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The Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar Explained

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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.

The benefits and uses of ACV are numerous, and have been used for centuries! This vinegar might just now be trending, but it is by no means a new discovery. Whether you need a beauty fix, a health kick, or a clean room, this vinegar might just have you covered.  Let’s take a closer look at ACV and the wide range of benefits it has to offer.

Apple Cider Vinegar With Mother Explained

Apples and bottle of apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider

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, once the mother has been formed, is alcoholic. However, if it’s left to ferment for longer, it becomes sour – and turns into vinegar.

What Are The Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar?

One of the most popular vinegars in the natural health community, apple cider vinegar contains an abundance of benefits. It’s a powerful antibacterial agent that makes it useful both for your body and as a household cleaner! You can add it to your shampoo to ward off lice or dandruff, and you can also add it to your laundry for some extra clean freshness! That’s what I call versatile.

Additionally, apple cider vinegar possesses health benefits. For example, it can help to lower blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Studies show that vinegar helps to lower blood sugar after meals. It also benefits your heart health. Its most commonly used benefit is as a dandruff treatment -and for good reason, but we’ll get to that later in the article.

Now that we’re familiar with just a few of the benefits of apple cider vinegar, let’s take a deep dive into its uses!

Top 6 Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

1. Apple Cider Vinegar For Detox

Row of shot glasses filled with fruit juice.

Detox shots.

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 shots daily can attest to plenty of benefits, including:

  • Higher levels of potassium
  • Healthy pH balance
  • Eased digestion
  • Increase of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut
  • Soothing of 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 to 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.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar For Teeth Whitening

laughing

Woman with white teeth laughing.

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.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss

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 of 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.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar For Sore Throat

The ability for apple cider vinegar to soothe your sore throat is largely due to the fact that it contains antibacterial properties. The evidence that apple cider vinegar can help sore throats is admittedly thin on the ground, but regardless there are ACV remedies you can try to judge for yourself. One of the remedies that is probably the easiest to make when you’re feeling worse for wear is a mixture of ACV and honey. Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 2 tablespoons of honey in a mug of warm water. Honey is another powerful natural antibacterial agent that has been used as a healing elixir for centuries.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

Woman with hair in towel holding bottle of skin toner to face.

ACV for clear skin.

Once again the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar contribute to one of its most touted uses. Research reveals that ACV contains lactic, citric, and acetic acid which are all known to combat P. acnes (the bacteria which contributes to the development of acne). Additionally, some of the organic acids in ACV help to reduce the scarring and inflammation that persists after that acne itself has long gone. You can apply it by mixing 1 part ACV to 3 parts water. Place a little of the mixture on a cotton ball and apply it to your skin. Pat your face dry with a towel.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair

Close up of hair in braid.

Head of silky hair.

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 to 4 tablespoons per 16 ounces 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.

  • ACV helps balance pH levels in sebum
  • Removes residue left behind from other hair care products
  • Helps keep your hair knot-free
  • Smooths down cuticles, which results in shinier hair without the frizz
  • Prevents scalp issues like dandruff and hair loss
  • Gets rid of issues like split ends and/or breakage
  • Stimulates blood circulation to the hair follicles

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo?

Woman in shower washing brunette hair.

There are different types of apple cider vinegar shampoos on the market.

Apple cider vinegar shampoos are produced and sold as a hair care product. This product can be one of many things: it can be a standard kind of store-bought shampoo, with a pinch of apple cider vinegar thrown in for marketing purposes and nothing else. Alternatively, it can be a seriously pure and professional apple cider vinegar product which is meant to replace your ordinary shampoo and/or conditioner.

There are some products which are salon-grade (for lack of a better term) and which avoid many of the detergents, preservatives, and artificial fragrances, etc., which other shampoos possess. Simply put, an apple cider vinegar shampoo can act as a highly-functional antibacterial rinse, and it may be just what you are looking for.

The spectrum of usefulness and efficacy is wide since it depends entirely on the formula. There is also the option of concocting a DIY apple cider vinegar rinse, right in the comfort of your own home. Some choose to do this because it allows you to be in complete control of the ingredients and their amounts. You can develop a unique product that is tailored to that person’s scalp, hair type, and hair care routine. Don’t get me wrong, though. Some companies make great apple cider vinegar shampoos (wink, wink).

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 of 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

Apple Cider Vinegar Before & After

Woman holding her hair to the sides and laughing.

Healthy 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.

Apple Cider Vinegar Substitutes

Birds eye view of hands holding tea cups filled with tea.

ACV tea vs lemon tea.

Despite ACV’s versatile uses, not everyone is a vinegar fan. With this in mind, there are apple cider vinegar substitutes that you can try to reap the benefits without the vinegar. One of the most popular ACV substitutes is lemon juice. Similar to ACV, lemon juice has a low pH and is highly acidic. The fruity flavor and acidic quality make it a great alternative to ACV, and it also contains antibacterial effects! You can use it both in your beauty routine and as a household cleaning replacement. The uses are so similar, I doubt you’d know the difference!

Generally speaking, when it comes to natural solutions, there are even more natural alternatives. Taking the holistic approach means that you have to find solutions that work for you. Just because you don’t like one natural ingredient, or it simply doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something else out there for you to try. In fact, many of Mother Nature’s ingredients have many overlapping properties. It’s just a matter of trial and error until you find the solution that works the best for you in every possible way!

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.

I don’t think that there is any single magic ingredient that’s going to solve all your health woes, although there are numerous ingredients that will indeed try to convince you that they can. Nevertheless, ACV is one of the staple natural products in the house of many holistic health lovers. And the truth is that if it’s not for you, the substitutes are just as good!

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