Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple cider. When the cider is exposed to yeast, part of the mixture turns to alcohol. Then, the alcohol is eventually converted to acetic acid. It is the acidity of apple cider vinegar that makes it useful as a preservative and sometimes as a household cleaning product, but you have probably heard it may also be good for your health.
If you have read stories about the supposed health benefits of apple cider vinegar, you are probably wondering which stories are true. Is it as much of a miracle home remedy as it is made out to be? Perhaps not, but it does have many health benefits, according to multiple studies.
There is also historical data verifying it has been used medicinally for centuries. In fact, it was even used to treat wounds in ancient Greece. However, scientific conclusions regarding its effectiveness are mixed. Here is information about some of the most common uses for apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar to Control Blood Sugar Levels and Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that makes it difficult for a person’s body to regulate levels of blood sugar. This may be due to a total lack of ability to produce a hormone called insulin. It may also occur because the body cannot control insulin levels sufficiently.
Several studies have been conducted on the impact of apple cider vinegar in diabetes control and prevention. One study, published by the American Diabetes Association in 2004, indicates consuming less than one ounce of apple cider vinegar when eating meals high in carbohydrates can significantly decrease your blood sugar levels.
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According to experts, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is what makes it useful for regulating insulin levels. The acetic acid prevents your body from absorbing starch as quickly as it would otherwise. Therefore, it can be quite effective, but only when consumed at specific times. Some of the top tips for increasing its effectiveness for diabetes control include:
- Consuming apple cider vinegar only at times when you are eating a lot of carbohydrates.
- Talking to your doctor ahead of time to ensure that the apple cider vinegar does not interact with any medication.
- Diluting the vinegar in water or mixing it with food before consumption.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Expert opinions vary on the value of consuming apple cider vinegar to lose weight. One of the most popular studies was conducted in 2009, when 175 obese Japanese test subjects had to include an apple cider vinegar beverage in their diet over a 12-week period.
However, their total weight loss was limited to two to four pounds per test subject. Experts not involved in this test say those results may indicate apple cider vinegar can help you reach your weight loss goal. Although, consuming it is not likely to produce significant results unless you use it in conjunction with other weight loss methods.
There is also a possibility of consuming it may help you in secondary ways. For example, when you drink water, you may feel full faster, causing you to eat less. Therefore, if you consume your apple cider vinegar in water, you may receive that benefit. For the best results, you must combine apple cider consumption with weight loss techniques like the following:
- Consistent exercise routines.
- Portion control.
- Avoidance of unhealthy foods.
Some experts also believe the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar slows your metabolic rate. Since it simultaneously blocks starch absorption, fewer calories are stored in your body. The process may not help you lose existing weight. However, it may aid in the prevention of additional weight gain.
Apple Cider Vinegar to Ease a Sore Throat or Cough
Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher, is thought to be one of the first human beings to use apple cider vinegar in the treatment of illnesses like sore throats and coughs. His treatment of consuming it when mixed with honey is one you can still use today.
However, the main benefit of apple cider vinegar for treating your sore throat seems to be its ability to kill bacteria. That only helps if your sore throat is bacterial in origin. It is more common for you to have a virus that gives you a sore throat, in which case, apple cider vinegar may have no effect in terms of healing.
Despite its uselessness as a cure for a viral sore throat, folklore passed through the generations indicates apple cider vinegar can make your sore throat feel temporarily better when taken in the right amount. However, experts caution that the acidity of apple cider vinegar can easily make your throat feel worse if you take too much of it at once. In fact, it can cause or exacerbate multiple medical conditions when taken undiluted, including:
- Stomach ulcers.
- Esophageal burns.
- Acid reflux.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Beauty Regimen
There are several home remedies using apple cider vinegar that are recommended to help you look your best. However, some have been studied more than others, and the results of those studies are mixed. Possible suggested uses for apple cider vinegar in your beauty regimen include:
- Dandruff removal.
- Wart removal.
- Alleviating sunburns and bug bites.
- Killing head lice.
- Getting rid of nail infections
Apple cider does not help you kill head lice, according to a study conducted in 2004. In fact, it is the least effective of several methods tried. However, according to an American Academy of Dermatology expert, apple cider vinegar is an excellent way to cure a common nail cuticle infection called paronychia. The same expert states apple cider vinegar can help you relieve the discomfort of bug bites. Both require soaking the affected area in apple cider vinegar diluted in water.
Several experts agree apple cider vinegar can help you treat dandruff and warts. However, it is a very slow treatment when used for those purposes. There are also other treatments that can be more effective when trying to relieve immediate discomfort from sunburns. Therefore, apple cider vinegar is only useful for treating these skin conditions when no other known remedies are readily available.
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