Apple Cider Vinegar—or ACV as it's called today—proves to be much more than just a condiment. In fact, its reputation today as a "health fad" is something of a myth since people have been using it for healing purposes for centuries.
What is ACV and why is it effective?
ACV is a strong natural antibiotic (bacteria killer) made with a double fermentation process, which turns the apple juice into cider first, and then vinegar. This process turns the fruit juice acidic, which enhances the availability of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. This enhancement is what allows the resulting extra-potent liquid to have so many benefits.
Research shows that it is the high level of acidity that kills off harmful bacteria, protozoa, and many other viruses with regular use, and its high nutritional content that aids in healing.
What are the health benefits of ACV?
Let's look at some of the amazing nutritional and health-producing benefits found in this simple, inexpensive natural solution made from fermented apples...
Pro Tip: Use Unfiltered ACV and Honey Together
First things first: before discussing the benefits of ACV, it's important to understand what type of apple cider vinegar to use (and how to use it) to maximize benefits.
Why choose unfiltered ACV?
For optimal results, use unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Why? Let's break it down.
If you look at a glass of unfiltered apple cider vinegar that's been sitting for a while, you should notice cloudy sediment at the bottom of your glass. This sediment is where ACV gets its health-boosting goodness, as this sediment is packed full of nutrients (iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, amino acids) as well as antioxidants and trace amounts of minerals.
Filtering ACV removes this sediment, which means removing what makes apple cider vinegar so potent in the first place.
Why add honey?
Some research suggests that adding honey to ACV and water not only sweetens the drink but it equalizes the acid. In other words, it increases the healing power of the vinegar. It's all thanks to the nutrients contained in honey, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin B₅ (pantothenic acid), niacin, riboflavin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
For every tablespoon of AVC taken for health benefits, you may improve the taste and the nutritional value by adding one teaspoon of honey. A sweeter and more potent solution? Talk about a win-win situation!
How do people use ACV for health?
A popular way people use ACV? It may help the nearly one in three adults in the United States who struggle with hypertension...
1. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Nearly 78 million (1 in 3) adults in the United States struggle with high blood pressure, or hypertension. Left untreated, this condition can result in serious complications like heart disease.
While apple cider vinegar alone cannot treat high blood pressure, many claim it may help lower blood when used in conjunction with an overall healthy diet, exercise, and medications.
Why is ACV effective?
ACV is an excellent natural method for reducing blood pressure and improving heart health. Why, though?
With hypertension, many people's blood vessels constrict, meaning the heart has to work much harder to pump blood. Over time, this constant overuse can lead to heart problems.
Now, normally a kidney-produced, vasorestrictive (vein-restricting) protein called renin helps regulate blood pressure. Some people with high blood pressure may have elevated levels of renin, meaning there is more renin in their body than is necessary. The result? Extra constriction of blood vessels, which means high blood pressure.
In these cases, some believe that ACV can help lower and thereby balance renin (thanks to its concentration of acetic acid), in turn helping regulate hypertension.
How to Use ACV for Hypertension
Regular doses of ACV (two tablespoons daily) may relax vessels so that blood flows more freely. Remember, though: ACV alone cannot cure or treat hypertension. As is the case with any medical condition, it's always advised to run any dietary changes by a healthcare professional first.
ACV might not just be good for heart health, but digestive health as well...
2. Aids Digestion
Bloating, heartburn, and stomach pain after a meal are no fun. Unfortunately, millions of people every day deal with these issues. One way to fight these digestive woes? Apple cider vinegar.
How does ACV aid digestion?
Stomach acid is, well, acidic. This property is important, as it allows the stomach to properly break down food so the body can absorb the nutrients it needs to function.
How can ACV help this process?
Well, apple cider vinegar—an acidic solution—may increase stomach acidity. In turn, this acidity boost may encourage the body to create more of the enzyme (pepsin), which is needed to break down protein. Therefore, according to this theory, ACV may aid digestion when taken before a particularly protein-dense meal.
How to Use ACV for Digestion
To use ACV as a digestive tonic:
- Mix one tablespoon in one cup of water, with or without honey.
- Drink 15 minutes before or after consuming a protein-rich meal.
What about using ACV with other kinds of meals?
About 10.5% of the United States has diabetes. While this incurable condition may be debilitating, there are fortunately many ways to manage it. According to ACV advocates, adding a little apple cider vinegar to carb-heavy meals may help diabetics..
3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Improves Insulin Function
Experts estimate that over 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, a debilitating condition that messes with the body's ability to regulate blood sugar (glucose). Left untreated, diabetes can result in nerve damage, vision problems, and even death.
How can ACV help diabetics?
What is diabetes?
First things first; it pays to know a little about diabetes before you can understand how ACV can help the condition.
There are two primary kinds of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 means the pancreas produces little to no insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 means that the body cannot process glucose effectively because it doesn't use insulin properly. In both cases, diabetes means uncontrolled glucose (blood sugar) levels.
How does ACV help?
Limited research suggests that ACV can improve insulin sensitivity, which would suggest that the body can better use insulin to regulate glucose.
How to Use ACV for Blood Sugar Regulation and Insulin Function
ACV cannot cure diabetes; this condition is currently incurable. Instead, ACV can only work with proper diet, exercise, and medication—all under the direction of a licensed healthcare professional—to potentially help diabetics.
Now, that being said, some studies suggest that when two to five tablespoons of ACV are ingested on an empty stomach, it:
- Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19–34 percent and significantly lowers blood sugar and insulin responses.
- Reduces blood sugar by 34 percent after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- Before bedtime, may reduce fasting blood sugar in the morning by 4 percent.
Those who take insulin absolutely must avoid taking large amounts of ACV; in fact, they should absolutely clear any ACV use with a doctor beforehand. Why? Because taking insulin and ACV may drop potassium levels.
Is that all?
Of course not! Apple cider vinegar regulating blood sugar may not only help those with diabetes, but those struggling to shed a few pounds as well...
4. Aids Weight Loss
ACV can be a tremendous help for people who want to lose weight, according to limited research.
How does ACV aid weight loss?
Remember how we discussed that ACV may regulate blood sugar levels? This regulation may not be good just for diabetics, but people trying to lose weight as well. Why? Because fluctuating glucose levels can mean craving sugary calorie-laden snacks.
Therefore, ACV helping to stabilize blood sugar can mean reducing certain cravings, which makes it easier to stick to a diet plan.
How to Use ACV for Weight Loss
It's important to note that ACV will not magically shed fat. Rather, it only helps existing diets works by reducing cravings. Without these cravings, people are less likely to consume calorie-dense snacks and go over their daily calorie goals.
So, how much ACV may help someone stick to their diet plan?
Taking one tablespoon in water, with or without honey, before a meal.
How effective is ACV for weight loss?
One 12-week study examined people who took ACV during a low-calorie diet and compared their weight-loss results to those who took in the same number of calories without taking ACV. The result of this small study? Those who took ACV lost an average of 8.8 pounds. The control group? Just 5 pounds.
This same study also suggests that ACV is great not just for controlling weight but for controlling cholesterol as well...
5. Balances Cholesterol Levels
According to the CDC, more than 102 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol, a serious condition that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke (among other complications). Considering the severity of these complications, it pays to know how to manage cholesterol.
What's the deal with cholesterol?
There's a lot of misconception about what cholesterol is. Let's clear some of those misconceptions up.
What is cholesterol? Does it serve a purpose?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance you can find throughout the body's cells. Believe it or not, cholesterol actually serves a really important function! Specifically, it helps your body creates necessary substances like certain hormones.
So all cholesterol isn't bad?
Not at all. There are two primary types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Often known as "bad" cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Often considered "good" cholesterol.
LDL and HDL taken together is known as total cholesterol.
Having higher amounts of HDL than LDL is considered better than having higher amounts of LDL and lower amounts of HDL. Overall, though, it's best to have lower total cholesterol levels.
Can you only get cholesterol from food?
No! Your body can actually make its own cholesterol. In fact, your body makes all the cholesterol is needs to properly function.
How can ACV help manage cholesterol?
Remember that 12-week study that suggests that ACV can aid weight loss? The participants of this same study that took ACV also showed lower total cholesterol levels than the placebo group. But that's not all. The ACV group also showed an increase of HDL over this 12-week period, too.
As if fighting diabetes and cholesterol wasn't great enough, some research suggests that ACV can also fight cancer...
6. Fights and Prevents All Forms of Cancer
Many people have heard that antioxidants are great for fighting and preventing cancer. How exactly does that all work, though?
How does ACV help fight cancer?
Let's break everything down, bit by bit.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are toxic, highly reactive ions, atoms, or molecules. Unfortunately, high levels of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, a process that may damage DNA. Why does that matter? Because DNA damage can mean mutations that lead to unchecked cell growth (as seen with cancer).
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants fight free radicals by effectively stabilizing them, meaning oxidative stress is less likely to occur. Therefore, taking in antioxidants can help fight oxidative stress and, therefore, potentially cancer.
How does ACV fit into all of this?
Apple cider vinegar has a high concentration of polyphenols, which are antioxidants.
Many times you have to ingest ACV to get its benefits. However, you can ingest or apply ACV topically to reap the following benefits...
7. Fights Candida Yeast Infections
Nobody enjoys a yeast infection. Fortunately, research suggests that ACV may be effective in both preventing and treating this annoying condition.
What is Candida?
Candida is the technical term for a type of yeast that causes fungal infections; these kinds of infections are typically known as yeast infections.
Can only women get yeast infections?
No! Anyone can get yeast infections.
Can yeast infections only attack genitals?
No, yeast infections aren't just limited to the genital area; yeast infections can also occur in the mouth and on the skin and nails!
How can ACV fight yeast infections?
Yeast infections are fungal infections. That is, they are caused by fungus. Therefore, applying or otherwise taking antifungal treatments can fight these infections. One substance that has antifungal properties? You probably guessed it: apple cider vinegar.
What does the research say?
According to one laboratory study, undiluted or even mildly diluted ("watered down") ACV was able to prevent Candida growth in a petri dish.
How to Use ACV for Yeast Infections
Always consult with a healthcare professional before using home remedies to treat or prevent infections.
Treating Active Infections
There are two primary ways to use apple cider vinegar to combat exisiting infections.
- It is likely safe to use ACV topically (on the skin) for yeast infections.
- Ingesting 2 tablespoons of ACV a day may also help.
Preventing Future Infections
Prevention is the best cure. Did you know that certain foods (like those containing simple sugars or alcohol) can increase the risk of yeast infections? It's true. That means eating a balanced diet can reduce the risk of future yeast infections.
Taking 2 tablespoons of ACV per day—as part of a balanced, healthy diet—may help reduce the risk of recurrent infections.
One final way to use ACV to boost health?
The final way to use ACV on this list? It's coming right up...
8. Detoxifies Kidneys and Liver
The kidneys and liver are vital for detoxifying the body. Specifically, when these two organs function properly, they help keep the whole body clean of chemicals, preservatives, and harmful toxins.
How can ACV help this detox process?
The kidneys and liver typically work just fine on their own. However, ACV advocates claim that this solution can help these organs out from time to time.
The theory is that ACV binds to toxins, making them easier to wash out of the body. This process, the theory claims, thereby assists these organs. The result? Less harmful substances in the body, which helps improve help.
How to Make a Detox Using ACV
Here is a delicious, detoxing drink you can make (after first consulting with your doctor):
- Mix one cup of pure cranberry juice with one cup of water
- Add two to five teaspoons of ACV.
- Drink this mixture an hour before dinner.
Why pure cranberry juice?
Pure cranberry juice—not cranberry cocktail or frozen cranberry juice—contains active ingredients known as tannins. Importantly, tannins have antioxidant properties (specifically functioning as secondary antioxidants).
What's most important to remember about using apple cider vinegar to boost health?...
ACV to the Rescue?
Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, arguably remains matchless in terms of cost and tastiness as a natural healing agent. So, it's no wonder it's been a popular go-to remedy for many a condition for thousands of year.
What can't ACV do?
Limited research suggests ACV can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Fight bacterial and fungal infections
- Combat free radicals
- Aid weight loss
- Help balance glucose and cholesterol levels
- And more!
In short, research suggests that the active attributes of ACV may kill bacteria, protozoa, and viruses to support your system beautifully. And these benefits aren't found in practically any other single product.