11 Things That Can Happen When You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day
Apple cider vinegar is making the rounds as a bit of a "miracle cure," but what exactly does it do to your body? Here are some of the potential benefits and a caution.
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The flavor could grow on you
A big reason people are hesitant to try apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the taste. But not only can you mask the taste by mixing it into something else, you absolutely should: Drinking apple cider vinegar straight could damage your esophagus.
Making tweaks to the drink helps. That's what Rebecca Park, a registered nurse in New York City and founder of RemediesForMe.com, where she covers natural remedies and therapies. "To get myself started, I initially diluted a large glass of water with one small teaspoon of apple cider vinegar," she says. "As I got used to it, I increased the amount of vinegar to two teaspoons. After a few months, I was up to two tablespoons."
If you still don't like the taste, don't fret; check out these apple cider vinegar recipes—they include ACV, but don't taste like it!
Your appetite could decrease
One of the best-known health benefits of ACV is its potential to help you lose weight. "Vinegar could lead to metabolic changes that support weight loss," says Luiza Petre, MD,board-certified cardiologist and weight management specialist who has a private practice with locations in New York and Connecticut. She explains that apple cider vinegar helps weight loss by reducing appetite and maintaining a feeling of fullness after meals longer.
You may stop craving sweet things
In addition to helping you feel fuller longer, ACV may curb your sweet tooth, especially if you mix it with honey, says Park. The acetic acid in the vinegar helps tamp down your sugar cravings while the honey gives you a small dose of sweet flavor. And the best part? ACV satisfies those cravings even with its very small calorie count. "Apple cider vinegar is a very low caloric food—three calories per tablespoon," says Park. Yet it has essential vitamins and minerals, she says, including potassium, magnesium, and some fiber. Sounds like a pretty good deal. And that's only scratching the surface of the many reasons apple cider vinegar for weight loss works.
Your stomach might feel better
ACV works wonders for your digestive system. The prebiotics contained in ACV are incredibly beneficial to the healthy microorganisms that monitor your digestive system, explains Dr. Petre. Drinking it can also help regulate the amount of acid in your stomach, which leads to easier digestion.
It could reduce your blood sugar
"Apple cider vinegar increases the efficiency of insulin in breaking down sugar, even during a high-carb meal," says Park. According to research published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, a daily dose of ACV can help lower average daily blood sugar levels. Amy Leigh Mercree, a holistic health expert and the author of Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook, agrees: "ACV can prevent insulin resistance, a symptom of pre-diabetes." While there is no scientific evidence to support diabetics using ACV to replace insulin or other diabetes medications, incorporating ACV as prevention might help keep pre-diabetics from ever developing the condition. Make sure you don't fall for these apple cider vinegar myths.
It could boost your heart health
If you're looking for a simple way to help lower cholesterol and your risk of heart attack, ACV may help. "Apple cider vinegar lowers triglycerides," says Park. "Triglycerides cause fatty plaque along your arteries and this buildup can lead to a blood flow blockage." Likewise, the dietary fiber called pectin, found in both apples and vinegar, helps neutralize bad cholesterol.
You could absorb more of your food's nutrients
Another benefit of ACV is that it may boost the nutrients you absorb from other foods. According to an older animal study published in the scientific journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vinegar appeared to help the intestines better absorb calcium; the same seems to be true for iron. "The helpful prebiotics in apple cider vinegar that feed our good bacteria allow us to absorb the vitamins and minerals from our food more easily," says Mercree. "This also helps our body function better and increases our overall health." The benefits don't stop here; check out the full list of amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Your risk for cancer could decrease
Although there isn't much research indicating that ACV may prevent cancer, some findings demonstrate potential anti-cancer benefits. For example, a 2014 study that assessed animal cells in a laboratory setting, reviewed acetic acid's (which is in apple cider vinegar) ability to kill cancer cells. Published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it concluded: "Acetic acid is a powerful anticancer agent. Topical application of acetic acid may be a feasible approach for the treatments of gastric cancer and possibly other malignancies." Of course, how ACV reacts in the human body may yield different results, illustrating the need for additional studies. "Apple cider vinegar is an alkalizing food that restores the alkaline/acid balance of our body," says Park. "This is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment."
You could be better protected against harmful bacteria
ACV has powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, says Park. She explains that it can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus in your digestive tract. This is important, she points out, because of associations between gut health and overall health. It's thought that the acetic acid in ACV may help kill pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, as well as harmful microbes and viruses. "Increasing stomach acid means the pH level of the stomach goes down, which helps kill any bad microbes that we may get exposed to through our foods," explains Laura C. Stix, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Canada. ACV's antibacterial properties may also banish acne on your face; check out some more surprising uses for apple cider vinegar that don't involve drinking it.
Your breath could smell better
Another nice benefit of ACV's antibacterial properties? It can help kill bad breath. While it certainly shouldn't serve as a replacement for your mouthwash, drinking it every day (or using it as a mouth rinse) can help keep your breath fresh. If you do decide to gargle with it, though, make sure to dilute it with water and wait at least a half-hour before brushing your teeth so that the acid won't wear down the enamel.
Your tooth enamel could weaken
No food is perfect, even apple cider vinegar. The acidity of ACV can put some wear and tear on your tooth enamel. "Large amounts of apple cider vinegar may cause dental erosion," Dr. Petre warns. "The acetic acid in vinegar may weaken dental enamel and lead to loss of minerals and tooth decay." However, this is no reason to say no to the stuff. Prevent tooth damage by diluting ACV; aim for one part vinegar to ten parts water. For ultimate teeth protection, sip the concoction through a straw rather than just drinking it.
- Dr. Luiza Petre, Board Certified Cardiologist and Weight Management specialist in New York and Connecticut.
- Rebecca Park, a registered nurse in New York City and founder of RemediesForMe.com
- Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine: "Diabetes Control: Is Vinegar a Promising Candidate to Help Achieve Targets?"
- Amy Leigh Mercree, a holistic health expert and the author of Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook.
- Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry: "Enhancing Effect of Dietary Vinegar on the Intestinal Absorption of Calcium in Ovariectomized Rats."
- Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology: "Acetic acid induces cell death: An in vitro study using normal rat gastric mucosal cell line and rat and human gastric cancer and mesothelioma cell lines."
- Laura C. Stix, ND, a naturopathic doctor and clinical hypnotherapist, Canada.