Apple cider vinegar, commonly used in dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes and more, has a surprising number of health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is made from the fermented the juice of pressed apples. The unpasteurized, organic versions of apple cider vinegar contain a stringy, cobweb-like substance in the middle that is referred to as the “mother” of vinegar. This “mother” contains helpful bacteria, also known as probiotics. Apple cider vinegar is high in potassium, and its other unique chemical properties can help with a variety of health problems.
1. Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar has long been considered a weight loss tool. Some believe it leads to the feeling of being more full after meals, and can aid in the absorption of nutrients during meals.
One study did show that vinegar seemed to help some obese people lose a few extra pounds during the course of the study. Researchers hypothesized that perhaps the vinegar activated certain genes that help break down fats. (Remember, though, that the BEST tools for sustained weight loss are a healthy diet and regular exercise!)
2. Improved Sugar Regulation
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and lower insulin responses, all of which can be particularly important for those with Type 2 Diabetes. This works because apple cider vinegar partially blocks the digestion of starch, according to Carol Johnston, the director of Arizona State University’s nutrition program.
Johnson told WebMD that apple cider vinegar’s effects on blood sugar are comparable to certain medications. Remember, especially if you’re a diabetic, always consult your doctor before trying new methods of regulating your sugar. The best way to keep your blood sugar levels healthy is by eating a diet rich in organic whole foods, along with a good exercise regimen.
3. Better Digestion & Gut Health
The probiotics (or “good bacteria”) found in the “mother” of apple cider vinegar can aid in keeping the flora in your gut healthy (just like other forms of probiotics, such as yogurt and fermented vegetables do). Because of apple cider vinegar’s role in starch digestion, the starch that isn’t broken down in your stomach can also feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, Johnston notes.
4. Possible Heart Health Benefits
Some studies done in animals have shown that apple cider vinegar can have positive effects on cholesterol levels, breaking down the harmful types of cholesterol that can lead to heart disease. It also has a positive benefit on blood pressure. These studies have yet to be replicated in humans, though.
5. Antimicrobial Properties
Apple cider vinegar naturally breaks down some bacteria and fungi, which is why it has been used as a food preservative for so many years. Because of those same properties, some people have had success using apple cider vinegar to treat acne (fights the bacteria that cause breakouts), bad breath (fight bacteria that live in our mouths and make our breath smell bad), and body odor (breaks down bacteria that cause odors, such as under the arms).
6. pH balance
The acidity of apple cider vinegar can change the pH levels on your scalp, making it inhospitable to the conditions that cause dandruff. This can be a great alternative to using anti-dandruff shampoos that are full of harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrance.
Remember to Consult Your Doctor
Remember, any type of vinegar is highly acidic and could be potentially dangerous if used in excess, either ingested or used topically. The level of acidity may vary in different types of apple cider vinegar, and even from bottle to bottle of natural kinds. Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about using apple cider vinegar as a health treatment.