Vinegar obtained from fermentation of apple juice is known as apple cider vinegar. Though it has become immensely popular worldwide in the recent past owing to the persistent propaganda by advertisers of its various health benefits, but for centuries its uses were well-documented in folk medicines. A number of these beneficial uses of apple cider vinegar have been validated through scientific studies.
The unfiltered and unsweetened apple juice is known as apple cider. It is a non-alcoholic natural drink. Presence of fine particles in the unfiltered apple cider enhances its health benefits. Compared to the filtered apple cider, the unfiltered juice has a tangier taste. When left on its own for a certain length of time, yeast that normally lives on the apple skin ensues fermentation of apple cider, which is the first stage of making apple cider vinegar
Production of apple cider vinegar involves a two-stage fermentation process. In the first stage, apple cider is fermented. Yeast is added to the apple cider to convert the fruit sugar into alcohol. This step is known as yeast-fermentation. Though adding yeast is not essential for fermentation of apple juice, nevertheless, it is added to speed up the process. Apple cider vinegar is produced in the second stage when bacteria convert the alcohol into acetic acid. Acetic acid gives vinegar its distinct sharp smell and sour taste.
Types Of Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
The best quality apple cider vinegar is obtained from fresh organic apples. As chemicals and synthetic ingredients found in chemical fertilizers and pesticides are absent in the organically grown fruits, they are known to possess greater health benefits. Consuming products produced from organic fruits eliminates risk of harmful compounds entering your bloodstream. Furthermore, naturally grown fruits are considered superior to those that are genetically modified. Though organic apple cider vinegar carries a higher price tag than the non-organic product, nevertheless, given the added health benefits, it is worth spending money on the organic product.
2) Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
Pasteurization is the process of heating liquid up to a certain temperature to destroy the bacteria and other microorganisms present in it. Pasteurization increases the shelf-life and diminishes risk of bacteria-borne illnesses. There is a serious disadvantage of pasteurization. It kills all types of bacteria, including those that are good for health. Furthermore, it destroys a number of nutrients. By skipping the pasteurization process, manufacturers of high quality apple cider vinegar ensures that the product retains its natural health benefits. Quality unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is carefully stored to eliminate risk of contamination.
3) Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
The apple cider vinegar, which is best for health remedies, contains a substance known as ‘the mother’. It is a gelatinous matter that forms naturally in the last stage of fermentation. Rich in enzymes and beneficial live bacteria, ‘the mother’ gives the natural apple cider vinegar its cloudy appearance. It is the sediment that settles at the bottom of the bottle and floats on top of the liquid when you shake the bottle. Filtering apple cider vinegar separates the sediment from the liquid. The vinegar looks clear and clean, but it lacks a number of beneficial properties. Therefore, to enjoy the complete health benefits of apple cider vinegar, buy unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother of vinegar’.
4) Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is closest to the natural product. It had not gone through any chemical or artificial process. It is free from additives and artificial coloring and flavoring substances. In its natural form, apple cider vinegar contains all the important micronutrients.
Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Reduces Harmful Cholesterol
Ingesting apple cider vinegar diluted with water is known to lower the low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. While studying the effect of ingesting apple cider vinegar on the lipid profile of diabetic and normal rats, researchers found that apple cider vinegar caused significant reduction in the LDL cholesterol as well as the serum triglyceride levels. Moreover, it helped in increasing the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is good for health.
Blood Sugar Management
A number of studies support the beneficial role of apple cider vinegar in blood sugar management. A study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests combining carbohydrate foods with vinegar to lower the glycemic index (GI) of the meal, which helps in reducing spikes in the postprandial blood sugar level. Acetic acid present in vinegar delays the gastric emptying time that decreases the insulin demand of the body. In addition to lowering the blood sugar level after meals, a study has revealed the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in reducing the morning fasting blood sugar level in people with type 2 diabetes. In the study conducted by the researchers of the Arizona State University, participants who consumed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with an ounce of cheese at bedtime reported lower waking glucose concentration.
Apple cider vinegar can help in combating obesity. According to a Japanese study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, acetic acid, the key component of vinegar, is capable of suppressing fat accumulation. Daily vinegar intake seems to help in reducing visceral fat. It helps in decreasing waist circumference and total body weight. In addition, apple cider vinegar decreases risk of metabolic syndrome or health disorders associated with obesity such as hypertension, elevated LDL cholesterol and glucose intolerance. It is also known to improve the antioxidant defense mechanism of the body that diminishes obesity-induced oxidative stress.
Because of its antifungal activity, apple cider vinegar is considered effective in attenuating fungal infections. A study published in the Journal of Prosthodontics revealed the fungicidal effect of apple cider vinegar when used topically in patients suffering from denture stomatitis caused by overgrowth of the Candida yeast. Apart from killing the harmful yeasts, applying apple cider vinegar to the affected area inhibits the microbes from adhering to the surface.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Apple cider vinegar contains potassium. It is a vital mineral that the body needs to offset the harmful effect of excess sodium on the blood pressure level. Moreover, apple cider vinegar contains magnesium that assists in relaxation of the walls of the blood vessels.
Good For Skin
Loaded with micronutrients that are good for the skin, apple cider vinegar is one of the best natural skin care products. It is known for its antioxidant activity that minimizes risk of skin damage. When used topically apple cider vinegar assists in repairing the skin and restores its normal health. The natural acids and enzymes keep the skin clean and clear. It is also believed to promote circulation in the skin, thereby keeping the skin healthy and beautiful.
In home remedies, apple cider vinegar is widely recommended for alleviating heartburn and indigestion. It is believed to stimulate secretion of saliva and digestive enzymes, leading to better digestion, thereby providing relief from the common symptoms of poor digestion such as heartburn, burping, gas and stomach bloating.
Uses Of Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar provides a number of nutrients that ease weight loss. The unpasteurized, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar contains pectin fibers that occur naturally in apples. When ingested, they form a gelatinous substance in the stomach that suppresses appetite and makes you feel full fast. This satiety boosting effect of apple cider vinegar makes you eat less. Add two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. Sip the apple cider vinegar tonic before a meal. To improve the taste, combine a teaspoon of lemon juice with the mixture. For better result, drink this apple cider vinegar tonic several times a day. However, this is not a magic remedy for weight loss. To get rid of the unwanted body fats, combine the apple cider vinegar drink with a healthy diet that provides about 1200 calories per day and regular exercises.
2)Healthy Weight Gain
Apple cider vinegar drink is not only beneficial for the overweight. It also helps the underweight in healthy weight gain. People who are underweight are often found to suffer from deficiency of enzymes that assist absorption of carbohydrate, protein and fats. Apple cider vinegar contains the natural enzymes found in organic apples that aid digestion and assimilation. Prepare a drink by mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and equal amount of honey in a glass of distilled water. For better result, add two drops of natural iodine obtained from seaweed to the mixture. Drink this daily in the morning. Combine the apple cider vinegar drink with a healthy diet.
3) Detox Drinking
Accumulation of toxic substances in the body is responsible for a number of health disorders. It weakens the digestive system and slows down the metabolism. A morning detox drink with apple cider vinegar helps in flushing out the wastes. It is also known to kick start metabolism that helps in weight loss. To prepare the drink, you need a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add these to a glass of water. If desired, add some honey to enhance the taste.
4) Liver Cleanse
The liver is a vital detoxification organ of the body. It works hard to break down the toxic substances and eliminates them from the body. Prolonged exposure to these harmful compounds affects the liver and makes it sluggish. It increases risk of liver disorders. Apple cider vinegar and water tonic is good for the liver health. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with three tablespoons of water and drink it in the morning.
5) Heartburn Relief
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for heartburn. If you are susceptible to heartburn, incorporating apple cider vinegar in your diet helps in restoring the normal level of gastric juices in the stomach that improves digestion. It also seems to help in breaking down fatty foods. Before a meal or when you experience heartburn, mix one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water and drink it.
6) Acne Remedy
To diminish skin breakouts, include apple cider vinegar in your skin care regimen. The antimicrobial property of apple cider vinegar helps in killing the bacteria that cause acne. In addition, apple cider vinegar works as natural astringent. It dries up the excess oil. It is also known to restore the normal pH balance of the skin, thereby creating an unsuitable environment for the survival of the acne-causing bacteria. Combine a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two tablespoons of honey. Spread the mixture on clean face and let it sit on the skin for 20 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Apply this face pack thrice a week.
7) Alleviates Psoriasis Symptoms
In folk medicine, apple cider vinegar is recommended for reducing the itching and scaling associated with psoriasis flares. It can be taken internally and used topically for faster relief from the irritation. When ingested, apple cider vinegar supplies important nutrients and bolsters the body’s antioxidant mechanisms. It stimulates detoxification that helps eliminate toxins that are known to worsen the symptoms of psoriasis. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and drink the mixture daily. To use apple cider vinegar topically, combine ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with equal amount of water. Soak a clean soft cloth in the mixture and place it on the affected area. Never apply undiluted vinegar to the psoriasis patches. Avoid topical application when the skin is cracked or bleeding. It may worsen the irritation.
8) Skin Lightening
Apple cider vinegar is known for its skin lightening property. The skin that has darkened following breakouts or excess exposure to the sun can regain its natural tone with the help of vinegar. As apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, it should be diluted before use to avert unwanted side effects. When using apple cider vinegar for the first time, combine one part vinegar with eight parts water. As your skin becomes accustomed to the mixture, gradually increase the proportion of vinegar. Use a clean cotton ball to apply the solution all over your skin. Use this apple cider vinegar toner daily for better result. Usually, 2.5 oz apple cider vinegar is combined with 5.5 oz water to make toner for the normal skin. If your skin is oily, blend 4 oz apple cider vinegar with equal amount of filtered water. Another effective way to lighten the skin is to apply a face pack made by mixing apple cider vinegar with wheat flour twice a week.
9) Fades Dark Spots
Apple cider vinegar is considered an effective remedy for dark spots. The spots will not vanish overnight. Nevertheless, with consistent application, you will notice improvement in a short time. One of the best ways to use apple cider vinegar as spot remover is to mix it with onion juice. Onion juice is natural bleaching agent. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two teaspoons of onion juice. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and hold it on the dark spot for a few seconds. Allow the mixture to sit on the dark spot for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. To get rid of the unsightly spots from your face, you can even apply a mixture of apple cider vinegar and horseradish to the spot daily.
10) Soothes Sunburned
Excessive sun exposure damages and burns the skin. The irritation, burning and discomfort that you experience when your skin is sunburned can be reduced with the help of apple cider vinegar. The enzyme rich natural vinegar restores the balance of natural oils in the skin. It supplies vitamin C to the site of the burn that aids recovery. This helps in minimizing blistering and flaking of the sunburned area. The best way to take the sting out of the burn is to soak in apple cider vinegar bath. Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to a tub filled with water. Soak in the water and vinegar mixture for 30 minutes. Alternatively, mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with equal amount of cool water. Soak a soft towel in the mixture and place it over the sunburned area. Consuming a drink made by combining one tablespoon apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon aloe vera juice with a cup of water or orange juice thrice a day supports faster recovery. Spraying a mixture of apple cider vinegar and rose petals on the sunburned skin can also help in cooling and soothing the area. To prepare the herbal mixture, add ½ cup of chopped fresh rose petals and ¼ cup of freshly chopped elder flowers to a cup of apple cider vinegar.
11) Healthier Vagina
In folk remedies, apple cider vinegar is prescribed for keeping the vagina healthy. A mild acidic environment suppresses growth of harmful microorganism in the vagina. Apple cider vinegar douche helps maintain the natural environment. Mix ¼ cup of raw organic apple cider vinegar with a quart of distilled or purified water. Cleanse the area at least once a week with diluted apple cider vinegar. A study reported in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine suggests that apple cider vinegar douche can help in relieving vaginal Candida infection. For relief from Candida infection, take a sitz bath by blending apple cider vinegar and oatmeal for 10 to 15 minutes daily at least for three days continuously. However, there is no evidence of the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar douche or sitz birth in tightening the vagina.
12) Reduces Menstrual Problems
Taking apple cider vinegar drink daily is known to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding. It is believed to shorten period and provides relief from cramping. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with eight ounces of water and drink the mixture in the morning. However, in some cases, regular intake of the apple cider vinegar drink tends to delay onset of menstruation. To avert this problem, avoid the drink for three to four days prior to the expected menstruation date.
13) Healthy Hair
Apple cider vinegar is a classic ingredient for hair care. Rinsing the hair with diluted apple cider vinegar adds shine and luster to the tresses. It also helps in keeping the hair dandruff free. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water. Shampoo your hair as usual and use the diluted vinegar as the final rinse. Apple cider vinegar rinse helps in relieving lice infestation. To get rid of the lice eggs from the hair strands pour the vinegar on dry hair. Allow the hair to dry naturally. The vinegar dissolves the glue that attaches the eggs to the hair. Saturate hair with olive oil and wash hair thoroughly with shampoo to remove the dead eggs and lice.
14) Fights Body Odor
Because of its antimicrobial property, apple cider vinegar is used as natural disinfectant. When used topically, it forms an acid barrier that inhibits growth of bacteria that are responsible for producing foul smelling gas that causes body odor. Soaking in apple cider vinegar bath helps reduce body odor. Add one to two cups of the vinegar to the bathwater. Wiping the underarms with undiluted vinegar once a day helps reducing the offensive odor. Foot odor can be eliminated by soaking the feet in a mixture of one cup apple cider vinegar and a liter of water thrice a week.
15) Remedy For Leg Cramps
Low potassium level in the blood is one of the common causes of leg cramps. Potassium present in apple cider vinegar helps in increasing the potassium concentration in the blood that helps provide relief from leg cramps. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water and a tablespoon of honey and drink the mixture to ease the cramp.
16) Soothes Sore Throat
Apple cider vinegar tonic is a time-tested remedy for sore throat. Citric acid present in apple cider vinegar is known to strengthen the immune system, thereby helping in warding off the infection that causes a sore throat. Furthermore, the natural organic unfiltered vinegar is rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that provide nutritional support to the body and helps speed up the healing process. To take apple cider vinegar as a tonic, mix apple cider vinegar with equal amount of honey. Take a tablespoon of the mixture. Furthermore, gargling with the apple cider vinegar solution helps soothe the sore throat and kills the germs.
17) Relieves Sinus Infection
Sinus infection or sinusitis occurs following overgrowth of microorganisms in the sinus. It induces excessive mucus secretion that clogs the sinus, leading to headache and sinus pain and pressure. The immune-boosting property of apple cider vinegar makes it an effective remedy for sinusitis. Apart from taking it as tonic, inhaling the vapors produced by steaming hot apple cider vinegar solution helps in providing faster relief. Combine one cup of apple cider vinegar with four cups of hot water. Slowly inhale the vapors. This helps in thinning the mucus and clears the blocked sinus.
18) Eases Arthritis Pain
The stiffness and pain of the joints affected by arthritis can be eased with the help of apple cider vinegar. By improving the potassium concentration in the blood, it helps in diminishing accumulation of calcium crystals in the joints. Calcium buildup in the joints stiffens the joints and triggers pain. Furthermore, because of the presence of pectin, apple cider vinegar works as an effective detoxification agent. Removal of toxins from the body helps reduce arthritis pain.
19) Remedy For Wounds
Apple cider vinegar is one of the effective remedies for wounds. Acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps kill pseudomonas, the germ normally associated with wound infection. Washing the wound with apple cider vinegar helps in destroying the germs present in the site. This helps diminish risk of the wound becoming infected. This remedy works for open wounds as well as puncture wounds that entail higher risk of infection.
20) Removes Warts
Apple cider vinegar can also help in removing warts. Add half of a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water. Soak the affected area in this solution for about 20 minutes. Repeat this daily. This helps the wart to diminish in size. Alternatively, soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and place it over the wart and use an adhesive tape to hold the cotton in place. Leave it overnight and remove the next morning. (44)
Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Though apple cider vinegar is known for its benefits, improper use of this wonderful natural product can wreak havoc on your health. Undiluted apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. Consuming it can be harsh for your throat and digestive system. It may even burn your throat. To minimize the side effects of apple cider vinegar, it should be properly diluted with water according to direction before consumption. (45) Though apple cider vinegar is considered beneficial for acid reflux and indigestion, consistent ingestion of the acidic liquid may worsen these conditions. (46) Consuming large amounts of apple cider vinegar can cause electrolyte imbalance that increases risks of hypokalemia, hyperreninemia and osteoporosis. It can erode the dental enamel. Accidental inhalation of vinegar can cause respiratory distress. If you are taking medications for diabetes or cardiovascular problems, consult your physician before taking apple cider vinegar for managing these conditions. It may interact with certain drugs such as insulin, digoxin and diuretics.
Certain side effects may occur when taking apple cider vinegar for liver detoxification. The effects, known as detox symptoms include nausea, lightheadedness and headaches. However, these conditions last for a short time and are believed to be the sign of the toxins leaving the body.
Topical use of full strength apple cider vinegar may burn the skin. The irritation subsides and the affected area heals naturally after discontinuing the remedy. Therefore, caution should be exercised while using apple cider vinegar on skin. Too much vinegar should not be used for too long.