You’ve probably used apple cider vinegar to add bite to your marinade or remove a stain, but did you know it offers a wide variety of health benefits? From antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, to weight management and blood sugar management, this do-it-all product should be a staple in both your kitchen pantry and your medicine cabinet.
So what makes this liquid such a powerful tool in the home? It all comes down to the acetic acid and unique fermentation and byproducts. Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples, then fermenting them with yeast. During fermentation, the natural sugar of the apple breaks down and turns the mixture into an alcohol solution. Bacteria is then added to ferment the alcohol, turning the mixture into an acetic acid vinegar. Acetic acid gives apple cider vinegar a distinctive smell and flavor, but it is also responsible for the health benefits found in apple cider vinegar.
You'll love these key health benefits of apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar has been traditionally used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the home and the kitchen because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial activity.1 However, this vinegar is gentle enough when diluted to be used directly on the skin to help alleviate nail fungus and other minor infections. In fact, Hippocrates himself used vinegar to clean wounds before modern sterilizers were invented. A man before his time!
Shrinking Your Waistline2
Apple cider vinegar may also help your waistline! Several studies have suggested that adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your diet could help increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to consuming fewer calories. A long-term, healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins such as nuts and seeds is the best way to keep your weight in check, but a drizzle of apple cider vinegar on your afternoon salad can give you a delicious, flavor-bursting, low-calorie boost.
Heart Health Support
Other research indicates that the high antioxidant content of apple cider vinegar may benefit heart health and also manage cholesterol and triglyceride levels in animals.3 Research is ongoing to determine the impact of apple cider vinegar in humans, but early studies are promising.
Could apple cider vinegar be the key to a healthy skin glow? Studies have shown that using diluted apple cider vinegar or vinegar-based creams could help balance the skin’s surface pH4, which may help manage itching, flaking, or dry skin.
Lower Blood Sugar
Vinegar has been shown to have a direct effect on insulin resistance.5 A small study showed that apple cider vinegar may help improve insulin sensitivity by 19%-34% and significantly lower blood sugar levels after a high carb meal.6 Other research studies with humans show that vinegar may help improve insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels after meals.7,8
The bottom line
Despite these amazing health benefits, it is not recommended to drink undiluted apple cider vinegar. Be sure to mix it 50/50 with water or other liquid before drinking.
Try adding some apple cider vinegar to your favorite dishes. Apple cider vinegar can jazz up a fruit salad, freshen your favorite stew or soup, or to season some fresh vegetables. Mix apple cider vinegar with raw honey and fresh garlic for a tangy salad dressing. For a quicker method, you can also simply dilute a few teaspoons apple cider vinegar in water.
- Yagnik, Darshna, et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar against Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans; Downregulating Cytokine and Microbial Protein Expression.” Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group UK, 29 Jan. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933/.
- Khezri, Solaleh Sadat, et al. “Beneficial Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on Weight Management, Visceral Adiposity Index and Lipid Profile in Overweight or Obese Subjects Receiving Restricted Calorie Diet: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Journal of Functional Foods, Elsevier, 9 Feb. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618300483.
- Fushimi, Takashi, et al. “Dietary Acetic Acid Reduces Serum Cholesterol and Triacylglycerols in Rats Fed a Cholesterol-Rich Diet.” The British Journal of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16611381.
- Lambers, H, et al. “Natural Skin Surface PH Is on Average below 5, Which Is Beneficial for Its Resident Flora.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18489300.
- FACLM, Michael Greger M.D. “Vinegar Mechanisms & Side Effects.” NutritionFacts.org, 11 May 2016, nutritionfacts.org/video/vinegar-mechanisms-side-effects/.
- Johnston, Carol S., et al. “Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care, American Diabetes Association, 1 Jan. 2004, care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.long#ref-3.
- Shishehbor, Farideh, et al. “Vinegar Consumption Can Attenuate Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Responses; a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials.” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28292654.
- Lim, Joseph, et al. “Vinegar as a Functional Ingredient to Improve Postprandial Glycemic Control-Human Intervention Findings and Molecular Mechanisms.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213723.