The apple cider vinegar stocked in your cupboard may play a starring role in your salad dressing, but it’s also enjoyed a long run as the basis of many health remedies. (The organic, unfiltered kind, that is.)
Apple cider vinegar’s strong suit is balancing pH levels, and creating a healthy, alkalized state when you eat or drink it—or use it a skin-care product. (You want to be more alkaline than acidic for a trillion health reasons, some experts say.) It’s also pretty renowned in natural-health circles for curbing digestive issues, spiking weight loss, promoting great skin, and banishing a handful of other pesky afflictions. And in the medical community, small research studies point to its promise for lessening symptoms of diabetes and obesity.
Wonder how it can help you? Here are 10 reasons to add apple cider vinegar to more than just your salad dressing.
Digestion and food poisoning
Vinegar contains malic acid, which can help common digestive issues like constipation or acid-reflux. And because it’s a trifecta of antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, a tablespoon or two in an eight ounce glass of water may even help with a case of food poisoning.
Many people swear by a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water with honey before bed, citing its sleep-inducing powers and that it promotes a more restful night’s sleep.
A 2007 study published in Diabetes Care, showed potential for apple cider vinegar as a tool to lower glucose levels. (Note that it can interfere with diabetes medication, if you are taking them. )
Its high levels of pectin can help regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol, showed a 2006 study done with rats.
Bones and teeth
Apple cider vinegar has the capacity to extract calcium from fruits, vegetables, and meat in your diet, thereby helping strengthen your bones and teeth.
High levels of potassium in the vinegar work like a clarifying tonic on the body, helping clear up sinus infections, candida, sore throats, and allergies. Some New Yorkers do a cleanse with it (and clean food) instead of juice.
It won’t replace eating well and exercise, but apple cider vinegar may help you feel full longer, and some natural-health experts say its enzymes and soluble fiber can aid in fat metabolism. A study done on mice showed that acetic acid (main component of the vinegar) slowed fat accumulation.
Summertime bug bites
It’s an antiseptic that can soothe bug bites and skin allergies almost instantly.
Beauty blemishes, burns, and bad hair days
When used as a toner, it helps curbs acne and blemishes with its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Add it to a bath for sunburn relief (about a cup) and rinse your hair with it for instant shine (a few tablespoons).
Originally published August 10, 2012; updated July 23, 2018.
Of course ACV isn’t the only vinegar out there. Here’s how apple cider vinegar compares to coconut vinegar. Plus, the two natural products Chloë Grace Moretz uses to treat her acne.
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