APPLE cider vinegar is hailed as one of the best natural products for weight loss and blood sugar regulation. Made from crushed and fermented apples, this vinegar is touted for benefits such as reducing belly fat, lowering cholesterol, and promoting good heart and digestive health. In addition, its acidic nature makes it a great astringent and household cleaner.
But what is it about apple cider vinegar that makes it so great? Registered nutritionist Shannon Grant explains.
“Acetic acid is the main ingredient in any type of vinegar,” she said. “Apple cider vinegar specifically has about three calories per teaspoon, which is extremely low. The acetic acid is good for reducing blood sugar levels, inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. Consuming small amounts of apple cider vinegar with meals helps the system to run smoothly, and keeps you feeling full for longer, which over time can lead to weight loss.”
Grant pointed out that apple cider vinegar is also antimicrobial, which makes it good for fighting bacteria inside the body, in food preparation, and around the home.
“Apple cider vinegar, as well as other vinegars, is used as a cleanser and preservative, as it deactivates enzymes and kills bacteria, which makes the food last longer,” she said. “This is the thinking behind washing meat in a vinegar solution before preparation.”
She added that is also great in making salad dressings and marinades, and that its bacteria-killing properties also make it a good household cleaner.
“It is said that apple cider vinegar reduces bad odour, so it can be used as a deodoriser. It can also be used as a gentle all-purpose cleaner — just mix one cup water with half cup apple cider vinegar. It is excellent for cleaning and restoring shine to metals — such as your wedding ring and your kitchen sink.”
Grant noted, too, that it can be used as a cosmetic item — as a hair rinse and scalp cleanser (it reduces product build-up in hair), in a foot soak solution or bubble bath, to whiten teeth, and clean dentures. It can also be used on the skin to treat acne, warts, or just as a cleanser.
“It is important, however, that you dilute the apple cider vinegar before applying it directly to your skin. Strong acetic acid can cause inflammation or minor skin burns,” Grant warned. “Also, never drink raw apple cider vinegar.”
She recommended a general rule of one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water for ingesting and skin treatment purposes.
“When consuming for weight loss purposes, start with a small amount and never exceed two tablespoons per day,” she said. “Given its acidic nature, consuming apple cider vinegar excessively can cause throat burns, stomach burns, and indigestion, as well as damage to your tooth enamel over time.
“Also be careful if you are on diabetes medication or any other medication which may react with acetic acid,” she cautioned.