by Will Grumke March 02, 2020 5 min read
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is sweeping the health fanatic communities due to the many of the claimed benefits it can provide … but what are those benefits?
How often should you drink apple cider vinegar?
Are there any risks associated with ACV?
There are many factors to consider when adding anything new into your health routine. We will help you understand those factors and find the best solution for your needs.
But first, let’s discover what apple cider vinegar is.
In French, the word for “vinegar” is “vin aigre.” This word translates to “sour wine.” That is essentially what vinegar is - fermented alcohol. This also explains the sour taste vinegar has.
With apple cider vinegar, the juices from crushed apples (apple cider) are mixed with yeast. This yeast ferments the sugar in the juices and turns it into alcohol. Once the apple cider is apple alcohol, bacteria is introduced. This creates a “mother.”
A “mother” is the combination of yeast and bacteria in the fermentation process. You can see “mother” floating around in vinegar at the end of the process, in the form of strands and groupings within the liquid.
Eventually, this liquid turns it into acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main active component in apple cider vinegar … and once this process is complete, you have apple cider vinegar.
Now, let’s discover why fermented apple alcohol could provide health benefits.
There are various types of health benefit claims surrounding apple cider vinegar.
ACV has been used to treat a variety of health issues. It has helped soothe sore throats, disinfect wounds, treat nail fungus, and kill lice.
Hippocrates (seen as the father of modern medicine was using ACV over 2000 years ago) was a proud user of different types of vinegar for these purposes.
Some Japanese scientists studied how vinegar can help fight obesity.
Basically, vinegar can help improve blood sugar and insulin levels.
The acid helps you feel fuller sooner. Apple cider vinegar has a high amount of acetic acid. As a result of this, people believe it to provide the best results.
Overall, apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss by promoting satiety, lowering blood sugar, and reducing insulin levels.
Keep in mind though, it is not magic, and certainly will not replace the need to follow a good nutriton plan, move your body, and drink your water!
It is also very low in calories. This helps those who are looking for a low-calorie acidic kick to salad dressings and other recipes.
A solution of ACV and water, when lightly spritzed onto the scalp, can help reduce dandruff, itchiness, and irritation. This happens because the acid in the vinegar changes the pH of the scalp.
When the pH changes, it makes it difficult for yeast to flourish (a common culprit of dandruff). For this same reason, ACV can help soothe the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, a type of eczema.
A tea-like drink of ACV, honey, warm water, and cayenne pepper can help relieve painful throat symptoms.
The germ-fighting qualities of the vinegar help reduce the bad bacteria in the throat and the honey helps soothe it … but be careful not to put too much vinegar, because the acid can corrode esophagus tissues.
If you suffer from smelly armpits or feet, apple cider vinegar could help. Mix water and ACV to dilute it.
With this solution, soak a rag or some cotton balls, then wash your feet or armpits with this smell neutralizing liquid. The acid will kill bacteria and yeast as well as balance the pH levels of these areas of the body.
Though the vinegar smell may be quite noticeable at first, it will dissipate as the solution dries. Make sure to monitor how this solution reacts to different materials and your skin type, to avoid any unwanted irritation.
Many people wonder "How much vinegar is too much?" or "How should I use ACV?"
Well, it depends on the situation!
Many people like to incorporate ACV into their cooking so that they don’t receive such a shocking sour taste in their meals. Adding ACV to salad dressings, drinks, teas, and soups are the most common ways to incorporate ACV.
You may also prefer to exchange this vinegar for a different type of vinegar in a recipe.
Some people like to drink ACV … and while this is perfectly fine, making sure to dilute it with water is essential.
Typically, you should use 1 cup of water for every tablespoon of ACV. Additionally, a stronger solution can be used to gargle to help with bad breath.
As for external use, a solution of water and ACV in equal parts is a helpful guideline. This solution can help with ridding yourself of body odor, bad breath, and dandruff.
Adding Epsom salts, honey, sugar or other additives can help the vinegar transform into scrubs for various uses.
While apple cider vinegar provides many health benefits, there are several issues to be aware of when consuming or using this product.
There is a lot of acid in Apple Cider Vinegar. This acid, if consumed often and in a concentrated form, can erode the enamel of your teeth. It's suggested that 1-2 tablespoons of ACV are added to a glass of water, tea, or another similar beverage to help dilute it.
This diluted solution will be a much less harmful to your teeth.
Because of the high amount of acid, consuming too much apple cider vinegar may cause acid reflux symptoms to become more severe.
Listen to your body and understand the amount of vinegar it can take. If symptoms flare up, be sure to reduce or limit your use of ACV.
Any claims that ACV cures different types of stomach and esophageal diseases or cancers are not proven through substantial research.
Too much of this vinegar can cause upset stomachs, decreased potassium levels, and the acid can negatively impact your kidneys. It can also alter the effectiveness of certain medications.
Living an active lifestyle while following a nutrition plan is the best way to get the results that people are looking for.
While apple cider vinegar can provide certain health benefits, it is not a cure-all miracle liquid.
By understanding your body and slowly introducing ACV into your diet, you will come to understand whether or not it should become a permanent part of your health routine.
Everyone has a different body with different needs and chemistry. What one of your friends has experienced with ACV won’t necessarily be your experience.
Understand the possible side effects and pay attention to how your body reacts. Listen to your body and use ACV responsibly.
Will Grumke is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
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