The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Written by: Tabitha Britt
Fact-Checked By: Dr. Tara Scott, OB-GYN
Embarking on a weight-loss journey can provide you with so much more than a newly-toned figure—it can offer a brand-new outlook on life, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight, focusing on how you feel instead of how many pounds you’ve lost is key. Why? Because losing weight shouldn’t be about the numbers on the scale or how you look in the mirror. Losing weight should be about gaining a positive mindset and attitude.
Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement tips and tricks to make achieving your goal weight a reality. If you do the research, there are a few ways to “hack the system” and make the challenge of losing weight easier. Take apple cider vinegar, for example.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight-Loss
If you Google “apple cider vinegar” the very first query that comes up may read something like “apple cider vinegar for weight loss recipe” or “apple cider vinegar diet.” This is because back in 2017-ish apple cider vinegar was said to be a magical, belly fat-melting elixir. So, of course, people went crazy for it. Even before that, like long before that, the famous poet Lord Bryon claimed that the vinegar and water diet worked wonders. (That was in the 1800s.)
While it’s not a quick-fix for weight loss, apple cider vinegar has been proven to increase fullness (which may prevent you from eating more during mealtime), lower your blood sugar, and reduce insulin levels. It’s also low in calories—sounds like a win-win to us.
Apple cider vinegar may have become trendy for its potential role in weight-loss, but this potent liquid offers a variety of other health benefits, as well.
4 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Despite its sour taste, gulping down one-to-two tablespoons of (diluted) apple cider vinegar in the morning could be beneficial to your health. It’s also super-affordable and can double as a non-toxic household cleaner. Whether you prefer to use it as a salad dressing or an all-natural deodorizer, here are four ways the use of apple cider vinegar could improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Drinking apple cider vinegar improves digestion.
If you’re feeling a bit queasy or bloated after eating, there may be something wrong with your digestive system. When it’s working correctly, your stomach creates acid to break down food and absorb its nutrients. If your stomach fails to produce this acid, you may experience digestive issues, including heartburn or bloating.
If your stomach isn’t making enough acid, it only makes sense to do what you can to increase your stomach’s acid production, right? Thanks to its acidic properties, apple cider vinegar does just that! This is why some people decide to drink apple cider vinegar before eating a protein-heavy meal.
“There are quite literally hundreds of benefits linked to drinking apple cider vinegar indicating that it provides both internal and external healing to the body,” says Carrie Lam, MD, and co-founder of the Lam Clinic. “The overall miracle of drinking apple cider vinegar is in the healthy microbiome it provides for digestion as well as its alkaline pH that keeps your body from becoming too acidic.”
To use apple cider vinegar as a digestive aid, Healthline suggests drinking one-to-two tablespoons (15-30 ml) with a glass of water immediately before eating.
If used correctly, apple cider vinegar doubles as an impromptu skincare product.
While there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to support many of the miracle-making claims made about apple cider vinegar, there is a bit of research that suggests it may work as a DIY skincare product. Here’s why: Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties and consists of acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid, which means this potent liquid has the potential to unclog blocked pores and exfoliate the skin, among other things.
But before you ransack your kitchen and pour a bottle of the stuff all over your face, there are a few things you should know. For example, apple cider vinegar should be diluted before you put it directly on your skin. If you don’t dilute it, you’ll be putting yourself at risk for dry, irritated, and in extreme conditions, chemically-burned skin. (You can thank the acetic acid for that!) You should also patch test it beforehand to prevent any adverse effects or reactions.
How to use apple cider vinegar for your face, according to Healthline:
- As a facewash: You can create an all-natural apple cider vinegar face wash by combining ¼ cup of warm water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- As a toner: If you’re interested in creating a DIY toner, wash your face with soap and water. Then, in a separate bowl or empty spitz bottle, combine one part apple cider vinegar and two parts purified water. This toner can then be applied to your face via a cotton ball, cotton pad, or using a spritz bottle.
- As a spot treatment: Tackle blemishes as soon as they appear with an apple cider vinegar spot treatment. To do this, dab a small amount of apple cider vinegar onto your blemish with a damp cotton swab or cotton ball.
When used in moderation, apple cider vinegar may make your hair appear shiny and smooth.
Although there’s more research to be done, some people claim that using an apple cider vinegar rinse may help improve the shine and smoothness of your hair. It’s also been known to work as a natural detangler. (Again, you cannot/should not douse pure apple cider vinegar on your hair without diluting it first.)
To use apple cider vinegar as a hair care product, mix one-part apple cider vinegar with one part water. Once you’ve shampooed your hair (with your normal shampoo), pour the mix into your hair, massage your scalp, and let it sit for a few minutes (five minutes is good!) before rinsing it out.
Apple cider vinegar may help lower your blood sugar levels.
According to Lam, one of the most popular reasons people drink apple cider vinegar is because of its correlation with diabetes and lowering blood sugar levels.
“Will it cure the disease? No. However, studies focused on pre-diabetics have shown results that many might say are ‘too good to be true,’” says Lam. “The test group who were pre-diabetic showed the most promising results. Similarly, the blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes, as well as in those who were insulin-resistant, were also slightly lower.”
That sounds pretty promising, right? If you’re interested in giving apple cider vinegar a try, Diabetes Strong recommends purchasing a product that’s raw and unfiltered. (You should be able to see this information on the packaging.) Remember to dilute it with another beverage, such as seltzer, water, or tea. Diabetes Strong also suggests taking no more than two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day.
Quick note: If you’re taking insulin or a diuretic (also known as water pills), your potassium levels may drop to dangerous levels. If you take these medications, you should definitely consult your doctor before implementing apple cider vinegar into your daily routine.
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