All the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the easiest ways to include a healthy addition to your diet is through the use of apple cider vinegar which is produced during the apple cider fermentation process.
The process involves fermenting the sugar that’s naturally present in apples by adding yeast and/or bacteria to the cider and, over time, the cider turns into alcohol and then vinegar.
There are two types of apple cider vinegar
One is a clear vinegar and the other a cloudy vinegar.
The first has been filtered while the unfiltered version looks a lot darker and with a sedement which is called "mother" and often considered to be the healthiest part of apple cider vinegar. This is because it is made up of strains of friendly bacteria, helping to keep the digestive and immune systems working well which in turn helps the body to make the most of the food eaten and works to balance any bad bacteria.
Top benefits of apple cider vinegar
- Helping to improve digestion with its healthy, gut friendly bacteria. Apple cider vinegar helps neutralise stomach acid whilst the acetic acid fights harmful bacteria. At the same time, apple cider vinegar has also been shown to have antiviral, anti-yeast, and antifungal benefits to help support the microbiome and overall immune balance. It is also thought to help the liver flush out harmful toxins from the body, fortifying the overall health of the liver.
- Supporting the immune system by helping to prevent diseases and infections. Studies have found that healthy bacteria can help you recover more quickly.
- Conditioning the hair. If you have dry, brittle hair or an itchy scalp, adding apple cider vinegar to your usual hair care routine could be very helpful. The pH level of our scalp and hair is acidic at around 4.5 to 5.5 with research finding that high-alkaline shampoos can raise the pH level of the scalp and hair, leading to hair breakage and dryness. The acetic acid in the "mother" is thought to help lower the hair’s pH to combat that dry and frizzyness. Adding apple cider vinegar into your hair care routine as a hair mask or rinse will add shine and strength.
- Improving your skin and nail health. With its hydrating and cleansing properties, apple cider vinegar is used as a natural solution for healthier skin and nails. Use as a toner to balance skin pH. You can even use apple cider vinegar as a foot soak for rough, cracked heels.
- Lowering blood sugar levels. Studies have found that the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar can be helpful in keeping blood sugar levels in check when the acetic acid blocks those enzymes that help to digest starch, meaning blood sugar levels don’t fluctuate as much after eating starchy food, such as pasta or bread.
- Aiding weight loss with research finding that apple cider vinegar may be effective at helping people lose weight by slowing down the absorption of starches in food, making you feel fuller for longer and reducing the appetite.
- Improving heart health. The good news is that apple cider vinegar lowers triglycerides, which cause fatty plaque along your arteries to build up. Studies have found that there is a compound in apple cider vinegar called pectin, a type of fibre which can help neutralise bad cholesterol. Whilst there is no clear link between apple cider vinegar and blood pressure, supporting lower cholesterol levels and potentially helping with weight loss can all help with your blood pressure levels.
How to include apple cider vinegar in your diet and more
You can make a daily drink (before bedtime) by stirring two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water.
By using in place of salt to enhance the flavour of your usual meals.
As a salad dressing by whisking together extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey with lemon juice to trickle over crisp salad leaves - or by mixing apple cider vinegar with avocado oil, garlic and seasoning for a light salad dressing.
As a steam facial treatment to open your pores and clear impurities. Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a bowl of hot, boiled water. Cover your head with a towel and sit over the steam for up to fifteen minutes. Afterwards, splash your face with cool water and gently pat your skin dry.
As a cleansing hair rinse by mixing equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and water in a bottle. After washing your hair, pour on the mix, then rinse with water for softer, cleansed hair.
As a foot soak by adding one part vinegar and two parts warm water to your foot bath. Soak for ten to fifteen minutes for smooth, silky skin.
A word of warning
While it’s not a problem to consume apple cider vinegar every day, it’s important to drink it diluted to protect your teeth and skin from enamel corrosion and, in some instances, chemical burning - as well as digestive injuries and allergic reactions.