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Apple Cider Vinegar: The top 5 benefits

Posted by Gillian Day BHSc. Comp Med, Adv Dip Nat, AFMCP Grad
Apple Cider Vinegar: The top 5 benefits

People have a love affair with apple cider vinegar; or ACV as the millennials call it, for some time now and there are endless claims made for its potential benefits.

So let’s explore the what, why, and how of these claims below.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

ACV has exploded on social media as a weight loss miracle. This is because the main acids contained within ACV are acetic and malic acid. Acetic acid can stop your body absorbing calories from carbohydrates and starches, which will likely assist with weight loss as well as reduce bloating and improve digestion overall. Malic acid helps to cleanse the gut and is critical for healthy digestion.

Another way ACV may assist with weight loss is that it delays stomach emptying. If you’re not emptying the contents of your tummy into your intestines as quickly, you will feel fuller for longer. This is great news as you won’t feel the need to consume extra food and extra calories.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin

ACV is incredibly acidic by nature and because of this, it logically contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties.

There are many who use ACV as part of their daily skin routine. Simply mix 1 part ACV with 2 parts filtered or distilled water to use as a toner directly on the skin. Alternatively you could fill this mix in a spray bottle and use as a toning mist. However, using ACV in this capacity can be aggravating to sensitive skin types so always test it on a small patch of your skin first and further dilute if necessary. You may also want to consider using 3-4 drops of essential oil such as tea tree and/or ylang ylang to further assist with acne and stress and to dilute the ‘smell’ of ACV

As a toner, ACV can be astringent and cleansing for those with acne and large pores and tightening for those with ageing skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a natural, fat-like substance we make in the body. Amongst its many functions, cholesterol is the backbone of steroidal hormone synthesis. However, cholesterol can build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. When this happens, cholesterol can put a strain on your heart muscle, forcing it to work much harder to push blood through the body to where it’s needed.

Apple cider vinegar may promote heart health by helping to keep cholesterol levels on the low side. Animal research has showed that supplementing with ACV was able to reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol and increase HDL, or good cholesterol. However, further studies on humans are obviously needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Blood Sugar

The most successful application of ACV to date is in people that suffer with type II diabetes.

Every time we eat, our body breaks down food into glucose. This glucose enters our blood stream and our ‘blood sugar levels’ increase. Our pancreas responds to the rise in glucose by releasing the hormone, insulin. Insulin takes the glucose/sugar from the blood and stores it in a couple of different ways. It can process it through the liver, where it is converted to glycogen (basically a stored form of glucose), or we can convert it to fatty acids which we can use as an energy source later on.

If we consume too much sugar too often, our pancreas basically gets ‘tired’ of secreting insulin so it ignores the message to secrete it when sugar enters the blood. This is known as insulin resistance and left for long enough, it will eventually become type II diabetes.

High blood sugar is a big problem for all who have it as more and more research points towards it being major contributor to chronic disease processes including heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, ageing and more.

Everyone can benefit from keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range. ACV works in this capacity by improving our response to insulin during high carbohydrate meals, lowering blood sugar levels directly after eating and reduce fasting blood sugar levels on rising.

*Note* if you are taking diabetes medications and/or insulin, please consult with your health care practitioner before consuming ACV therapeutically.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestive Health

ACV is one of my favourite prescriptions as a digestive tonic for the body. Why? Digestion is heavily energy dependant. Therefore, if you struggle with low energy, looking at improving your digestion is a great place to start. ACV is rich in enzymes that help your body break down food and make it easier to absorb. Suffer with bloating, constipation, too much gas or heartburn? Try diluting a teaspoon of ACV in water or tea before meals twice daily.

Does it live up to the hype?

Based on the above, there’s no reason not to include ACV into your daily health regime, whether you just want to stick to adding it on your salads and vegetables or if you want it to be part of your bathroom, kitchen and medicine cabinet. The only word of warning I would add though is…..make sure you dilute apple cider vinegar first as it can be incredibly harsh and damaging on tooth enamel and your oesophagus.

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