The Bare Bones Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

An apple a day really might keep the doctor away.

Let's dive into one of today's hottest trends: Apple cider vinegar. In the last couple of years, this magical elixir has been flooding the pantries of health enthusiasts everywhere. But don't think that it's just another food fad—apple cider vinegar has been used since 400 BCE, and pure vinegar dates back to 5000 BCE. Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has a long history in folklore and traditional medicine, and was originally used to flavor and preserve foods, heal wounds, clean surfaces, and fight infections. Now if you've never had ACV, know that it doesn't taste like a spoonful of sugar—though it does help the medicine go down. Apple cider vinegar is the medicine. It has a plethora of healing properties and can be used in a myriad of ways. The benefits range from weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels, the killing of bad bacteria, and hunger management. Some studies even show that it has anti-cancer effects. We've highlighted a few of our favorite ACV benefits. See below for how you can start implementing this healthy agent into your daily routine.

It Contains Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria and yeast that aid in digestion. They help balance the "good" and "bad" bacteria in the body. The main ingredient in ACV is pectin-packed fermented apples—great for your digestion because pectin helps remove waste from the body while promoting the growth of probiotics, or good bacteria. Did you know that approximately 80 percent of your immune system is located within the digestive tract? That means cultivating a healthy gut flora—the microorganisms in your digestive tract—is essential to good health. Get your daily dose of probiotics from delicious treats like kombucha, yogurt, dark chocolate, and of course, apple cider vinegar. Try This: Take 1–2 tablespoons of ACV every morning to start your day. 

It's an Anti-Fungal

Apple cider vinegar is known for it's anti-fungal properties, which help reduce Candida in the body, a fungus that feeds on sugar. As it grows, Candida can cause an overgrowth of yeast in the body, and lead to things things like headaches, yeast infections, food allergies, and more. Without getting too far into the icky details, know that keeping Candida at a safe level is imperative for a happy and vital life. The enzymes that live in ACV regulate Candida and balance the body's pH level. It's also important to know that ACV can only balance the pH levels if it's present in the body consistently. That means holding yourself accountable every day and making this nutritious elixir part of your routine. Try This:  Try mixing 1–2 tablespoons of ACV with an 8oz glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon. Add honey or agave to soften the tang. 

It's Great for Your Skin

If we haven't sold you yet, ACV can also be used topically. When used regularly, the effects of ACV works wonders on both the internal and external body. ACV is a 100 percent natural and organic addition to your beauty regimen. The alpha hydroxy acids in ACV help remove dead skin cells, leaving your face fresh and clear, and the anti-fungal properties help to reduce acne and blemishes. Always remember to test any new skincare products on the top of your hand before applying to the face. Try This: Dilute 1 tablespoon of APV with 1 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Use a cotton ball to gently dab the face. Try using it to diminish dark spots and areas prone to acne.

It's a Natural Teeth Whitener

If used regularly and for a long period of time, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can even whiten your teeth. It's all thanks to the high pH level, which helps to remove stains on the teeth formed from smoking and drinking coffee. But careful: ACV can also erode the teeth enamel if not diluted, so make sure to add water to the mixture before use. Bonus? Those anti-fungal properties kick in again, as ACV can eliminate fungus and bad bacteria hiding in the mouth. Try This: Before brushing your teeth, mix 1/2–1 teaspoon of APV with 1 cup water and swish in mouth for 30–45 seconds. Wait 30 minutes before gently brushing the teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste. Do this for at least one month to see results. 

It Can Help Maintain a Healthy Weight

Due to the acetic acid in ACV, drinking a glass of water with a tablespoon can help lower glucose levels and suppress hunger. It also assists in speeding up the metabolism while reducing water retention. Furthermore, ACV can help increase energy levels to help your get through a long day. The potassium and enzymes relieve the feeling of being tired and give a boost of energy. Try This: If you don't like to drink ACV first thing in the morning, try drinking before mealtime to alleviate overeating. Mix 1–2 tablespoons of ACV with an 8-ounce glass of warm water and add a squeeze of lemon, if desired.  Don't feel the need to try these all at once, but be a bit experimental to find what works best for you and your body. Keep in mind that consuming too much of anything is no good, so start small and see how it goes. With some time and a bit of apple cider vinegar, you'll feel like a new person—from the inside out.

Find more apple-based recipes and products online with North Coast Organic.