Table of Contents
- History of Vinegar
- Vinegar Health Benefits
- How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
- Health Benefits of Apples
- Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Promotes Shiny Hair
- Maintains Energy Levels
- Cancels out Carbs
- Helps You Lose Weight
- Cleans Fruits and Vegetables
- Controls Candida
- Alkalizes Your Body
- Balances Skin
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Helps Manage Smelly Feet
- Promotes Stronger Bones
- Alleviates Acid Reflux
- Improves Heart Health
- Detoxifies Your Home
- Gives Your Muscles More Energy
Apple cider vinegar is the most popular vinegar in the wellness industry because of its health benefits.
Looking in detail at the huge range of benefits and advantages provided by apple cider vinegar, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular choice.
A natural yet powerful remedy, WebMD states that apple cider vinegar can be used to treat certain conditions, beautify skin and hair, or to promote all round health within and outside your body.
But what are all the benefits of apple cider vinegar and what is the science and history behind this restorative tonic.
Read on for more details about apples, apple cider vinegar, acetic acid, and how they work together to promote better health.
History of Vinegar
The usage of vinegar as a health tonic is by no means a recent innovation.
The history of vinegar usage is as long as it is fascinating, with the origin of vinegar going back to ancient times.
The legend tells us that a court attendant made the first vinegar by accident when he left wine open for a while.
Hippocrates, one of the ancient forefathers of modern medicine, used vinegar to treat wounds medically in around 420 BC.
During the 10th century, Sung Tse, who is credited as the creator of forensic medicine, advocated for hand-washing with vinegar and sulfur to prevent infection during autopsies.
The history of vinegar is, no doubt, as diverse as it is long.
It is clear that vinegar was used as a health tonic even in ancient times.
Based on the evidence from a study published in 2006 by Nutrition Department Arizona State University, it is apparent that U.S. medical practitioners were using and prescribing vinegar in the late 18th century to treat a huge range of illnesses caused by and including poison ivy, croup, and stomach ache.
Before stronger anti-diabetic drugs were created, vinegar teas were often consumed by diabetics to help them manage the chronic dysfunction of their blood sugar levels.
Much recent research has focused on the potential of vinegar to be used for health purposes in a variety of different disease conditions and contexts.
Acetic acid is the formal, chemical name for the component in vinegar that gives it the characteristically sour taste and health benefits.
Acetic acid is a compound that gives a sour taste to vinegar as well as pickles and sourdough bread.
The Popular Science website tells us acetic acid is formed by the fermentation of ethanol (the scientific name for pure alcohol).
This means that, technically, any liquid that contains sugar can be fermented to alcohol and can thus be subsequently fermented to vinegar.
This explains the wide range of vinegar we have today.
Apple cider vinegar is formed from sugar sourced from apple juice, which is converted to alcoholic apple cider and, later, to vinegar.
Red wine vinegar is formed from sugar found in grape juice, which is converted to wine and then, subsequently, to vinegar.
For the chemical reaction that converts alcohol to vinegar to take place, oxygen from the air needs to be present, which is why opened bottles of wine that have been exposed to air can taste ‘vinegary’ after a while.
Vinegar Health Benefits
As we saw in the history of vinegar presented above, humans have used vinegar as a health tonic for thousands of years and for a huge range of medical conditions, but what health benefits does vinegar have for us in modern times
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A study in Japan revealed that the acetic acid in vinegar may help control blood pressure and fat accumulation.
Livestrong tells us that studies conducted in Europe revealed the effects that vinegar has on blood sugar levels after eating a meal.
And in the United States, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine are investigating a different hypothesis.
It has to do with whether the components and derivatives of vinegar are able to help in clearing the plaque which could potentially clog the heart and blood vessels, causing heart disease and heart attack.
Our centuries old humble vinegar has plenty of valuable health benefits.
There are already medications on the market today, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that contain acetic acid.
They are used to treat ear infections, bacterial vaginitis, head lice, and earwax impaction.
The anti-microbial and pH balancing effects of vinegar have been recommended by MayoClinic to treat a range of conditions.
For example, acetic acid drops can be used to treat ear infections, while diluted vinegar treats yeast infections, warts, nail fungus, and bacterial infections such as impetigo.
While it’s recommended you always seek medical advice before treating conditions with home remedies, it’s amazing to think that something we all have in our kitchen cupboards can be such a useful tool in fighting and treating certain diseases.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
Just like all other types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is made from an alcoholic liquid – apple cider, which itself is made from a sugar-containing liquid – apple juice.
Apples are crushed and the liquid juice is squeezed out of them.
Certain types of bacteria and yeast are then added to the apple juice to start the fermentation process where these yeasts and bacteria digest the sugar in the juice and turn it into alcohol.
Then the alcoholic cider is fermented again and in this second fermentation, the alcohol is turned into vinegar by special acetic acid forming bacteria (acetobacter, for short).
Acetic acid and malic acid are two acids in apple cider vinegar that give the vinegar its sour taste, and various health benefits.
You can even make your own apple cider vinegar, but the whole process from fresh apples to vinegar takes seven months!
Health Benefits of Apples
With apple cider vinegar being made from apples, it’s important to consider the benefits of apples on our health as well.
The insoluble dietary fiber content of an apple is removed during the process of producing apple cider vinegar.
However, some of the beneficial soluble fiber known as pectin may remain in the apple cider and, subsequently, the apple cider vinegar, especially if it’s not overly processed.
World’s Healthiest Foods site tells us that the healthy soluble fibers in apple can help to reduce the amount of fats in the blood, along with other phytonutrients and phytochemicals found in the fruit.
The whole fruit form of the apple is particularly beneficial at yielding this blood fat lowering result, which helps to protect your heart and blood vessels from cardiovascular disease.
The other phytonutrients in apples have also shown to be beneficial in lowering and controlling your blood sugar levels.
Apple polyphenols can help prevent harmful spikes in blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of carbohydrates from the foods you eat.
This is very beneficial for diabetics or pre-diabetics who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels and can help maintain energy levels and prevent overeating.
Whole apples are a healthy food that is fat free, low in calories, and rich in vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to function well and stay healthy.
Eating apples in the whole fruit form also helps us to feel full and can be a great healthy snack between meals.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Now we take a closer look at the many benefits of apple cider vinegar for our bodies both inside and out.
Promotes Shiny Hair
The use of apple cider vinegar as a hair tonic is extremely popular as it yields brilliant results for stronger, shinier, silkier, and, especially, hair that’s dyed or treated.
Many hair products commonly available on the market strip the hair and scalp of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle.
The hair follicle and the scalp have a natural pH of between 4 and 5, which is slightly acidic (a neutral pH is 7 and anything below this is acidic).
With apple cider vinegar also being a natural source of acetic acid, a dilute solution can match the pH of the hair, allowing you to cleanse your hair and scalp without upsetting the natural balance.
But that’s not all.
Acidic solutions, such as apple cider vinegar, help to seal the hair cuticle, which promotes smooth, healthy, tangle free hair.
The normal hair cuticle (or strand of hair) is a series of overlapping cells that look like roof shingles.
When the hair cuticle gets damaged due to excess hair treatment, hair dyes, or dryness, the shingle-like cells can “lift up”.
This makes your hair look and feel rough, dry and dull, while also exposing the innermost cells of the hair strand to further damage.
This usually results in damage, breakage and split ends, as well as unruly and unsightly hair.
The acidic quality of apple cider vinegar helps to seal the hair cuticle, which means these shingle like cells are smoothed down and protect the delicate inner hair cells.
This makes your hair stronger, shinier, and less prone to breakage.
To make an apple cider vinegar rinse for the hair, as recommended by InStyle, mix two tablespoons of raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in with one cup of plain water and put the mixture into a spray bottle.
After shampooing your hair in the shower, spray the apple cider vinegar thoroughly through your hair, being careful not to get any in your eyes (it will sting!)
Massage the healthful rinse into the hair and scalp and leave for a couple of minutes.
hen rinse your hair out and use conditioner if you want to.
After your hair dries, there will be no vinegar smell, so don’t worry if you smell it initially.
Perform this treatment once or twice a week for beautiful, shiny, strong hair.
Maintains Energy Levels
Apple cider vinegar helps you manage and balance your energy levels by controlling blood sugar levels, helping you maintain your energy in a controlled and even way.
Apple cider vinegar is believed to help control blood sugar levels by a few mechanisms, one of which is that it improves the uptake of blood sugar from the blood and delivers it into the body’s cells.
This means that less sugar or glucose is left hanging around in your bloodstream where it can do harm.
More sugar is delivered to the body’s cells where it is used as fuel for the body’s functions and provides energy to all the muscles, organs, and body systems.
Apple cider vinegar slows down the digestion of carbohydrates in the body.
As a result, the body has more time to “pull” the digested sugar out of your blood as the carbohydrates digest, making it less likely for blood sugar to spike to dangerous levels.
Not only does it help control blood sugar to provide a steady stream of energy, apple cider vinegar is also a source of potassium and enzymes.
They help decrease fatigue and increase energy levels.
The amino acids in apple cider vinegar help to prevent lactic acid buildup in the muscles which keep energy levels high.
These amino acids also contribute to forming the growth hormone, which helps with increasing energy levels, renewing the body’s cells, and assisting with weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar also helps to unlock and digest the iron in your food.
Iron is a vital mineral for maintaining healthy blood and, consequently, energy levels.
Cancels out Carbs
For all of us looking to cut down on carbs and work towards weight loss, apple cider vinegar can help.
It cancels out some of the carbs we eat and reduces the glycemic impact of these carbs on blood sugar levels.
When you eat any carbohydrate food like sugar, fruit, rice, or bread, this carbohydrate is broken down into its smallest digestible form – glucose.
It is then absorbed into the bloodstream to be transported around your body.
From the blood, the glucose is absorbed into body cells and used to provide energy to fuel your body’s function.
However, if you eat too much carbohydrate, an excess of glucose or “sugar” will enter the bloodstream and cause a huge range of problems.
Over time, these chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain and serious disorders such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Having a source of acetic acid such as apple cider vinegar with your carbohydrate meal helps to reduce the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels.
Taking 2 tablespoons of vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugar by 4%.
The mechanisms with which vinegar helps to control blood sugar are not completely clear and there are probably several ways this happens.
Firstly, vinegar improves the insulin response in your body, ensuring more glucose is absorbed into the cells and less stays in the blood.
Secondly, it is believed that vinegar interferes with your body’s absorption of carbohydrates, meaning it can “cancel carbs out” by preventing them from being digested.
This gives apple cider vinegar an edge when it comes to helping those suffering from diabetes, pre-diabetes, or struggling with weight loss because it may assist in making these conditions easier to manage.
Helps You Lose Weight
As mentioned above, apple cider vinegar can help manage your insulin and blood sugar levels, give you more energy, and cancel out carbs eaten; it can also help you with weight loss.
Several studies have certainly suggested that vinegar types like apple cider can help you in feeling fuller and eating less, which is, of course, a major factor contributing to weight management.
It has been shown that when vinegar is taken with a meal high in carbohydrates, it can increase satiety (feeling of fullness), resulting in a consumption of 200-275 less calories than without vinegar.
Another study has shown that daily vinegar consumption by obese individuals resulted in a loss of belly fat, lower blood fats, and reduced weight.
The amount lost increased as the amount of vinegar consumed was raised from one to two tablespoons a day.
Apple cider vinegar may help encourage your weight loss efforts and make it easier to eat less.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that it should be consumed as a supplement to a diet that is balanced and healthy overall.
Also, include some daily physical activity to assist your efforts and keep yourself feeling fit and in shape.
Cleans Fruits and Vegetables
While we’d all love to eat fresh organic produce all the time, the reality is that their cost and lack of availability often make it difficult to eat them frequently.
Even though we try to choose organic produce because it is free from pesticides and other chemicals, organic produce can be tainted with harmful bacteria and toxins such as E.Coli.
Fortunately, apple cider vinegar provides the perfect solution for this problem.
It is a gentle, natural, but also highly effective cleanser that is safe for food.
It has anti-microbial and cleaning properties that can easily remove any dangerous germs or chemicals from our fruits and vegetables.
A recent study revealed, with scientific accuracy, the effectiveness of washing foods with vinegar in preventing bacterial food poisoning.
Researchers found that dilute vinegar combined with regular table salt and warm water will effectively remove all bacteria and toxins from fruits and vegetables.
This technique will also remove any remaining dirt or pesticide residue, ensuring you have the cleanest, safest, and freshest produce to eat.
Candida is an affliction that lurks in the background for many people, with recurrent yeast infections proving a real drain on health and energy levels over time.
While proper medical treatment of acute conditions is key, managing and preventing the recurrence of candida is of prime concern to those affected by it.
Apple cider vinegar can greatly support the body system in fighting candida by being naturally acidic.
Candida cannot grow in acidic environments, so use of apple cider vinegar topically on the skin or taken internally as a tonic can help you control yeast levels.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal that contains enzymes, which can regulate the levels of candida in your body.
For all of its anti-candida benefits to be effective, it’s useful to take apple cider vinegar internally.
It may either be dissolved in water as a drink, or incorporated into food by being used in the cooking process or even as a salad dressing.
Fortunately, apple cider vinegar also makes a delicious addition to a meal.
For the best benefits, make sure to use an organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that still contains the beneficial minerals and micronutrients captured during its production.
Alkalizes Your Body
Although it might seem counterintuitive because it is acidic, when you take apple cider vinegar internally as a tonic, it actually has an alkaline effect on your body.
Our bodies function best when there is a slight alkaline pH balance in them; however, fast food, alcohol, and late nights can result in creating an acidic effect in the body.
Apple cider vinegar helps to restore the body’s most beneficial acid-alkaline pH balance.
It does so by producing a slight alkaline environment where the enzymes and chemical reactions that occur within the body can function properly.
Alkalizing the body ensures all the functions of the body proceed normally and smoothly, and harmful toxins and diseases are stopped in their tracks.
This ensures overall better health and optimal functioning of our bodies.
Apple cider vinegar is not only great in food and when taken internally.
It’s also beneficial when it works externally, whether it’s to balance the hair cuticle and scalp for stronger and healthier hair, or in helping to smooth skin, correct blemishes, and balance the skin back to its natural pH.
Apple cider vinegar can work wonders on your face and body as a toner and correct imperfections.
The surface of the skin is naturally acidic at a pH of 5.5, but harsh soaps, chemicals, and cosmetics can upset this balance causing breakouts, skin dullness, and inflammation.
The natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial effect of apple cider vinegar helps to remove bacteria, dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells from your skin.
Meanwhile, the acidity of the apple cider vinegar helps to contribute to replenishing the natural pH of the skin.
Apple cider vinegar heals acne, purifies skin tone, and tightens pores.
It’s important to use a natural, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to derive the most benefits from a minimally-processed product.
It’s also good to run the idea past your dermatologist or skin specialist because some sensitive or dry skin types might not be able to handle the acidity of apple cider vinegar.
Dilute the apple cider vinegar more if you do have more sensitive skin.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition affecting thousands of people and can increase the risk of serious complications from heart diseases like heart attack.
While medical help is necessary to properly manage high blood pressure, reducing weight, eating healthy food, and exercising also plays an important role.
Apple cider vinegar can help reach these goals by decreasing the absorption of carbs, which can help prevent excess fat storage, and by providing the body with more energy for activity and exercise.
Japanese researchers have also discovered direct evidence that apple cider vinegar lowers blood pressure in rats, but are yet to conduct the same sort of test on human subjects.
In the meantime, the use of apple cider vinegar to assist with high blood pressure looks very promising.
Apple cider vinegar may help reduce the danger of high blood pressure.
It does so by creating an alkaline environment in the body while free radicals and damage to the blood vessels are brought under control.
Risk of major cardiac events is also reduced.
Apple cider vinegar can help to break down fat deposits that clog the arteries of the heart and put a greater strain on the body.
This break down process aids better circulation and lowers the pressure that the blood flow exerts against the blood vessel walls as the arteries become cleaner and more elastic.
Helps Manage Smelly Feet
The anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of apple cider vinegar make it useful for a huge range of applications, some of which are even quite unexpected.
This use of apple cider vinegar falls into that category, as few would expect it to be an effective deodorant for smelly feet.
The fact is that apple cider vinegar can help to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria that make feet smell bad; apple cider can also help to dry up the sweat that the bacteria thrive in.
To make your own foot-deodorizing wipes, pour one cup of apple cider vinegar over baby wipes or thick single-use paper towel.
If you soak these towels overnight and store them in the fridge, you can then use them as needed after washing or at the end of the day, or even after you’ve worked up a sweat while exercising.
You can also use it as a foot soak by dissolving 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in a quart of lukewarm water and soaking the feet in the water for 20 minutes up to twice a week.
Promotes Stronger Bones
The alkalizing power of apple cider vinegar has widespread health benefits for your body, one of these being the help of maintaining calcium balance in the bones, which preserves their strength and integrity.
When the body’s pH is imbalanced, calcium can leach out of the bones and into the bloodstream; this can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia (bone weakening).
In time, these conditions can lead to a hunched back and an increased risk of bone fracture.
Apple cider vinegar also contains substantial amounts of important micronutrients necessary for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, which help to provide structure and strength to your bones.
To obtain the benefits of apple cider vinegar, mix it with plenty of water and drink as a warm or cool beverage, or use in food as a marinade, salad dressing, or sauce.
Alleviates Acid Reflux
It’s strange to think of taking a highly acidic substance such as apple cider vinegar and using it to treat a condition that involves excess acid such as acid reflux.
Depending on the cause of your acid reflux, drinking a dilute solution of apple cider vinegar may help to buffer the acid content in the stomach, which can help to prevent and relieve heartburn.
Apple cider vinegar also contains enzymes and is naturally anti-microbial, which helps to kill harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines that can cause heartburn and digestive difficulties.
While using acidic substances like vinegar to treat acid reflux and heartburn is still in an experimental stage and results can’t be predicted for all users, it can be useful to give apple cider vinegar a try for treating your acid reflux condition.
It’s recommended to intake 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of water before eating or drinking and to avoid eating large meals to test the effects on your individual case of acid reflux.
Improves Heart Health
It is clear that apple cider can have widespread systemic beneficial effects throughout the body by alkalizing it and working against harmful yeasts, bacteria, and viruses that can cause disease and dysfunction in the body.
As previously discussed, apple cider vinegar can assist in lowering and managing blood sugar levels, decreasing blood fats and triglycerides, reducing blood pressure, and managing weight.
All these factors combined suggest that apple cider vinegar helps to promote a healthy heart and blood vessel systems and reduce risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Emerging evidence has shown that apple cider vinegar is capable of lowering cholesterol as a 2006 study confirmed that the acetic acid in vinegar lowered bad cholesterol in rats.
Another Japanese study showed that half an ounce of apple cider vinegar lowered cholesterol in humans.
Although more research is needed in the field of apple cider vinegar’s effect on heart health, it certainly seems like a promising natural treatment for a healthy heart.
Detoxifies Your Home
Not only is apple cider vinegar great for your body, but it’s great for your home, too.
No one can deny that our environment affects our health and this is important within the home more than anywhere.
Apple cider vinegar is a highly effective, natural, and gentle cleaner for the home because it is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and an efficient disinfectant.
Apple cider vinegar can cut through grease, remove lime scale buildup, and repel pests such as moths and weevils.
Apple cider vinegar is also non-toxic and safe to use on many surfaces.
There are many applications of apple cider vinegar for the home.
It can be used as a drain, floor, worktop and cutting board, window, and bathroom cleaner, odor remover, and fabric conditioner.
As mentioned before, apple cider vinegar is an effective and safe cleaner for fruits, vegetables, and meats and can remove odors of garlic, onion, and other foods from the hands and cooking surfaces.
Using a small amount of apple cider vinegar diluted in water is usually an effective treatment for safe and natural cleaning in the home.
Gives Your Muscles More Energy
Everyone would like to meet their daily physical demands with more energy and vigor; this is even more important for athletes or gym junkies who prioritize having their muscles in peak condition.
Acetic acid, the active compound in apple cider vinegar, can help ease muscle aches and pains when applied topically to the skin.
Apple cider vinegar mixed with water can also serve as an energy drink since it helps glucose (blood sugar), the body’s major source of fuel, to be absorbed into the muscles.
Apple cider vinegar is an extremely useful and powerful vinegar for health; it is safe, natural, and effective to be used both internally and externally on the body.
Apple cider has beneficial effects on blood sugar, body weight, and heart health.
Due to its anti-microbial and alkalizing properties, apple cider should be taken in a small amount of approximately 1 tablespoon dissolved in water everyday for optimum health and well-being.