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The Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar Explained

Apples and apple cider vinegar on table.

We’ve all known the saying since we were in grade school: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. What this old adage means is that if you live a healthy lifestyle and make smart food choices, you can keep your body safe and healthy.

But I’ve always kind of wondered what if the saying was meant literally? As in, apples can really provide your body with so many vital nutrients. Or, for the sake of this article, apples in their fermented form – apple cider vinegar. Let’s take a closer look at ACV and the wide range of benefits it has to offer!

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Glass of apple cider vinegar surrounded by chopped apple.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

So, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that apple cider vinegar has something to do with apples. ACV is made from fermented apples, which means that bacteria and yeast are added to crushed apples. As apples ferment, acetic acid forms, which is the acid that you recognize as the sour taste of vinegar. This acid, together with the yeast, break away and form another substance that we call the “mother”.

You may have heard people referring to ACV as ‘apple cider vinegar with the mother’ or ‘apple cider vinegar without the mother’. Organic ACV is what we call ‘with the mother’; it’s cloudy (since the mother has been left in) and has amazing health benefits.

ACV ‘without the mother’ has had the mother removed – you’ll recognize it because of its clear consistency. Apple cider vinegar, once the mother has been formed, is alcoholic. However, if it’s left to ferment for longer, it becomes sour – and turns into vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Detox Explained

The subject of using apple cider vinegar for detoxing is pretty controversial, with plenty of naysayers claiming that the research is weak. Like many things, it’s true that further research has to be done to truly discover how ACV can help detox the body. However, the people who consume apple cider vinegar daily can attest to plenty benefits, including:

  • Higher levels of potassium
  • Healthy pH balance
  • Eased digestion
  • More good bacteria in the gut
  • Soothing for skin
  • Faster metabolism
  • Less infection (since it fights against bad bacteria)
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Lower cholesterol levels

Most ACV detox recipes call for 1-2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, together with water or other juices. However, most people add spices or sweeteners to just to make it more palatable. These detox drinks should be taken only once or twice daily – Usually first thing in the morning and later, before your evening meal.

Of course, only raw, unprocessed ACV should be used if you’re trying to access the detox benefits. Because apple cider vinegar is acidic, only drink it if it’s very diluted, and even then, it is preferable to use a straw. Be sure to brush your teeth with baking soda afterward so you won’t have to visit the dentist sooner than you’d like.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair Explained

Two bottles of apple cider vinegar.

Popular ACV Brands.

We all want lush, healthy, shiny hair – and, as such, most of us are searching for the magic ingredient to help us look our most beautiful selves and keep our hair at its best.

Adding an apple cider vinegar rinse to your shower routine can greatly enhance the quality of your hair. It’s not something that has to be done every day – you can do the rinse anywhere from once a week to once a month.

After you have washed out your shampoo, simply apply a solution of diluted ACV (about 2-4 tablespoons per 16 oz of water) and pour the mixture over your scalp, making sure it doesn’t get into your eyes.

It should run down the entire length of your hair and sit for 1-2 minutes before you wash it out. Depending on what type of hair you have and what issue you are targeting, you may have to adjust the amount of ACV you use.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Teeth Whitening Explained

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural teeth whitener, but the first thing I have to mention is that misuse can break down the tooth enamel (protective coat of your teeth).  Therefore, apple cider vinegar should be used sparingly on the teeth, and preferably diluted.

Either use a finger to gently rub cider vinegar over your teeth before rinsing your mouth out with water or gargle a solution of 1 part cider vinegar: 2 parts water, for a clean, white smile.

While you should brush your teeth after rinsing with ACV, it’s best to wait around a half an hour before doing so.  This is just a precaution so you don’t put pressure on your teeth after they have had an acidic substance on them. To see results, you’ll need to rinse with ACV for a few weeks until you notice brightening. If you’re planning to use it for a while, don’t forget about all the necessary precautions.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss Explained

There are lots of diets out there that claim to help you lose weight. Some work, some don’t, and some only work for certain people. But using apple cider vinegar doesn’t require you to eat ridiculously. Just a few teaspoons a day, with exercise and a balanced diet can help you to lose those extra pounds. It’s not a magic formula, but if you’re eating right and taking care of your body, ACV can encourage those few stubborn pounds that still want to stay, to leave.

Drinking ACV with your meal helps you stay full for longer – which prevents snacking later on. This is due to pectin, a starch that’s found in fruits, especially apples. If your meal involves carbs, the acetic acid in ACV helps to block digestion, which reduces the calorie intake and regulates blood sugar levels, so they don’t spike like they would without the yummy vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar also helps your digestive system along and keeps fat moving so it doesn’t spend too much time in your digestive tract. One of the most popular diets to utilize ACV is the keto diet, which has proven to be surprisingly effective.

To utilize apple cider vinegar for weight loss, mix two teaspoons with 8 ounces water, and drink before your meals (twice daily). You can also add honey to make the drink more palatable if you like. Again, since ACV is acidic, it’s recommended to always drink it through a straw to avoid contact with your teeth as much as possible.

Ways To Take Advantage Of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are other ways that you can take advantage of apple cider vinegar, some of which you may have heard of, and some which you probably haven’t.

  • Use in a salad dressing for a creative flavor
  • Soothe a sore/upset stomach
  • A mixture of ACV + water + essential oil makes a great multi-purpose cleaner
  • Fight off bad breath – mix ½ a tablespoon into one cup water, and gargle for ten seconds
  • Get rid of embarrassing hiccups by drinking 1 TBSP
  • Kill weeds that are damaging your garden
  • Clear your sinuses from a bad cold

I started using Apple Cider Vinegar: Here’s What Happened

Girl with blonde hair.

Time to Consider ACV for My Hair.

Truthfully, apple cider vinegar has never been a staple in my kitchen. Growing up, my mom never believed in using different kinds of vinegar; she only used your standard white vinegar – and I guess that mindset kind of rubbed off on me.

But I noticed both apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar in her pantry when I visited her recently. She told me that she had gotten a recipe from one of my sisters, who had insisted that she use the proper vinegar to enhance the flavors of different dishes.

I thought to myself, “Well, if Mom can use it, so can I!” I still have a phobia of using really abstract ingredients, but I can proudly say that I have used apple cider vinegar in cooking, and it’s not the same as regular vinegar. Even if it isn’t something you’re used to using regularly, don’t be afraid to go a little out of your comfort zone – it’s worth it.

ACV is easily available; most supermarkets or grocery stores will stock it. Will I also use cider vinegar for my teeth and hair? Well, I definitely want whiter teeth, and my hair could use a boost too….so, after learning all about this incredible vinegar, I’m certainly not ruling it out! The key with ACV is to take it slow and see how your skin/ body reacts to it. Since it is acidic, it can cause irritation, and you may have to limit your use of ACV if you find yourself particularly sensitive.

Conclusion

It’s incredible how something as humble as apple cider vinegar can do so much for your body. I mean, sure, people are adding all kinds of things to their diets to help them lose weight and improve their appearance: spinach, kale, broccoli; but apple cider vinegar?! Truly, not enough is said about this ‘liquid gold’ with regards to what it can do for you. Like most things, too much can be dangerous or cause uncomfortable side effects – but in moderation, ACV has the power to greatly enhance both your internal health and your external beauty.

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