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By Diane Small
I’d always heard that drinking apple cider vinegar was good for you, but frankly, the idea disgusted me. I mean, it’s like drinking acid, right? And despite the word ‘apple’ in there, I doubted it tasted anything like juice. In fact, according to the Jen Reviews health website, you must dilute the ACV if you want to drink it – otherwise, you’ll destroy your teeth. Adding a drop of honey or two certainly helps make this more palatable, she says. So I thought I’d give it a try.
And guess what? With a 1/4 vinegar to 3/4 water ratio, plus a bit of sweetener – I actually like drinking this! So it makes the apparent health benefits worth it.
Which health benefits, you may ask? We found 12 ways drinking Apple Cider Vinegar will boost your health, but beware: effects may be different for everyone. But after having drunk this for nearly every morning over the course of a month, I have noticed my skin is clearer, and I’m more energised. See how it works for you!
1. It cleans food when abroad
Research shows that washing fruit and veg in ACV can reduce Salmonella and other pathogens, including pesticides. When using a 1:1 mixture of lemon water and diluted vinegar, researchers found that when cleaning a contaminated onion and some rocket leaves, the Salmonella was almost destroyed and the produce had less pesticide residue.
To try this at home, soak produce for 45mins in 1 litre of water and drop in 1/4 c of ACV and the juice of 1 lemon. Rinse and eat!
2. It gives you added nutrition
Apple cider vinegar contains minerals and vitamins, including:
- Calcium: 2% of daily value
- Phosphorus: 2% of daily value
- Iron: 3% of daily value
- Magnesium: 3% of daily value
- Potassium: 5% of daily value
- Manganese: 30% of daily value
The most vital thing here is the Dietary manganese, which is usually forgotten, but is still crucial to our bodily functions. It is responsible for bone production, helps control blood sugar and fights free radicals. In addition, manganese works for skin integrity. It plays a crucial role in creating collagen. So while ACV may or may not detox your body, it can still help give you healthy skin!
3. It helps unblock your nose
Living in the city means my nose is always stuffed up. No idea why. But apparently, apple cider vinegar can detox your body, and its potassium can break up mucus. The acetic acid should be able to bind to toxins and take them out too. I’ve not seen any scientific studies on this, but I know people personally who claim drinking apple cider vinegar has helped them clear sinuses and heal sore throats, too.
4. It gives you fresher breath
Bad breath can be caused by bacteria, so given the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar, it makes sense to think that swishing around some ACV can kill those microorganisms. And in theory, that’s the truth. However, experts note that the vinegar probably isn’t as effective as products specifically designed for fresh breath. Treat it more like a nice and convenient side effect!
In addition, swishing apple cider vinegar around in your mouth can erode the enamel on your teeth. (any claims that ACV can whiten your teeth are bogus.) To prevent this, consider drinking with a straw, and wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth afterward. This will protect your teeth while still giving you the benefits.
5. It can help protect against cancer
There are many causes and factors for cancer. There are just as many home remedies that can apparently help prevent it. Experts suggest ACV has beneficial systemic effects, with historical records, but these still need to be “rediscovered” by modern science. In a 2004 study, vinegar was found to have an antitumor effect. (The researchers note that rice vinegar had a more important effect than wine and apple vinegars though).
The fermentation process of ACV formed a neutral alpha-glycan content. This was able to decrease cancerous tumors in mice. Again, it might have a different effect on actual humans. But it’s still a good start! Another study also showed that consuming vinegar led to decreased esophageal cancer. The bottom line is that it seems apple cider vinegar may be able to slow or stop cancer growth. But it’s definitely not the magic cure for something as dangerous as cancer.
6. It improves energy
Athletes drink all sorts of concoctions for optimal performance. One of them is pickle juice. A group of young men who were electronically stimulated to cramp were able to stop cramping faster if they drank pickle juice, thanks to the vinegar content of the juice.
This is probably because vinegar contains potassium. This is one of the seven essential minerals for your body. It is responsible for giving you an energy boost. It also helps fine tune muscle control and sense of touch. Without enough potassium, you get muscle twitches and cramps.
In another study on rats, acetic acid boosts glycogen repletion in skeletal muscles. This means the acid helps your muscles turn carbs into energy. And this will definitely give you more fuel for your workout routine.
7. It improves digestion
You’ve probably heard all about probiotics – the live microorganisms that help with digestion and destroy harmful bacteria. We know them from yogurt and other products, such as skin creams. Well, guess what? There are five types of probiotics in apple cider vinegar. They may or may not still be alive when you drink your cup of vinegar though. Fortunately, there’s another part of the “mother” of ACV (that gunk at the bottom of the bottle): prebiotics. Prebiotics, as opposed to probiotics, are a special form of fiber. They nourish the friendly bacteria (probiotics) that are already in laying in your gut.
Pectin, the prebiotic, is also what slows absorption of glucose. There have been studies that show pectin binds to cholesterol, causing less of it to be absorbed. Most benefits from ACV are thanks to prebiotics. So make sure you shake your bottle of ACV well and scoop out the gunk at the bottom!
8. It lowers the body’s pH
I know what you’re thinking: vinegars, by definition, are pretty acidic. In fact, in the USA, you’re not allowed to label something as vinegar unless the acidity level is at least 4 percent. But unlike other vinegars, ACV has an alkalizing effect.
Though acidic, ACV promotes an alkaline environment inside your body due to how ACV is broken down and digested – it’s quite similar to how lemon juice actually de-acidifies your body.. Many viruses and bacteria are unable to live in an alkaline environment, and if your body is too acidic, it takes calcium in an attempt to become alkaline. This leeching of calcium can lead to loss of bone density and osteoporosis.
Many people enjoy better health after switching to a more alkalizing diet. It’s definitely worth a try!
9. It can help cure heartburn
People who have acid reflux know how uncomfortable this can be. It’s a condition where the muscle at the entrance of the stomach fails to close properly or at the right time, allowing acid to escape and go up the esophagus, causing a burning pain called heartburn. If you experience this more than twice per month, you may have acid reflux disease. It’s also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD).
Despite what you may think, various acidic drinks have been noted to prevent heartburn. Other than ACV, lemon water is also included. Why? Because when diluted with water, there’s an alkalizing effect.
But with ACV, the effects depend on the cause of your heartburn-like symptoms:
- Stomach ulcers or esophagus lesions: Vinegar will only make things worse
- Something you ate: Adding a bit of acetic acid will help neutralize the acid
As a precaution, make sure you ask your doctor first before adding cider vinegar to your diet if you have heartburn!
10. It can lower your heart attack risk
Cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death in most developed countries.
There are multiple factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Some are genetic or environmentally-induced. Some biological factors though, may be decreased with the help of ACV.
In one study, rats were fed a high cholesterol diet. The group that also had acetic acid in their diet had much lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In case you don’t know, triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can increase risk for heart disease.
In addition to acetic acid, ACV may also contain chlorogenic acid, which stops LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing, shown by various studies. The oxidation of LDL particles crucial in developing heart disease.
Add this to the fact that acetic acid can lower blood pressure, it sounds pretty good! However, most experiments were done on lab rats. The only human evidence comes from Harvard, where a study proved that women who ate oil and vinegar salad dressing had a lower risk for heart disease than those who had no dressing.
The evidence is promising, but not concrete as of yet. Although, it might be beneficial to add some vinegar salad dressing!
11. It keeps the flab away
The acetic acid in vinegar works against enzymes in your stomach that digests starch. This may stop you from absorbing the calories from the carbs. And this can probably help with weight loss. A handful of studies support this claim. But no one knows yet how effective ACV is because there haven’t been enough research done; yet there is evidence that ACV can make you feel fuller.
For example, in one study, white bread was served with 3 levels of vinegar. The higher the level of acetic acid in the vinegar, the more full the participants felt. They also had lower blood glucose and insulin levels. This can help you eat 200 to 275 fewer calories that day!
12. It keeps blood sugar levels constant
Acetic acid is a major component of ACV, and it’s often used for medical purposes. Pharmaceutical versions of acetic acid is used to ear canal conditions and others. Some research suggests it helps control blood pressure and unclog arteries.
For example, one Japanese study looked at the effects of acetic acid and dietary vinegar on rats with hypertension (high blood pressure). Both were able to significantly reduce blood sugar. The researchers concluded that acetic acid is the reason for the effect by vinegar.