Nine reasons to try apple cider vinegar
It may be a humble pantry item, but apple cider vinegar is being hailed as a health tonic with multiple benefits.
An apple (cider vinegar) a day, keeps the doctor away …
Apple cider vinegar may be seen by some as a standard pantry item, but many hail it as a health tonic with multiple benefits.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is essentially fermented apple converted into vinegar, giving it that acidic, sour flavour – an acquired taste, to say the least. While it’s customarily used in cooking to create salad dressings and marinades, its medicinal properties and uses are more extensive.
So what can apple cider vinegar do?
Here are some of the reported health benefits:
Reduces blood sugar levels
A study by Arizona State University found apple cider vinegar consumption may lower blood sugar levels and promote insulin protection, which is linked to weight loss and is especially good for those with diabetes.
ACV may increase bile production and liver support, which in turn supports the production of good cholesterol and the breakdown of bad cholesterol. The vinegar also contains pectin, a fibre that latches on to bad cholesterol in our system and helps eliminate it from the body.
Some claim ACV can have an alkalising effect on the body, despite being an acid.
“In spite of its acidity, apple cider vinegar is reputed to alkalise the body once it’s metabolised, (but) much controversy surrounds this,” says nutritionist Sue Walter. “On a practical level from what I see as a nutritionist, many people report different effects from its use.”
Improves gut health and detoxifies
In its raw, unfiltered state, ACV is a natural prebiotic that may aid digestion and help to maintain good bacteria in the gut. Acetic acid is a powerful ingredient within ACV, with its detoxifying properties helping to cleanse the body.
- Related story: The power of probiotics for gut health
Aids reflux and heartburn
By helping to balance pH levels, ACV may work as a natural antacid, reducing acid reflux and heartburn.
“If people want to enjoy apple cider vinegar, as part of, and enhancing an already healthy diet, then that is great,” says Sue. “Personally, I have it on my salad with cold pressed olive oil and I probably do go a little overboard with it when I have a sore throat or cold.”
TIP: Want the health benefits of ACV but can’t stomach the taste? Fear not, you can consume it in capsule form or add honey to help sweeten it up.
Other uses for apple cider vinegar
The uses of apple cider vinegar don’t stop at the pantry or medicine cabinet.
If your tresses are looking lacklustre and dull, an ACV hair rinse can inject some health (and shine) into your locks. Similarly to your gut, your hair’s pH levels can be thrown out of whack and ACV can aid in repairing and balancing the hair follicles. It can also help eliminate product build-up and dandruff and can add shine because it helps close hair cuticles, which helps to reflect light.
To create the rinse, simple mix two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered ACV with a cup of water. After using your shampoo and conditioner as normal, cover your hair in the solution, give it a few minutes to absorb, then rinse thoroughly. (Note: don’t worry about your hair smelling like vinegar. It goes away as soon as the hair is dried.)
With antibacterial and antiseptic properties, ACV can help with conditions such as acne or eczema. Just like it may help balance the pH levels in your gut or hair follicles, ACV may also balance your skin’s pH levels.
Making the toner is simple. Mix one part ACV with two parts water. The ratio of ACV can be adjusted based on your skin type (less for sensitive skin, more for oilier skin).
Those antibacterial properties sure are versatile. If you’d prefer to clean your house with a natural household cleaner instead of something packed with chemicals, consider apple cider vinegar. A 1:1 solution of ACV and water in a spray bottle can be spritzed on all kitchen surfaces. You can even use it as a cleaning agent in your dishwasher and as a deodoriser.
Apple cider vinegar has many celebrity fans, including:
- Victoria Beckham, who takes two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning.
- Katy Perry, who attributes her overall good health to long-term consumption of ACV and green smoothies.
- Miranda Kerr, who also uses it as a hair rinse to eliminate product build-up and to add shine.
- Megan Fox, who claims it makes a great natural de-bloater for those who suffer from PMS and fluid retention.
- Fergie and Hilary Duff are both known to have a dose in the morning as a metabolism and energy booster.
- Heidi Klum, who has said even a whiff of ACV can curb her cravings.
Written by Charlotte Brundrett