Apple cider vinegar: a wonder kid of the supplement world

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BY now, most people even casually keeping an eye on health trends have heard of apple cider vinegar (ACV). After all, by now it has reached almost legendary status as a weight loss aid comparable to other wonder kids of the supplement world, such as Cayenne pepper and the Green Coffee, which seems to have made quite an impact on the local diet scene.

It was not until recently that I found out that ACV is quite the all-rounder, doing everything from managing blood pressure to cleaning countertops. Apple cider vinegar comes from pulverized apples. Vinegar is a product of fermentation, and the word comes from the French word which means “sour wine.” In the process, sugars in a food are broken down by bacteria and yeast. 

In the first stage of fermentation, the sugars are turned into alcohol. Then, if the alcohol ferments further, you get vinegar. The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, is acetic acid. However, vinegars also have other acids, vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids.
ACV is common as well as inexpensive, being readily available at most supermarkets. A completely natural product, we can, by using it instantly, decrease the consumption of unnatural chemicals in our home. Here are some of the more striking ways ACV can work for you.

BEAUTY:
Hair: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair, after shampooing, to add healthy body and shine. Recycle an old shampoo bottle and fill it with one tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar to two cups of cold water. Pour through your hair after shampooing several times a week.
Face: Did you know that apple cider vinegar can help regulate the pH of your skin? Dilute one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, and spread the concoction over your face with a cotton ball as a toner. You can do this at night after washing, and in the morning before you apply your moisturizer. You can also dab apple cider vinegar directly onto age spots, and leave them on overnight to lighten their colour.

Hands and Feet: Are your hands and feet feeling tired and swollen after a long day? Treat yourself to a personal spa massage by rubbing apple cider vinegar onto them.

Sunburn: Suffering from bad sunburn? Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes.

Teeth: Did you know that apple cider vinegar can help remove stains from teeth? Rub teeth directly with apple cider vinegar and rinse out.

Aftershave: Fill a bottle with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and shake to blend.

HEALTH:

Weight Loss: For maintenance of daily weight and pH balance, add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 16 oz of water. Sip this concoction throughout the day.
Detox: Add 2 tablespoonsful of apple cider vinegar to one or two litres of filtered water in a bottle. Drink this throughout the day to cleanse your body and kidneys all day long.

Diabetes: The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, a 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4% to 6%.
High cholesterol: A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people.

Blood pressure & heart health: Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason.

Cancer: A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. 

HOME AND PETS:

Cleaning: Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water. You can use this concoction to clean microwaves, bathroom tiles, kitchen surfaces, windows, glasses and mirrors. This mixture also works as a disinfectant.

Flea Reduction: Rub apple cider vinegar onto your pet’s skin. Add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to their drinking water. Spray apple cider vinegar, diluted 50 percent with water, onto your pets and onto your furniture, to repel the presence of fleas.

Warnings about Apple Cider Vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar over the long term, or in larger amounts, could have risks. Here are some things to keep in mind:
– Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. As the name suggests, it’s quite harsh. Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted with water or juice before swallowed. Pure apple cider vinegar could damage the tooth enamel and the tissues in your throat and mouth. 

– Long-term use of apple cider vinegar could cause low potassium levels and lower bone density. If you already have low potassium or osteoporosis, talk to your health care provider before using apple cider vinegar.

– Apple cider vinegar could theoretically interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease.

– If you have diabetes, check with your health care provider before using apple cider vinegar. Vinegar contains chromium, which can alter your insulin levels.