Apple cider vinegar is something that I find myself discussing with patients on a daily basis as it has so many health benefits. Primarily I prescribe it as a digestive and liver aid in patients with digestive issues but it can be used for so many more reasons than this. It is a cost effective and useful remedy that everyone should have in their pantry. It is also handy to have on hand as a cleaning agent to be used around the house, and can be used on the skin directly for things like warts, skin breakouts, smelly feet or as a hair wash.
But first what is apple cider vinegar? Vinegar is made from a fermented carbohydrate such as grapes or rice, and in the case of apple cider vinegar it is made from apples. It is the slow fermentation process of apple cider vinegar that can takes weeks to months that gives it so many health properties and it has been used since the 1700’s for is health effects. The longer the fermentation process, the better quality and stronger the vinegar.
There are different types of apple cider vinegar available, and generally speaking the more you pay the stronger the vinegar. You can get distilled, double distilled or apple cider vinegar containing ‘the mother’. The ‘mother’ of vinegar is a thick amino-acid based substance found in unprocessed and unfiltered apple cider vinegar and is thought to be the strongest. Most apple cider vinegars have been pasteurized and filtered to prevent the mother from forming as it goes cloudy, but actually this indicates a stronger vinegar when it comes to its health benefits.
Here are my top 10 uses for apple cider vinegar:
1- It stimulates digestion
Apple cider vinegar is a digestive bitter substance that has the ability to stimulate digestive acid and enzyme production. This improve speeds a sluggish digestive response and can therefore increase nutrient absorption. You can use apple cider vinegar for reflux, heartburn, bloating or sluggish bowel movements. I recommend starting each day with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar diluted into some room temperature water (about 20-50mls) as a shot before breakfast.
2- It Improves liver and gall bladder function
Apple cider vinegar is great as part of a detox regime to stimulate liver and gall bladder function. I often recommend it to my patients with poor liver function or to those with insufficient gall bladder function and bile flow at the dosage described above- 1 tsp in water each morning before breakfast.
3- It tones the skin and regulates the skin’s pH-
You can use apple cider vinegar as a natural facial and skin toner to reduce breakouts and balance the skin’s pH. Apply apple cider vinegar to the skin directly by soaking a cotton ball or face wipe after washing your face. Its antibacterial properties make it great for acne prone skin.
4- Use it as a hair rinse
Try a weekly hair rinse using one third of a cup of apple cider vinegar with 4 cups of water. It leaves the hair feeling soft and conditioned, while at the same time removing grime and product build up and balancing the scalps pH levels. It is also fantastic for those with a dry scalp or dandruff
5- Use it as a natural cleaning product
Apple cider vinegar has powerful antibacterial properties and for this reason makes a great natural cleaning agent. Studies have found it to be strong enough to kill E.Coli and Salmonella. It works well on mould, fungus and mildew. Use it to clean your kitchen surfaces or bathrooms. Apply it straight onto mould infected areas to kill mould and spores. It will clean off soap scum and grime from the bathroom (along with a bit of elbow grease!).
6- It kills warts
Apple cider vinegar has a high level of acetic acid which can be used to kill warts. Apply a soaked cotton ball directly to the wart and cover with a bandaid overnight. You may have to do this nightly for a few weeks, but eventually the wart will simply fall off.
7- It aids weight loss and metabolism
There is some research to show that apple cider vinegar can balance blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings. It may also reduce the appetite and help you to feel fuller between meals. For this reason, many people find weight loss easier to achieve when consuming apple cider vinegar regularly. I suggest you start each day with 1 tsp of apple cider in 50mls of water as a ‘shot’ to kick-start your metabolism.
8- It is a natural antibacterial
As mentioned, apple cider vinegar is a powerful antibacterial agent. This makes it great for all types of infections! Gargle diluted apple cider vinegar for a sore throat. You can swish diluted apple cider vinegar around the mouth for gum disease or mouth ulcers. Apply diluted apple cider vinegar directly onto the site of skin infections- take care with broken skin as it may sting.
9- It alkalises the body
Apple cider vinegar is an alkalising agent which means it lowers the pH of the body. Therefore ingesting apple cider vinegar on a regular basis, either as a morning digestive ‘shot’ or in salad dressings is thought to be a great way to keep your body’s pH healthy. It is thought that chronic diseases such as cancer thrive in an acidic environment, therefore alkalising your system can lower your risk of cancers.
10- Use it as a fruit and vegetable wash
You can use apple cider vinegar as a wash on your fruit and veggies to remove pesticides, insecticides and other pollutants from the skin of your fresh produce. Only use on fruit and veggies with a thicker skin, as fruit like berries might soak up too much of the vinegar and end up tasting sour! Use a solution of 10% vinegar to 90% water and briefly soak and rinse your fruit and veggies before storing for the week.
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