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How to use Apple Cider Vinegar for best health benefits

The pairing of yeast and apple juice brings together this healthiful drink –‘Apple Cider Vinegar.’ It is actually a health tonic that has been around for thousands of years, used in the culinary world and the world of medicine, Apple Cider Vinegar is loaded with vitamins, minerals and health benefits. 

There are two types of Apple Cider Vinegar —

  1. Clear, pasteurised and filtered, typically found in your local grocery store. 
  2. Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar which has ‘the mother’, a cloudy sediment made up of settled yeast and bacteria. 

Can adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your diet help your health?

  • For blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity —

Apple Cider Vinegar is often the go to natural way to control blood sugar levels, especially for people with insulin resistance. When consumed before a carb heavy meal, Apple Cider Vinegar slows the rate of the stomach emptying and prevents erratic blood sugar spikes. Apple Cider Vinegar also improves insulin sensitivity, which helps your body process more glucose, out of the bloodstream and into your cells, thus resulting in low blood sugar levels. Keep in mind that Apple Cider Vinegar does not significantly lower blood sugar when taken before a low carb or high fibre meal but when consumed with a high carb meal, it does significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating. 

  • For weight loss —

Apple Cider Vinegar helps people lose weight by suppressing their appetite, especially when consumed alongside a meal.  Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar each day has been found to help people lose nearly twice as much weight. Apple Cider Vinegar is more likely to aid weight loss when combined with other diet and lifestyle changes. It increases fullness and reduces calorie intake. Be sure to consult a doctor or health professional before jumping on the apple cider bandwagon as it can have harmful effects on your system if consumed incorrectly. 

  • To decrease cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure —

Apple Cider Vinegar reduces the overall cholesterol levels and triglycerides present in the body along with lowering blood pressure. Apple Cider Vinegar decreases blood pressure by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for constricting blood vessels and lowers the total cholesterol levels.

  • For improved digestion —

Many people take a swig of Apple Cider Vinegar before high protein meals to improve digestion. The theory is that Apple Cider Vinegar increases the acid in your stomach, which helps your body create more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein. Keep in mind that Apple Cider Vinegar is always, always, always diluted with water and then consumed with a straw as it erodes tooth enamel and leaves teeth permanently discoloured. (I’m a victim to this) 

  • For hair health —

Apple Cider Vinegar is considered to be very effective for the hair. It is used as a hair rinse to ease the effects of dandruff and to remove product buildup. Apple Cider Vinegar contains compounds that promote hair health by getting rid of calcium buildup and leaving your hair shinier especially when used after shampoo.

  • For general wellness —

Apart from the above mentioned benefits, Apple Cider Vinegar also helps in your overall wellness. It protects against heart disease, helps reduce the risk of cancer and fights off infections and diseases. 

What are the risks of consuming Apple Cider Vinegar?

Being high in acid, apple cider vinegar obviously comes with its risks. 

  • The acid can irritate your oesophagus if you drink too much of it or the concentrate. It is important to dilute it. 
  • Undiluted Apple Cider Vinegar can also break down tooth enamel.(as mentioned earlier) 
  • Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar can lead to indigestion or nausea, especially if ingested on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid consuming Apple Cider Vinegar if you have kidney issues or kidney disease because chances are your kidneys might not be able to handle high levels of acid.
  • If you have low potassium levels (hypokalemia), too much Apple Cider Vinegar can aggravate your condition by decreasing your potassium levels. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar can also interact with certain medicines so be sure to consult a doctor before adding it to your diet. 

 

A repeat —To avoid these issues, always water down Apple Cider Vinegar and drink it through a straw to protect your teeth.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar is relatively safe to consume but it can cause some side effects. NOTE-1: The acid in Apple Cider Vinegar is responsible for many of its health benefits, so be sure not to mix it with anything that could potentially neutralise the acidity and reduce its positive effects. 

NOTE-2: vinegar’s acidity is also the cause of its negative side effects like tooth enamelerosion, nausea, vomiting and indigestion to name a few. If you experience uncomfortable side effects after consuming Apple Cider Vinegar, stop taking it immediately and consult a medical professional. 

What is the Apple Cider Vinegar detox?

Over the last few years, detoxes and cleansing diets have become increasingly popular. One of these famous detoxes is the Apple Cider Vinegar detox. Apple Cider Vinegar detoxers can’t rave enough about the effects of the amber liquid. It is said to help with weight loss, removal of toxins from the body, blood sugar regulation, curbing your appetite, balancing the body’s pH, lowering high cholesterol, improving digestion, boosting the immune system, providing probiotics to the gut, healing skin conditions, hair health and overall health. Despite many success stories, there is very little scientific evidence to support these claims.

How to do an Apple Cider Vinegar detox —

The best way to do an Apple Cider Vinegar detox is to use raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar that contains “the mother.” 

The detox drink is as follows: 1 to 2 tbsp of ACV, 8 oz of water, 1 to 2 tbsp of a sweetener of choice, usually honey, maple syrup or stevia. Adding a sweetener is optional based on your preferences. You can also add lemon juice, apple juice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon or ginger to give this elixir a healthy boost.

The other ways to incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into your diet are using it in a salad dressing, adding it to marinades or mixing it in curries, soups or stews. 

Should you drink Apple Cider Vinegar before bed?

Apple Cider Vinegar right before bed can help you but also have negative effects. It all depends on how your body reacts to it. 

Potential benefits of drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before bed —

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help reduce bad morning breath. 
  2. Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before meals or right before bedtime may benefit blood sugar levels in normal people the most.
  3. Drinking small amounts of Apple Cider Vinegar before bed can help lower a diabetic person’s morning blood sugar levels. 

Potential downsides of drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before bed —

Before you start drinking apple cider vinegar before bed, consider the fact that Apple Cider Vinegar, being an acidic food, can cause indigestion and acid reflux in some people, especially when consumed before laying down. 

Here are a few ways to consume Apple Cider Vinegar that may minimise side effects and offer the most benefits —

  1. Dilute it- Mix 1–2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup (237 ml) of water. Ingesting undiluted Apple Cider Vinegar can damage your throat and oesophagus and a big NO. 
  2. Consuming it earlier in the day–  Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar at least 30 minutes before bed will lower your risk of indigestion or acid reflux after laying down. Having it during the day is even better than closer to your bedtime. 
  3. Enjoy it in other ways-  Apple Cider Vinegar combined as a salad dressing, marinade or in your food instead of just drinking it to reduce the acidity and sour taste. 
  4. With its many potential uses, it can be difficult to know how much Apple Cider Vinegar to use for what. The dosage recommendations vary from purpose to purpose and person to person. Typically 1-2 tablespoons is the norm, diluted with water. 

Lastly…

Apple Cider Vinegar is an extremely versatile household item that has a ton of different uses. It is a popular health tonic and many people attest to its effectiveness and sing its praises. However, to stay safe and prevent the harmful side effects and face the wrath of the acid, it’s important to monitor the amount you consume.  While a small amount of Apple Cider Vinegar is good, overdoing it can have more negative effects than positive effects. If you are choosing to add Apple Cider Vinegar to your diet, it’s important to dilute it with water and consider consulting a doctor, especially if you have preexisting health conditions.

 

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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