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Health benefits of apple cider vinegar

by Nancy Maneely

Apple cider vinegar is one of those ancient foods which is experiencing a huge wave of popularity due to its purported natural health benefits. In fact, there is strong evidence that some of these health benefits are very real. Others … not so much. In any case, there is no doubt apple cider vinegar is a worthwhile product to keep on hand in the kitchen (and maybe also the bathroom) cabinet.

Vinegar is a fermented food that is a concentrated little package of amino acids, vitamins and mineral salts. It has a long tradition of use as a folk remedy, said to accomplish wonders that range from soothing jellyfish stings to curing cancer.  Apple cider vinegar is the result of apples being fermented into hard cider, than a second fermentation process is added. It is this two-step process which is believed to create the extra acids and enzymes responsible for the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. 

Some recent studies have shown some intriguing medical uses for apple cider vinegar. They include:

  • Weight loss: The enzymes in vinegar can help detoxify the body, give you a natural energy boost, and help you feel full when dieting.
  • Blood glucose: Several studies have shown vinegar can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Cholesterol: Animal studies have indicated vinegar could help lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Blood pressure: Observational studies show that people who regularly eat vinegar on salads tend to have lower blood pressure.
  • Cancer: There is some evidence that vinegar can slow the growth of cancer cells.

These studies are promising, but preliminary. Meanwhile, apple cider vinegar may be a great addition to your diet, but it’s probably not advisable to invest it with “magic bullet” properties.

Most of us have consumed apple cider vinegar as a flavoring on salads. As a daily health regimen, you’ll need more than a few drops from a cruet. Many people take a couple of teaspoons daily, mixed with water. You can also buy supplements, usually in the form of 285 mg tablets. Be careful to drink water with it to avoid acid erosion of the esophagus and stomach.

If you have diabetes, you should check with your doctor before incorporating apple cider vinegar into your health routine. It contains chromium, which has the potential to interfere with insulin regulation.

Here are some of the most common household uses for apple cider vinegar:

  • It has disinfectant properties and so can be useful as a cleaning agent.
  • It can soothe sunburn. Mix a few cups into a warm bath.
  • Some people swear it helps clear the complexion. It can set the pH level of the skin in balance, while its antiseptic properties help kill the bacteria that leads to acne.
  • Rinsing your mouth with it will help whiten teeth. Don’t go overboard, however. Any acidic substance can weaken tooth enamel when overused.
  • Adds a shine to your hair when used as a rinse after shampooing.

What is your favorite use for apple cider vinegar?

 

Sources:
WebMD: Apple Cider Vinegar
Natural Society: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

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