Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been hailed as a popular home remedy for various ailments. Made from fermented apple juice, ACV contains several important nutrients, including:
- Vitamins B and C
- Amino acids
Though there are no clinical studies to support the many health claims, anecdotal evidence suggests that the acetic acid in ACV may be able to help lower inflammation, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and regulate blood sugar.
Here are 12 ways to use ACV to boost your health.
12 ways to use apple cider vinegar
1. Improve digestion
As a fermented product, ACV acts like a probiotic and can improve digestive health, reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea) and lowering inflammation in the gut. ACV also helps break down foods in your digestive tract.
You can start taking ACV by adding 1 teaspoon to a glass of water every day. If the flavor is overly acidic, add a little honey to balance it out. Alternatively, you can make a drink with 12 oz water, 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of raw honey, and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Combine all the ingredients in a jar, have a straw on the top, shake, and drink throughout the day for better digestion.
2. Aid weight loss
Though there has not been much research specifically on ACV and weight loss, there have been studies on the effects of acetic acid on appetite. Researchers have found that acetic acid delays stomach emptying, making you feel full for longer and therefore aiding weight loss.
You can add 2 tablespoons ACV to 16 ounces of water and sip it throughout the day. Some people like to add lemon juice, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper as well.
3. Regulate blood sugar levels
ACV may help manage blood sugar levels. According to some studies, the acetic acid in ACV delays the metabolism of carbs to sugar in the blood. This aids in blood sugar regulation, especially after ingesting a carb-rich meal. Furthermore, studies report that consuming ACV before bed may lower fasting blood glucose levels in the morning.
You can try adding 1 teaspoon of ACV to a glass of water and drink it half an hour before meals or right before bedtime, gradually increasing the amount to 3-4 teaspoons.
4. Soothe a sore throat
Most bacteria cannot thrive in an acidic environment, so drinking diluted apple cider vinegar can help stop an infection in its tracks. Furthermore, it helps break down mucus, clear sinus cavities, and promote lymphatic drainage, which can help you get over a cold or flu faster.
To soothe a sore throat, gargle a mixture of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup warm water once every hour.
5. Boost immunity
The vitamins and antioxidants in ACV have anti-inflammatory properties that can help accelerate healing and boost the immune system. ACV also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that aid in the removal of toxic substances from the body.
In 250 mL of warm water, combine 2 tablespoons of ACV, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ tablespoon of honey, and ½ tablespoon of unsweetened lemon and ginger juice. Drink this solution every morning to enhance your immune system.
6. Treat warts
The acetic acid in ACV can destroy bacteria and viruses on contact. Apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy to treat warts, causing them to fall off.
To try this remedy, combine 1 part ACV to 2 parts water and soak a cotton ball in the solution. Apply the cotton ball to your warts, cover, and tape it in place, leaving it on overnight. Repeat each night until the wart comes off.
7. Combat athlete’s foot
ACV can be used to treat fungal infections due to its antifungal properties.
You can make a foot bath with ACV by combining some ACV with warm water and soaking for 10-20 minutes a day. You can also make an antifungal balm by combining ACV and raw honey, dabbing the mixture on the affected area, and leaving it on for 10-20 minutes before rinsing off.
8. Ease night leg cramps
Leg cramps at night are often a sign of a potassium deficiency. Since apple cider vinegar is high in potassium, drinking a few tablespoons a day can help ease symptoms.
Try combining 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water and drinking it every day.
9. Manage PCOS symptoms
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that causes irregular menstrual periods, high levels of androgen hormones, ovarian cysts, and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that ACV may help regulate hormones and menstrual cycles, thereby relieving PCOD/S symptoms.
Add 1 tablespoon (15mL) of ACV to 150 mL of water a day and drink after dinner for best results.
10. Improve cardiovascular health
High blood cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for heart disease. Studies have suggested that daily consumption of apple cider vinegar can help lower these risk factors and therefore protect heart health.
To add ACV to your diet, try adding a tablespoon of organic ACV, 1 tablespoon of olive or rice bran oil, and a teaspoon of salt to your salads.
11. Fight acne
ACV has antibacterial properties that can help skin health when applied topically, helping keep skin free of acne-causing bacteria.
However, it is important to dilute ACV before applying it to your skin. You can try mixing 2 tablespoons of ACV, 1 tablespoon of rosewater, and 2-3 drops of essential oil to 250 mL of warm water before applying the solution to trouble spots.
12. Boost hair health
ACV has been used to treat frizz and promote shiny hair by smoothing and then closing the hair cuticle.
Make a mixture of ACV and water and rinse your hair with the solution. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing and following up with shampoo and conditioner.
What are the risks of using too much ACV?
Drinking undiluted ACV can be dangerous because it is a strong acid that can damage the esophagus and lead to tooth erosion. It can also cause nausea and other gastrointestinal problems due to the high acid content.
May lead to bone loss
Excessive intake of ACV has been linked to low potassium levels and osteoporosis. Doctors suspect that unusually high ACV consumption can cause minerals to leach from bones to buffer the acidity of the blood. In rare cases, low potassium due to ACV intake may result in abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Can cause skin irritation
ACV should never be applied directly to your skin without being diluted first. Using straight ACV on the skin can cause irritation and chemical burns. If you are unclear about how you will respond to ACV, talk to your dermatologist.
May interact with certain drugs
Because apple cider vinegar can delay stomach emptying or cause gastroparesis, it can cause serious problems if you take certain medications that must travel through the body and be absorbed within a set timeframe. If you are on diuretics, insulin, blood pressure medicine, or laxatives, you should exercise extra caution. This is especially problematic for patients with type I and type II diabetes because gastroparesis can make blood sugar management difficult.
May worsen acid reflux
Anyone suffering from acid reflux should avoid eating anything too acidic. This includes ACV, which has an acidity rating of 2-3 on a scale of 0-7 (0 being the most acidic). ACV increases gastric acid production. If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, extra stomach acid can aggravate symptoms.
How can I safely consume ACV?
The key to using ACV for your health is to exercise caution and consume it in moderation. Proper dosage can vary according to age, body weight, and overall health.
It is best to start slowly and consume ACV with a meal to reduce the risk of side effects. Here are recommended dosages of apple cider vinegar by age group:
- 6 to 10 years: 1/5 teaspoon (20 drops or 1 mL)
- 10 to 15 years: ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL)
- 15 to 20 years: ½ to 1 teaspoon
- 20 years or older (male): 1 to 4 teaspoons
- 20 years or older (female): 1 to 2 teaspoons
- Older than 60 years: Less than 2 teaspoons
If you are interested in taking apple cider vinegar for health reasons, talk to your doctor to make sure it is right for you.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Apple Cider Vinegar. https://www.webmd.com/diet/apple-cider-vinegar-and-your-health
Exploring the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/exploring-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/
Is apple cider vinegar really a wonder food? https://medicalsciences.med.unsw.edu.au/news-events/2017/11/apple-cider-vinegar-really-wonder-food
Should You Be Using Apple Cider Vinegar? https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/krnc/monthly-blog/should-you-be-using-apple-cider-vinegar/
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