for the first time.
- You can use this to marinate meat or poultry for 3 hours.
- You can reserve a cup of marinade for basting.
4. As a cocktail
What You Need
- Lemon juice, 2 cups
- Water, 3 cups
- Vodka, 120 ml
- Honey, 6 tablespoons
- Apple cider vinegar, 6 tablespoons
- Fresh thyme, 6 sprigs
- Take a medium saucepan and add the honey, apple cider vinegar, and ½ cup of water to it. Heat it over medium to high heat.
- Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
- Add herbs and let it steep for about 3 minutes.
- Strain the mixture.
- When it is ready to serve, transfer this mixture to a larger jug or pitcher.
- Add the remaining water, lemon juice, and vodka. Mix the ingredients.
- Serve with ice. You can garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.
Most stores sell apple cider vinegar. There are various brands too. But not all would be the best. So, what can you choose?
Where To Buy Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg organic raw apple cider vinegar is the best known brand. Mostly because it contains the ‘mother’ of vinegar, the nutrient-rich enzyme that renders ACV its splendid benefits.
You can buy it here.
As popular as it is, there are also certain questions about ACV that most people have. In the next section, we answer a few of the most common ones.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Why is ACV usually not pasteurized?
Pasteurization, as we already know, is the heating process that helps remove the problem bacteria from consumable liquids like juices, milk, etc. But the process also removes certain delicate nutrients and enzymes that are responsible for most benefits of ACV. Hence, ACV is not pasteurized as doing so is as good as not consuming ACV at all.
Since ACV is unpasteurized, is it protected from the E.Coli bacteria?
Yes. Very much. The acidity in ACV is effective in killing the bacteria.
What is the shelf life of ACV?
The official shelf life is three to five years post the bottling date. And as per certain studies, ACV is usable and effective for an indefinite period if it is kept out of direct sunlight.
There are not many negative things about ACV that have been recorded (except for the ones related to its acidic nature). Though its over consumption might cause issues, consuming it within permissible limits can have magical benefits.
Tell us how this post on benefits of apple cider vinegar has helped you. We are looking forward to your comments below.
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