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The Surprising Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know that the global apple cider vinegar (ACV) market was valued at over A$930 million in 2023? Sure, it’s a versatile cooking ingredient and food preserver, but its popularity is due to its associated health benefits. Hippocrates of Ancient Greece — and healers of other ancient civilisations — is said to have used vinegar to treat wounds. Nowadays, ACV is a natural remedy for a number of health issues. In this blog, we will be looking at the surprising health benefits of ACV and how it can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

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Apple Cider Vinegar has many surprising health benefits

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits

As a nutritional supplement, ACV is said to provide many health benefits.

Digestive Health

Since ACV is a fermented product, it acts like a probiotic and can reduce symptoms like gas, diarrhoea, and bloating. It can also reduce inflammation and support a healthy gut biome. Apple cider vinegar with mother (the cloudy sediment in unfiltered, unpasteurised ACV) contains the most of these digestive aids.

Weight Management

Apple cider vinegar weight loss benefits come from the acetic acid found in ACV and other vinegars. Acetic acid can increase satiety, making people feel full for a longer period of time, by delaying the emptying of the stomach. It may also provide a boost to the body’s metabolism.

Apple Cider Vinegar  can increase satiety, making people feel full.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Acetic acid has been found to delay the metabolic process that converts carbohydrates into blood sugars. Taking ACV may also lower fasting blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it helpful for people who suffer from diabetes.

Heart Health

ACV, when taken regularly, may help improve heart health by lowering cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have suggested that ACV helps lower the total cholesterol levels in the blood — and may even affect the formation of lipid (fat) cells.

Antimicrobial Qualities

ACV exhibits antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Research has suggested that ACV can damage bacterial cell structures and impede the growth of some bacteria and fungi — including E. Coli and certain Staphylococcus and Candida strains.

Apple Cider Vinegar Versus Alternatives

One of the wonderful things about ACV is that it is a natural, and often an organic, option. While ACV can interact with some medications, the side effects of taking ACV in proper moderation tend to be milder and less dangerous than with artificially synthesised supplements and pharmaceutical alternatives. Many synthetic nutritional supplements — and even “natural” ones — contain drugs and other dangerous ingredients that are not listed on labels.  Australian researchers found substances, such as prescription and psychoactive drugs, steroids, lead, and arsenic, in dietary and herbal supplements. 

Because ACV has a variety of health benefits, it can be superior to single-purpose alternatives. Why take a handful of different pills to achieve the same effects as a spoonful of ACV? Of course, ACV is much more than a nutritional supplement.

Other Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

While ACV has nutritional benefits, it is also the focus of many home health remedies to treat things like sore throat, sunburn, minor skin irritations, and bad breath. Apart from improving health, ACV makes food more savoury and delicious — adding flavour to salad dressings, marinades, sauces, stews, and more. While other kinds of vinegar can serve as apple cider vinegar substitutes in a pinch, discerning palates will miss the milder acidity and depth of appley flavour found in ACV.

Fans of DIY beauty recipes will also recognise ACV as an effective astringent for the skin, hair conditioning agent, and finger/toenail brightener. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of ACV also help keep foot odour under control when used in a soaking solution. Those same properties also make ACV a popular natural cleaning agent and odour neutraliser in the home. ACV can also be used to trap fruit flies and repel fleas. It is also an effective, natural weed killer. 

Using Apple Cider Vinegar Safely

ACV, like any other vinegar, is highly acidic. This means that it can cause pain and/or discomfort if not used properly. In most cases, it is a simple matter of diluting the ACV and being mindful of the dosage. It is not recommended to apply undiluted ACV (or any other vinegar, for that matter) directly to the skin because it can cause irritation and burns. Instead, make a wet wrap (fabric soaked in a solution of 1 tbsp of ACV to 1 cup of warm water). If you have eczema and your doctor allows you to try ACV, do a patch test on a small area of skin and monitor. 

Here are a few more appropriate dosages of ACV for different functions:

  • Hair rinse: 2-4 tbsp of ACV to 2 cups of water. Apply to hair after washing and conditioning, then rinse it out after a few minutes.
  • Bath soak: 2 cups of ACV to your tub of bathwater.
  • General cleaner, deodorising spray, or flea repellent: 1/2 to 1 part ACV to 1 part water.
  • Mouthwash: 1 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water
  • Toothbrush/denture cleaning paste: 2 tbsp ACV and 2 tbsp baking soda to 1/2 cup of water. Mix well, then apply for about 30 minutes. Be sure to rinse the mixture off thoroughly.
  • Sore throat: Gargle with 1 to 2 tsp of ACV with warm salt water for up to 30 seconds. Do NOT swallow. Alternatively, you can drink it as a throat tonic — 1 tbsp ACV and 2 tbsp honey in a large mug of warm water.

Consuming ACV

You should not drink undiluted ACV because the high acidity can cause pain or irritation to your throat and digestive tract. And, in high amounts, it can cause erosion of the tooth enamel. If you do choose to drink ACV straight, use a straw. Here are some recommended dosages for nutrition-relatedACV consumption:

  • Reducing blood sugar and aiding digestion: Start with 1 tsp ACV in a glass of water before meals. You can gradually increase this amount to up to 2-4 tsp ACV if you don’t feel any digestive discomfort.
  • Improving hormones/PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)/menstrual symptoms: 1 tbsp ACV with 1/2 to 1 cup water immediately after dinner.
  • Weight loss: 1 to 2 tbsp ACV, mixed with water or food, per day for 3 months.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much ACV — on average, 1 to 2 tbsp a day total — to reap health benefits. You do not need to double up because you want to address more than one condition. The best way to incorporate ACV into your health routine is through consultation with your healthcare professional — especially if you have existing conditions or take medication.

Vive L’ACV!

The versatility and effectiveness of ACV in health and everyday life make it an excellent addition to any nutritional regimen. There are few things that are so natural, truly good for you, cost-effective, and so manageable. Whether you are trying to live a more healthy lifestyle, care for the environment, look better, orfeel better, it is easy to reap the many apple cider vinegar benefits. You will be surprised at how often you will be reaching for your ACV!