Apple Cider Vinegar: Health Benefits, How To Use, And Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar is nothing but fermented apple juice along with acetic acid. Due to its strong smell and sour flavor, it is traditionally used for culinary purposes. However, due to its immense health benefits, it has long been used as a home remedy for various ailments like sore throats and minor colds. Of late, it is also been used as a weight-loss regimen, various skin conditions, and many such wellness issues. Today, we discuss in detail about apple cider vinegar, its benefits, ways to use as well as common side effects.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Health Benefits

It is believed that apple cider vinegar was used by the Greek in ancient times to heal wounds. Whereas Japanese scientists found that drinking apple cider vinegar helped find obesity. Let us explore more such health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Blood Sugar Management

Apple cider vinegar is considered as one of the natural ways to control blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is often recommended to those with diabetes, especially insulin-dependent diabetes.

Apparently, when apple cider vinegar is taken before a high-carb meal, it helps in slowing down the emptying of the stomach. Thus, preventing huge spikes in blood sugar levels. Apple cider vinegar also improves insulin sensitivity in the body. The insulin sensitivity helps the body move out more glucose from the bloodstreams, thereby resulting in low blood sugar levels. What’s even more interesting is that only a small amount of apple cider vinegar – approx 4 teaspoons per day before meals – is sufficient to achieve these benefits 1.

For Weight Loss

If you’ve been trying to lose weight for some time without much success, then apple cider vinegar is the silver lining in this gloomy picture of yours. Apple cider vinegar is known to increase the feeling of satiety and fullness for a long. Thus, reducing the chances of you overeating each day. In one particular study, the overweight participants drank 15 to 30 ml (-12 tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar daily for 3 months, with no lifestyle changes except alcohol restriction. At the end of 3 months, the participants had lost on average about 2.6 and 3.7 pounds (1.2 – 1.7 kgs).

It was also found that drinking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily for three months helped dieters lose twice the weight compared to those who did not consume apple cider vinegar at all 2.

PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition in women that is characterized by symptoms such as irregular periods, ovarian cysts, high levels of androgen hormones (male hormones), and insulin resistance.

In a three-month study, it was discovered that women who had PCOS and drank nearly 15 ml (one tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar with 100 ml water immediately after dinner each day showed improvement in their hormonal levels. They also experienced more regular menstrual cycles. Further research is required to confirm these results. But for now, 15 ml of apple cider vinegar seems to be a sufficient dosage to improve PCOS symptoms 3.

Improving Digestion

Most people prefer taking apple cider vinegar just before eating a protein-rich meal as it helps in digestion. The belief is that since the vinegar increases the stomach acidity, it results in your body creating more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein. However, more research is required in this regard 4.

Boosts Skin Health

Apple cider vinegar has been popularly used to treat some skin conditions like eczema and dry skin. Theoretically, it is believed that since the skin is naturally acidic in nature, applying apple cider vinegar topically could help in rebalancing the natural pH of the skin. Thus, improving the protective skin barrier. This is probably why some people dilute and use apple cider vinegar in a toner or face wash to prevent bacterial infections.

How To Use

Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in cooking. It can be used in marinating meats or soaking veggies for salads. It is also used in processes such as baking, cooking, and as a preservative. Sometimes, it is also sprinkled as a salad dressing to enhance the flavor.

Since apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature, it is therefore not recommended for direct consumption. If you wish to consume it for weight loss, make sure you dilute it in water and then drink it. For instance, if you are taking 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, then mix it in a glass of water (approx 100 ml).

On the other hand, if you want to add it as a salad dressing, then it should be mixed with oils such as olive oil.

You can also add apple cider vinegar to your tea. However, it shouldn’t be the regular milk tea as the acid in the vinegar can easily curdle the milk. Instead, add it to your black tea or even green tea, whatever works for you.

You can create a natural apple cider vinegar face wash by using 1 tablespoon of the vinegar mixed in ¼ cup warm water. Use this gentle liquid to wash your face and cleanse it of bacteria. To use it as a toner, add 2 parts purified water to 1 part apple cider vinegar. Apply this mixture to the face with a cotton pad after washing your face with a face wash 5.

Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar is considered to be relatively safe for consumption. However, it is not without some side effects though. Therefore, you need to practice caution when you start including it in your diet.

Due to its high level of acidity, drinking apple cider vinegar frequently can cause damage to your teeth. It can also hurt your throat or upset your stomach.

Although there have been some studies that vouch for the weight-loss effect of apple cider vinegar, those studies aren’t sufficient and more research is required.

Apple cider vinegar is believed to cause potassium levels in your body to drop too low. Potassium is an electrolyte and an essential mineral that helps the muscles to function, including cardiac muscles. Therefore, if you have any heart condition, it is better to check with your doctor about safe dosage levels of apple cider vinegar before consuming.

Apple cider vinegar might also affect the efficacy of certain types of medications. These medications include those for heart disease, diabetes, laxatives as well as diuretics (help the body in getting rid of salts and water).

While using apple cider vinegar topically, remember that the facial skin is quite delicate and sensitive. Thus, be cautious before using something so acidic in nature. If you experience an adverse reaction like rashes or redness, discontinue the use of apple cider vinegar immediately. Reach out to your dermatologist if need be.

Finally, its extremely acidic taste might not be palatable to everyone.

The Final Word

Apple cider vinegar has been found to be relatively safe for consumption with added benefits. While you can use it for various purposes, be mindful of the quantity you consume. Do not overdo it in your enthusiasm because it is not a definitive treatment for any condition. Also, if you happen to suffer from any serious health conditions, make sure you discuss this with your doctor before starting the consumption of apple cider vinegar. Like they say, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

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