I have posted many health and beauty ideas in the past that feature apple cider vinegar (ACV) as one of the main ingredients. I thought it was high time that I gave this magic elixir more of the attention that it so rightly deserves! Lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to start taking it on a daily basis as a preventive measure (see the benefits below,) and it’s not easy! But I think by the end of this post you’ll see why I’m making the effort to brave the intense taste!
Before I get started, let me emphasize that when I refer to apple cider vinegar, I’m talking about raw, organic ACV with the “mother.” This variety is unfiltered, and contains all of the good gut-friendly bacteria that you want. More processed varieties have been heavily filtered, which can remove a lot of that good stuff. (I highly recommend Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, which you can usually find at the grocery store.)
There are two main ways to enjoy the benefits of apple cider vinegar – by drinking it, and by using it topically.
Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Tame Tummy Troubles – The pectin content in ACV helps treat diarrhea by forming bulk fibrous matter. The pectin also forms a protective coat for soothing the colon lining and intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice.
Prevent Indigestion – Sip before eating, especially if you know you’re going to indulge in foods that cause indigestion. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you dine.
Stuffy Nose – Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.
Help for Hiccups – Since hiccups are often caused by either low stomach acid slowing the digestion of protein, or eating too much…ACV can be a great solution for hiccups. It restores the acid balance in the stomach and eases irritating spasms of the diaphragm.
Sore Throat – As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, take some ACV to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.
Exhaustion – Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you’re feeling beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water.
Relieve Nighttime Leg Cramps – ACV taken diluted in water twice daily, will dissolve acid crystals in the blood and provide potassium, calcium and other essential minerals to the body needed to ease the leg cramps.
Banish Bad Breath – Due to its acidic properties, Apple Cider Vinegar makes a wonderful remedy for bad breath or halitosis. Simply add 1/2 tablespoon of ACV into a cup of water and gargle the mixture in your mouth for 10 seconds at a time until the cup is empty.
Control Blood Sugar – The anti-glycemic effects of apple cider vinegar help to improve insulin sensitivity, which is essential to maintain the sugar levels of blood. Mix one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of filtered water and take 3 times a day to steady your stomach’s rate of digestion which in turn will keep blood sugar levels more consistent. If you are diabetic, consult your physician.
Boost Weight Loss – Many people claim that Apple Cider Vinegar promotes weight loss by speeding up the metabolism. A suggested remedy is to mix 2 teaspoons of the vinegar into a glass of water and drink this before every meal or sip it slowly throughout the day.
Control Cholesterol – Research has indicated that apple cider vinegar improves the lipid profile of blood by decreasing the levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or bad cholesterol, as also by increasing the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) or good cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, consult your physician.
Improve Bone Health – The abundance of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other vital minerals, makes apple cider vinegar a good candidate for maintaining bone health.
Relieve Arthritis Pain – The potassium in cider vinegar may be especially beneficial because it works to prevent calcium build-up in the joints, which is linked to joint stiffness.
How to Ingest Apple Cider Vinegar
As I mentioned at the beginning, as good as ACV is for you… that’s how bad it tastes! Which begs the question: how on earth are you supposed to get past that???
Most “hardcore” ACV enthusiasts just add a bit of water, and then it’s “bottoms up!” But for more sensitive folks (like myself) there’s an easier way! Just add some raw honey, stevia or agave to give it a little sweetness. Or you can chase it with a little sweetened apple juice. Whatever works for you!
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
For daily maintenance:
2 teaspoons of ACV in 8oz of water between once and twice a day (before or during meals)
For acute conditions (like acid reflux, cough, bronchitis, or sore throat):
1 tablespoon of ACV in 8oz of water three times a day (before or during meals)
Benefits of Using Apple Cider Vinegar Topically
Rubbing apple cider vinegar onto swollen hands or feet reduces swelling. A wonderful thing during pregnancy!
Fight Yeast Infections
One of the best home remedies to treat a yeast infection is Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 1 and a half cups of ACV into a bathtub filled with warm water, and then soak in it for about 20 minutes. This should be done once a day for the first 3 days of the infection.
Soothing Bath Soak
The next time you get ready to slip into a warm bath, add one to two capfuls of apple cider vinegar. It draws toxins out of the body, leaving behind toned and moisturized skin.
Foot and Skin Fungus
Just as ACV can help kill Candida in the body, it is often useful against yeast and fungus on the skin and nails. If you have foot or toe fungus, soak the feet in 1 cup of ACV in water or apply directly to the affected area. For skin fungus or yeast, apply ACV directly. For children or those with sensitive skin, it is best to dilute the ACV with water before applying to the skin.
Invigorating Foot Soak
Use apple cider vinegar to soothe aching and swollen feet.
Acetic acid, the main ingredient in ACV, will remove build up from styling products and conditioners and strengthen the hair shaft, leaving you with soft, shiny strands. It will also balance hair’s pH level, simulate the scalp to promote hair growth, and is a cure for dandruff. Dilute 1/3 cup ACV in 4 cups of water and pour over your hair after shampooing. Leave it in for a few seconds before rinse your hair using cold water to seal the hair shaft and create more shine.
Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay, add 1 tablespoon raw honey. Apply to skin. Leave this detoxifying, deep-pore treatment on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Psoriasis sufferers praise apple cider vinegar for reducing inflammation. Apply a few drops to a cotton ball and rub on your T-zone or other dry spots to prevent breakouts and minimize blemishes.
Reduce Age Spots
Apple Cider Vinegar contains sulfur that fights the effects of aging, including age spots. Dab age spots, or liver spots, with ACV every night before you go to sleep. Do not wash off the vinegar. If you feel a stinging sensation, dilute the vinegar with water. Wash off in the morning.
ACV kills bacteria and balances skin’s pH level. It also absorbs excessive oil from our skin, which is a leading cause of acne. Mix one part vinegar to 3-4 parts water. Apply solution directly to your skin with clean cotton pad, and leave it there for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, rinse off the vinegar. Repeat this three times a day. For severe cases of acne, the solution can be used overnight without rinsing.
Gargle with apple cider vinegar in the morning. The vinegar helps remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums. Brush as usual after you gargle.
Relieve the pain of a sunburn and minimize peeling by applying a wash cloth soaked in apple cider vinegar to the area.
ACV is great for varicose veins because it improves circulation in the vein wall and helps to ease the bulging and swelling vein so it is less noticeable and less painful. Combine equal parts ACV and your favorite lotion. Apply morning and night to varicose veins in a circular motion until absorbed. Depending on the severity of your varicose veins, you should begin to see improvement within a month.
Most commercial deodorants are antiperspirants, which block your ability to sweat. Since sweat is one of your body’s natural means of detoxification, blocking your ability to sweat can block your ability to detoxify. ACV absorbs and neutralizes odors. Simply rub a bit of ACV in your underarms. The vinegary smell dissipates once it dries.
Try placing a cotton pad soaked in apple cider vinegar on top, then secure with a bandage. Leave on overnight and remove in the morning. If you stick to this consistently for a week, you should start to see results.
Do you use apple cider vinegar in your health and/or beauty regimens?