It’s likely that you’ve been hearing about the wonders of this mysterious elixir for some time now. It’s also likely that you are slightly grossed out by the idea of drinking something whose primary descriptive word is vinegar.
But wait! Despite some people’s recommendations, you don’t need to down a shot of apple cider vinegar to feel its positive effects. In fact, it’s best consumed mixed into a “cocktail” or smoothie or mixed into your diet gradually throughout the day (think: salad dressings).
Anyhow, apple cider vinegar. This stuff is seriously good for you. It’s been linked to many wondrous health benefits, a few of which I will expound upon below. But first, let’s talk more about what this cidery vinegary business is.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV as I’ll call it) comes about through the fermentation of apples. Throughout this process, sugars within the apples are broken down by bacteria and yeast. The first stage of fermentation turns these sugars into alcohol. It is in the second stage that the alcohol becomes vinegar.
Not all apple cider vinegars are created equal. If you are not making your own, I recommend Bragg’s brand ACV. Bragg’s is unfiltered, raw, and organic. You want it unfiltered because the weird-looking particles that show up at the bottom of a bottle of unfiltered ACV are important! They are the live cultures and enzymes that are very important for the health benefits mentioned below. You want it raw because pasteurization kills these enzymes. And you want it organic because non-organic apples are one of the top crops for pesticide residue.
Good for Digestion
The key ingredient in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is apples, which are a great source of pectin. Pectin is essential for good digestion and encourages growth of good bacteria.
Alkalinizes the Body
This is important, y’all. You’ve maybe heard the hype about alkalinizing your body and how this is critical to health. Well, long story short, our bodies tend to be more acidic (overly so) because of our diets high in processed foods and other inflammation-causing eats. So for many of us, our goal is to make our bodies more alkaline, which in turn reduces inflammation, helps our digestion, and makes us healthier overall.
Contrary to popular belief, vinegar actually helps alkalinize the body. Vinegar is acidic outside of the body, but once in the digestive tract, it becomes alkaline (source).
Aids in Weight Loss
Regularly consuming ACV before meals can actually help manage weight. Carol Johnston, PhD, associate director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University and lead author of a recent study on ACV and weight loss explains,
“Acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, may interfere with the body’s ability to digest starch. If you’re interfering with the digestion of starch, less is being broken down into calories in the bloodstream. Over time, that might cause a subtle effect on weight” (source).
Helps Acid Reflux
Simply put, acid reflux is when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus and sometimes, unfortunately, it can go up into the throat or mouth. It is estimated that anywhere between 10-20 million people in the US suffer with acid reflux (source). If you are one of these people, or even if you aren’t but you’ve dealt with episodes of acid reflux or heartburn before, you know how debilitating it can be.
I’m fortunately not one of these 10-20 million, but I’ve definitely had times when I’ve eaten some things that aren’t so great for me and have had intense feelings of acid reflux. As I covered above, apple cider vinegar actually has an alkalinizing – or neutralizing – effect on the stomach, so taking some if and when you suffer acid reflux can tame the acid in your stomach. Just a couple of teaspoons to 8 oz of water can ease the pain in no time.
Again, this feels counterintuitive since we all associate vinegar with acid. Trust me, if taken properly (do some more research!), in moderation and with water and food (not on a completely empty stomach and also – no shots! I’ve heard of people taking ACV “shots” – aka a large amount at once all by itself – and this has never ended well for me) it can be quite healing for your body.
Mediates Candida & Yeast Infections
Candida is an overgrowth of yeast that is harmful to the body. The natural enzymes in ACV can help mediate this overgrowth that is also connected to yeast infections, sugar cravings, inflammation, nail fungus, fatigue, and many other health problems.
Home & Beauty Benefits:
When used as a conditioner for hair, ACV works wonders! Just mix a couple tablespoons in a bottle of water and rinse your hair with it at the end of your shower. It will balance the pH of your hair, thus helping close the pores and making your hair shinier and smoother. I’ve been using this for a while now and love the simplicity of it and how great it makes my hair feel.
With its natural antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar makes a great cleaning solution. Mix 1 part ACV to 2 parts water in a spray bottle or other container of your choice and you can pretty much clean the whole house with it!
This is a cheap, eco-friendly, safe, and effective way of cleaning your home.
Treat Acne & Cleanse Face
Simply mix 1 parts ACV to 4 parts water and apply to face, then rinse. Taking ACV internally also helps cleanse the body and regulate digestion and other issues as discussed above, which can in itself clear up acne.
I began using ACV in my own attempt to clear up acne. I can’t say it was all thanks to ACV, but my acne I’d suffered with for several years that no medications could get rid of was cleared up very quickly after beginning to take ACV in conjunction with other lifestyle changes.
Do you have any other benefits of apple cider vinegar that aren’t on this list?