Can the kitchen cupboard beat the medicine cabinet for what ails you? Many health-savvy consumers are tapping into the therapeutic power of apple cider vinegar.
The straight scoop on this amber liquid: it has some healthy advantages but much remains unproven.
“Basically, there is a lot of anecdotal but little actual evidence of benefit,” said CHI Health family physician Carlos Prendes, Jr., MD. “That said, it is safe and won’t hurt anything to try.”
Some purported powers of ACV:
Weight loss – Apple cider vinegar is thought to turn on genes that break down fats. One limited study found a decline in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides after 12 weeks of drinking an apple cider vinegar concoction.
That’s just one study. Physicians caution that there may be some benefits, but don’t look to apple cider vinegar for quick or significant weight loss.
Blood sugar/diabetes – The anti-glycemic effect of apple cider vinegar is documented. It blocks the digestion of some starches, which prevents them from raising blood sugar levels. The gains are not enough, however, to significantly reduce blood sugar levels.
ACV fans should also proceed with caution because apple cider vinegar can worsen gastroparesis – slowing of stomach emptying that can occur with diabetes. Increased acid can also put a strain on a diabetic’s kidneys and bones.
Digestion – Constipation and heartburn symptoms can be reduced by apple cider vinegar’s ability to reduce the starches you digest and feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Sore throat/congestion/allergies – For a sore throat or to break up mucous and sinus congestion in those with allergies, try mixing 1 teaspoon of ACV, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 3 teaspoons of honey with a half-cup of water. High pH levels of ACV help break up mucus and its acidic, antiseptic and antibacterial properties help eliminate bacteria.
Skin – Some swear by apple cider vinegar for improving the skin’s complexion. Others use diluted ACV on a washcloth as an all-natural astringent that restores proper pH levels, absorbs excess oil and reduces fine lines.
Sunburn – Too much sun? A cup or two of ACV in a lukewarm bath can neutralize the burn by soothing the skin and restoring natural pH levels.
Hair – Revitalize your hair and balance pH levels by rinsing with a teaspoon of ACV mixed in a cup of water after shampooing and conditioning. The antimicrobial properties of ACV can also kill the bacteria and fungus which contributes to dandruff.
Tips for Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar: A little goes a long way.
- Use the right stuff! Raw apple cider vinegar isn’t the clear, amber liquid that dominates grocery shelves. Look for the raw version which has a murky, cob-web-like appearance and a “blob.” That’s the “mother,” or source of protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria.
- Dilute it! A reasonable amount is one to two teaspoons in a big glass of water once or twice a day. To improve the taste, add some honey or stevia.
- Don’t drink it straight! The acidity is bad for your tooth enamel and esophagus. To minimize acidic affects, drink it with a straw and rinse your mouth with water after finishing an apple cider vinegar concoction.
- Don’t drink too much! Side effects include delayed stomach emptying, nausea and indigestion, low potassium and bone loss, tooth enamel erosion, throat and skin burns and drug interactions.