Apple Cider Vinegar: 9 Health Benefits & How to Use It

Apple cider vinegar is a fermented food that has great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. It can be used to treat acne, protect against heart disease and prevent premature aging. 

In addition, apple cider vinegar is also composed of pectin, a soluble fiber that decreases the absorption of carbohydrates in the bowels, helping control blood sugar spikes. Therefore, apple cider vinegar can also help with weight loss and managing diabetes.

This type of vinegar can be prepared at home or bought at supermarkets, and it can be easily included in your day-to-day diet.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 9 Health Benefits & How to Use It

The main benefits of using apple cider vinegar include:

1. Helping with weight loss

Apple cider vinegar has a lot of amino acids and polyphenol compounds that reduce the absorption of carbohydrates in the bowels. In addition, it is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that fills the stomach and boosts satiety while reducing hunger. 

Apple cider vinegar also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which prevents fat storage.

2. Treating reflux 

Even though it is an acidic food, apple cider vinegar helps balance the pH of the stomach, fighting reflux symptoms such as heartburn and bloating. 

3. Helping control diabetes

Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar helps control diabetes because it's composed of fibers that help decrease the absorption of carbohydrates, and consequently, help control blood sugar spikes after meals. 

In addition, some studies have reported that apple cider vinegar can also help improve insulin action and reduce the production of glucose in the liver, which also helps to control diabetes. For apple cider vinegar to have that effect, however, it needs to be part of a healthy, balanced diet, and medical treatment needs to be continued.

4. Improving digestion

Thanks to it's rich composition in fibers and acids, such as acetic acid and chlorogenic acid, apple cider vinegar greatly helps with food digestion. Therefore, apple cider vinegar can be used to help relieve digestive problems, protect the stomach, improve digestion and decrease bloating after eating. 

5. Protecting against cardiovascular diseases

Due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar is capable of preventing fat deposits in the walls of the arteries, and so it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.  

In addition, apple cider vinegar can also help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, as well as control blood pressure, which means it reduces the risk of having a stroke and a heart attack. 

6. Protecting the liver

Apple cider vinegar is rich in a veriety of acids, including gallic, lactic, malic, and citric acid, which act directly on the liver and improve its function. These acids also help to reduce fat storage in the liver, and consequently, prevent the development of fatty liver disease. 

Apple Cider Vinegar: 9 Health Benefits & How to Use It

7. Preventing yeast and bacterial infections

Some scientific studies show that apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties capable of decreasing the proliferation of some microorganisms that are naturally present in the body, but that can cause infections when present in higher concentration, such as Candida albicans, E. coli or Staphylococcus aureus. These yeasts and bacteria are linked to urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, and skin infections. 

8. Fighting aging signs 

The polyphenols present in apple cider vinegar have potent antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals, improving skin quality and slowing down aging. 

Apple Cider Vinegar: 9 Health Benefits & How to Use It

9. Treating acne

Apple cider vinegar is composed of acids, such as acetic, citric, lactic, and succinic, which have an antimicrobial effect against Cutibacterium acnes, the bacteria that isresponsible for causing skin acne. 

However, as it has a lot of acids, apple cider vinegar should not be applied directly to the skin as it can cause burning. The best way to use it topically is to make a solution with one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of water. Nevertheless, if you apply this apple cider vinegar solution to your face and you feel it burning, rinse it immediately and do not apply this solution again. This solution is also not appropriate for sensitive skin or for open wounds or sores. 

How to use apple cider vinegar

Some ways of benefiting from apple cider vinegar are: 

  1. Drinking an apple cider vinegar solution: you can dilute one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it 20 minutes before breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It's important that you wash your mouth with water after drinking, and, in order to prevent tooth enamel erosion, brush your teeth 30 minutes after drinking the apple cider solution;
  2. Adding it to your diet: you can easily add apple cider vinegar directly to your raw foods or salads;
  3. Topical application: you will need to dilute one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, and then dip a cotton disk into this solution and dab it on your skin, which needs to be clean and dry. Leave the solution on your skin for five to twenty seconds and then wash your face again. This helps heal inflamed acne and clear the pores. After cleaning your skin, pat it dry, apply a moisturizer with SPF and avoid going into the sun.

It's important to emphasize that in order to reap its benefits, apple cider vinegar must be part of a balanced and healthy diet. 

How to make apple cider vinegar at home

Apple Cider Vinegar: 9 Health Benefits & How to Use It

Apple cider vinegar must be made only with apples and a little water so that it's as natural as possible. 

It is recommended that you use two big apples, which you should wash, peel, and remove the core and pips from, in order to cut into small chunks. Then follow these steps:

  1. Place the apple chunks in a blender and add some water. The amount of water depends on the quantity of apple you use, but it is normally recommended that you add water until at least half of the apple chunks are covered;
  2. Blend until the apples are completely blended;
  3. Pour this mixture into a glass bottle, put a lid on and store it away from sunlight, at room temperature for 4 to 6 weeks. It's important to fill the bottle only until halfway for the fermentation to happen properly;
  4. After this time, place the mixture in a large recipient like a glass dish without a lid, cover with a clean cloth and leave in the sun for about three days.

After being in the sun for three days, the apple cider vinegar must be filtered and then placed in a dark bottle, before it can be used.

Possible side effects

When consumed in large amounts, and for a long period of time, apple cider vinegar can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting, throat ache, digestion problems, decrease of potassium in the blood, loss of bone mass, and osteoporosis, as well as damaging to the tooth enamel. 

Who should avoid using apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar must not be consumed by those who have apple cider vinegar allergies or people who are taking medication like Digoxin, or diuretics such as Furosemide or Hydrochlorothiazide, as they can reduce potassium levels in the blood and cause muscle weakness, cramps, paralysis, or heart arrhythmia.

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