Listing all the health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar would be a next to impossible chore.
It’s one of the most respected natural health tonics in the world and has been so for hundreds of years.
Apple cider vinegar is for treating acne, as a cold remedy, a treatment for dandruff, to sooth muscle cramps, and for everything in between but, in many cases, there is no scientific proof that it works.
In recent years, apple cider vinegar has been receiving an increased amount of interest due to the claims made for it in relation to weight loss.
Obesity is a growing problem all over the world and many people are desperate to get back in shape.
The popularity of apple cider vinegar has also increased because many celebrities admit to using it every day.
The actress Scarlett Johanson applies it to her skin, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas adds it to her tea, and pop-pinup Katy Perry makes no secret of the fact that she’s been taking it since she was a child.
Did you know – in Roman times, soldiers would ask to be paid part of their wages in apple cider vinegar.
How Apple Cider Differs from Cider
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples.
The fermentation process is the same as that used for brewing cider, but the two finished products have very different tastes and properties because apple cider vinegar undergoes a second fermentation process that apple cider does not.
During the first fermentation, chopped apples are combined with sugar and water and the resulting mixture is stored at room temperature until the sugar ferments into alcohol.
This process generally takes one to two weeks.
When bubbles begin to appear in the mixture it indicates the fermentation process is underway.
The second step is to strain the beverage and leave it to ferment at room temperature for a further three to four weeks.
During this time, the alcohol is converted to vinegar and the longer the mixture sits, the more acidic the vinegar will become.
While the bacteria and acetic acid are fermenting to form the vinegar, a colony of probiotic bacteria form at the top of the container and create a foam.
This is named the “mother culture”. If you buy organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar the mother culture will still be evident.
If you buy the pasteurized form, the liquid will be clear. This the type of apple cider vinegar you are most likely to find on the shelves of supermarkets and local stores.
The Nutritional Value of Apple Cider Vinegar
On a nutritional level, the value of apple cider vinegar is probably very poor. It’s sometimes alleged that the vinegar contains all the vitamins and minerals that are present in apples including potassium, copper, and vitamin C, but is unlikely to be true.
According to the nutritional information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture – a 100ml serving of apple cider vinegar provides 20 calories and 7mg of sodium, but no other vitamins or minerals at all.
Any benefits provided are actually due to the combination of acids and antioxidants the vinegar contains.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss
As far as the claims go relating to apple cider vinegar and weight loss, there is a limited amount of evidence to suggest they may be true.
Research published in a 2009 edition of Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, showed the consumption of apple cider vinegar proved effective for providing weight loss, reducing BMI, and reducing the circumference of the hips and waist.
The study was conducted over a 12-week period and the 144 obese participants were not required to make any changes to their diets or levels of activity.
However, alcohol consumption was restricted for the full 12 weeks.
Some of the participants received a placebo.
The rest were given either one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day.
The results clearly show the participants who were given the vinegar lost more weight than the placebo group and the ones who were given two tablespoons per day lost the most weight of all.
It’s believed that the weight loss and accompanying reductions in circumference were brought about because the acetic acid in the vinegar suppressed the appetites of the people involved while also boosting their metabolism.
Some researchers believe apple cider vinegar also possesses carb blocking capabilities.
However, research conducted at the Kronos Longevity Research Institute in Arizona suggests that it does not.
A Natural Remedy for Acid Reflux
Many people swear by apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for acid reflux.
Contrary to popular belief, heartburn is not caused by a build-up of stomach acid. It’s caused when the stomach does not have enough.
When this occurs it slows the digestive process and the food and gasses present in the stomach create a pressure that’s sufficient to cause the stomach contents to try and creep back up the esophagus. This can result in a burning sensation.
If you are prone to acid reflux, the best way to use apple cider vinegar is to mix a teaspoonful with some warm water and drink it 30 minutes before eating.
If necessary, you can add some honey to improve the taste.
There is nothing complicated about this way the process works.
The pH value of the vinegar is very similar to that of the acids in the stomach.
This allows it to assist the existing acids with the task of breaking down food.
Apple Cider Vinegar as a Stomach Soother
Apart from offering protection against acid reflux, apple cider vinegar can be kind to the stomach in other ways.
Many people suffering from an upset stomach soothe away the problem by sipping on a combination of apple cider vinegar and water.
An 8-ounce glass of warm water and one to two tablespoons of vinegar should be enough to get the job done.
The reason this simple remedy can be so effective for so many people. It is that, apart from boosting the abilities of the stomach acid, the enzymes produced during the vinegar fermentation process assist the breakdown and digestion of food.
The acetic acid in the vinegar also helps provide relief from bloating and gas by improving mineral absorption and protein digestion.
Meanwhile, the anti-fungal and antiviral abilities of the malic acid in the vinegar can help improve bowel function.
A Natural Way to Get Rid of Dandruff
Although not everyone will be keen on the idea of having apple-scented hair, applying a combination of apple cider vinegar and water can be a good way to get rid of dandruff.
Dandruff has a number of causes. Unfortunately, this remedy will only work for the type of dandruff that’s caused by a yeast infection. It won’t help with the kind caused by flaking of the skin.
The best way to do it is to mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of water, place the mixture in a spray bottle and then spray the hair, being sure to reach the scalp.
The hair should then be wrapped in a towel and left for 30—45 minutes.
After this, the hair should be washed as normal. The treatment needs to be used two times per week.
As if often the case, sometimes the simple things work best.
This remedy is no exception. It works because the vinegar alters the pH level of the scalp, making it a hostile environment for yeast to grow.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Bad breath can be unpleasant for the people on the receiving end and incredibly embarrassing for the person cursed with the problem.
If your breath is presently less than minty fresh, apple cider vinegar may be able to help because a mouthwash that consists of 8oz of water and two tablespoons of vinegar can be effective for killing the oral bacteria that are often the cause of bad breath.
The value of this type of mouthwash comes from its acidic nature, but it can be a double-edged sword if the correct precautions are not made.
The acid in apple cider vinegar has the potential to damage the enamel on the teeth so it’s important to follow up your gargle and swill with a second one using normal water.
A Possible Home Remedy for Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps can be brought on in a number of ways.
There is no single cause. However, sometimes the reason for muscle cramps can be traced to an inability to metabolize minerals properly or retain them in the body due to a pH imbalance.
In cases such as this, consuming a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar every day may restore the imbalance.
Allowing your body to metabolize and distribute minerals around the body more effectively.
Alternatively, the vinegar can be consumed, with or without water, at the first sign of cramping, but prevention is always better than cure.
Halts the Hiccups
Although there is no explanation as to how this remedy is likely to work, many people find drinking a solution that contains apple cider vinegar and water is the right solution for their hiccups.
One to two teaspoons is usually about right and, if you don’t mind the taste, feel free to take it neat.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
Although apple cider vinegar is a not an eczema treatment that is likely to work for all, it does work for many people.
One of the easiest ways to use it is to add a couple of cups of vinegar to the water when you are taking a bath, sit and soak for 15—20 minutes, and then rinse the skin with cool water.
A second alternative is to use a homemade apple cider vinegar moisturizing cream that consists of 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1/4 cup of coconut oil.
Research shows coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic abilities so this can be a winning combination.
There is no cure for eczema.
All you can do is hope to reduce and relieve the symptoms.
The condition raises the pH level of the skin, rendering the acidic barrier that protects it less effective, thereby, allowing moisture to be lost and irritants to be drawn in.
The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can help relieve the symptoms of eczema by restoring the pH balance of the skin.
There are many other benefits associated with apple cider vinegar.
The list provided here does not come close to scratching the surface.
People use it to fade bruises, remove warts, and help with all manner of ailments.
One of the best things about it is it’s such a natural option and it’s bound to be attractive to anyone who does not like using chemicals or drugs.
Admittedly, there is a lack of proof to support some of its alleged abilities, but many people put their faith in it and swear to its value in many different areas.
It also has to be remembered that, in the majority of cases, there is also no scientific proof that it does not work and, unlike with drugs, there’s unlikely to be side effects with apple cider vinegar.
However, if you have an ongoing problem with acid reflux, upset stomach, or any other problem that could be a symptom of a bigger problem or disease, it’s always best to seek expert medical advice.
Self-doctoring is all well and good for minor problems like dandruff but, for anything else, a doctor always knows best.