7 benefits of apple cider vinegar

CANADA - 2016/10/14: Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must and has a pale to medium amber color. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
CANADA - 2016/10/14: Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must and has a pale to medium amber color. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

If you shop in the healthy drinks section of your local grocery, you might find various brands and flavors of apple cider vinegar lining the shelves. You can even find potato chips with this exotic flavor. A quick sip will have you puckering your lips — could this stuff be good for you?

It is. Apple cider vinegar offers impressive benefits for your stomach, but it doesn’t stop there. It also helps your skin and hair and may even protect your heart.

How can you use this stuff to improve your health? Here are seven benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits for Your Stomach and Digestive Tract

Apple cider vinegar benefits your stomach and intestines because of the magic of your microbiome. These colonies of beneficial bacteria aid digestion and influence your health in other ways that scientists have only begun to explore.

A low diversity of these microorganisms in your stomach increases your risk of various health conditions, including cancer, obesity and irritable bowel syndrome. One reason is their role in keeping bad varieties in check. Additionally, your microbiota sends signals to your brain via your vagus nerve that influence everything from hunger to immune function to mood.

Apple cider vinegar nurtures your intestinal microbiome because it contains probiotics in the “mother” used to ferment the brew. Probiotics are basically living organisms that help replenish the beneficial colonies in your gut. Consuming a sufficient amount may help if you’re deficient in varieties necessary for positive health. It replaces what your body is missing.

Other Notable Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Your stomach may benefit the most from apple cider vinegar, but it’s glorious for your health in other ways. Here are some other perks you can enjoy.

1. Makes Your Hair Shinier 
Does your hair look dull and frizzy? You can restore your luster by using apple cider vinegar instead of your ordinary conditioner. Shampoo as usual, then pour a half-and-half mixture of apple cider vinegar and water over your tresses. Let it sit for about five minutes — perhaps while you shave — and rinse to a silky shine.

2. Improves Your Complexion 
The DIY spa-day action doesn’t stop with using apple cider vinegar for your hair. It can also improve your complexion and minimize the appearance of acne lesions.

Here, too, you’ll want to dilute your brew with water. Then, dip a cotton ball in the blend and spread the mixture over your skin, splashing cool water on your face to rinse. Some people with eczema also report considerable relief from soaking in a tub enriched with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, followed by a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.

3. Keeps Your Salad Safer 
It seems like every other month or so, there’s an outbreak of food poisoning linked to lettuce. Although most people don’t think of vegetables as dangerous, they can contain bacteria that make you sick. However, a dressing made from apple cider vinegar can reduce levels of harmful varieties and lower your risk of worshiping the porcelain throne.

4. May Reduce Cardiovascular Risks 
Some animal studies suggest that apple cider vinegar may confer considerable cardiovascular risks. Research in humans suggests that regular consumption lowers your serum cholesterol, a substance that can increase your risk of heart disease if too high.

However, you have to keep it in balance and not go overboard. Too much apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels, a mineral you need to keep sodium in check.

5. Can Help With Blood Sugar Control 
Apple cider vinegar may help if you are one of the millions of Americans with prediabetes or diabetes. It won’t cure your condition or replace the need for insulin, but it might help control your glucose. Studies reveal that people who took apple cider vinegar 30 minutes after consuming a meal had significantly lower blood sugar levels.

6. Might Help You Reduce Your Weight 
Apple cider vinegar won’t melt pounds like butter, but it may help your weight loss journey. Researchers put two groups of people on a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program. Half of them supplemented with 250 milliliters of apple cider vinegar. At the study’s conclusion, the vinegar group lost over 8 pounds, while those who didn’t take it lost 5. Why not boost your efforts?

7. May Improve Varicose Vein Symptoms
Varicose veins are more than cosmetic. They can cause considerable pain. However, a bit of apple cider vinegar may help.

One study of 120 patients undergoing traditional treatment had half apply apple cider vinegar externally to varicose areas. At the study’s conclusion, the vinegar group reported a greater improvement in leg fatigue, cramps, pain, edema, itching and heavy feelings in the legs.

How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar

The simplest way to take apple cider vinegar is to pour it into a tablespoon and swallow it. However, many people find the taste unpleasant.

If you can’t stomach it solo, why not try it in a salad dressing? It makes a fabulous alternative to balsamic or red wine vinegar. Play with different varieties to invent a unique flavor that wows your family at the dinner table — you decide if you reveal the secret.

You can also mix apple cider vinegar with other drinks. For example, you can enjoy a fabulous nonalcoholic cocktail by adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 12 ounces of ginger ale, a splash of grenadine, and a maraschino cherry or two. It tastes similar enough to the real thing to give you the illusion of pouring an after-work drink — except it benefits your health instead of making you tipsy.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits for Your Health

Apple cider vinegar has tons of benefits for your stomach, but it doesn’t stop there. It can also improve your appearance and possibly help you live longer and healthier.

Now that you know the benefits of apple cider vinegar, pick up a bottle the next time you go to the store. Whether you use it in a dressing or brave it plain, you’ll do your gut and overall health a world of good.

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