Ten Incredible Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is something that has been around for thousands of years, but one kind – apple cider vinegar – is receiving a lot of new attention. Apple cider vinegar is the product of fermenting apple cider and letting the fermentation process go for long enough that the alcohol is converted to vinegar.
Acetic acid, one of the components of apple cider vinegar, is known to have positive health benefits, and Apple cider vinegar has a long history of uses in folk medicine and homeopathic care, but scientists are beginning to take a hard look at Apple Cider Vinegar as well. Here are some conditions that apple cider vinegar is commonly thought to improve or benefit, with or without the verification of the scientific community.
1. Supports weight loss. Vinegar has been used for centuries in weight loss efforts, and preliminary research is beginning to look at why. Apple cider vinegar can be consumed alone or with bread to make the feeling of fullness last longer, which is a big part of not overeating and, therefore, losing weight.
2. Helps maintain normal blood sugar. This is one of the most exciting and most promising health benefits of apple cider vinegar, and it specifically benefits patients with diabetes. A few different studies have demonstrated that taking apple cider vinegar leads to an improved blood sugar level. One study in particular clearly demonstrated that apple cider vinegar, when taken at night, leads to a lower blood sugar level in the morning for Type II diabetes patients when compared to those who don’t take ACV.
3. Lowers cholesterol. A recent study done on lab rats showed that a diet that regular includes apple cider vinegar promoted better cholesterol numbers. Another study shows similar results, with rats who were fed a steady diet of acetic acid (one of the substances in ACV) showing significantly improved cholesterol numbers compared to those that didn’t have the special diet. This particular benefit still requires a lot more research, but the initial results could indicate a promising future.
4. Fights cancer. Researchers are beginning to study the effects that vinegar has on cancer, both preventing cancer from occurring and fighting cancer that already exists. Preliminary research shows that apple cider vinegar might be instrumental in fighting esophageal cancer, and more research is needed to understand the “why” behind those findings, as well as the possible effects on other types of cancer.
5. Reduces high blood pressure. Preliminary studies and observations indicate that people who regularly consume vinegar have lower blood pressure and healthier hearts. Some studies have begun to examine the link between vinegar and blood pressure, and those preliminary studies (done in the lab) do show a link, but much more research is necessary before a hard scientific conclusion can be made.
6. Get acne under control. Some people advocate using apple cider vinegar as a topical spot treatment for acne. Dilute the vinegar in a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar and apply it topically to blemishes as needed. The dilution is recommended because undiluted vinegar can sometimes cause burns or other painful reactions on the skin. (Some folks will also recommend the same treatment for age spots and cellulite)
7. Beat dandruff. Home remedy lovers have long recommended mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and soaking the hair and particularly the scalp to treat dandruff. To try it, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz it all over the hair and scalp. Wrap a towel around your head and let the mixture soak for 15 minutes or so, up to an hour. Then rinse it out – don’t use shampoo or conditioner – and enjoy your silky-smooth, flake-free hair.
8. Improve digestion. Apple cider vinegar is great for all sorts of digestive issues. Take ACV before eating protein-rich foods like meat and nuts if those foods trip you up. And apple cider vinegar is also a known treatment for both diarrhea and constipation, depending on what ails you. Take a tablespoon of ACV diluted in a glass of water, three times a day, until the problem clears up. Properties of the vinegar will soothe and calm an irritated bowel lining that has seen a little too much action, and the pectin in the vinegar will soften things up and get a plugged-up system moving again.
9. Avoid post-workout exhaustion. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water or vegetable juice and drink it after finishing a workout. The ACV will neutralize the lactic acid that has built up in your system, which could otherwise lead to fatigue. Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium and helpful enzymes that will help to keep the pep in your post-workout step.
10. Turns down heartburn. While this has not been studied in a medical setting, apple cider vinegar has long been recommended as a heartburn remedy, though the cause for its effectiveness is not known. I personally can attest that taking a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar provides almost immediate relief of my heartburn; while I don’t know that taking ACV will clear every person’s heartburn every time, it may be worth a try next time you’re dealing with the problem.
Apple cider vinegar is no miracle elixir, but it does pack a powerful punch. There are some pointers to keep in mind as you consider adding ACV to your diet, though. The risks associated with taking apple cider vinegar over a long period of time are not known, though it’s possible that a steady dose of ACV might contribute to osteoporosis. Be sure to do your research and talk to your doctor before starting an apple cider vinegar regime.
That said, if you get the green light and decide to go for it, don’t necessarily go for the cheapest bottle you can find. You’ll get the biggest benefits from raw, organic apple cider, and one of the more popular, commonly found brands is Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. This really is one of those “you get what you pay for” products, so do yourself a favor from the outset and get some of the good stuff.
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