Vinegar is a fermented liquid made from a wide array of ingredients that is used primarily to preserve and flavor food. But the uses for vinegar are almost as extensive as the variety of flavors it’s available in.
The word “vinegar” comes from the French “vin aigre,” or “sour wine.” Vinegar is a diluted solution of acetic acid that forms with the fermentation of grapes, apples, rice, corn, and many other ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is a type of vinegar that has recently skyrocketed in popularity due to its purported health benefits. ACV is formed from cider or apple must and has a long history as a home remedy, making it the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community. The following are just a handful of the purported benefits credited to ACV.
1. ACV improves healthy gut flora. Like other fermented foods and beverages (think yogurt and kombucha), ACV is rich in enzymes and probiotics. Probiotics can aid in digestion and make sure that the digestive system is working efficiently. According to the health and wellness team at MyFitnessPal, unpasteurized ACV can deliver probiotics and energize digestion. Others say that ACV can assist with easing an upset stomach by addressing unhealthy bacteria. Some remedies suggest that the pectin in ACV can help soothe intestinal spasms as well.
2. ACV can be used as a disinfectant. ACV and other vinegars can kill harmful bacteria or prevent them from multiplying, according to Healthline. ACV has historically been used as a disinfectant and natural preservative and may help reduce instances of E. coli. Those same antibacterial properties also may help head off infections of the throat. Reader’s Digest indicates that gargling with ACV can soothe a sore throat and create an acidic environment in the esophagus that most germs can’t survive.
3. ACV contributes to feelings of fullness. Many people insist that ACV helps with weight loss. According to dietician and certified diabetes instructor Katie Rankell at UC Irvine Medical Center, ACV has been shown to lower blood sugar by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates, while also contributing to feelings of fullness that can help people avoid overeating.
4. ACV naturally lowers cholesterol. A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found consumption of the acetic acid found in ACV reduced serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats. More research is needed to determine if humans can reap similar rewards.
5. ACV can treat dandruff and other skin ailments. The acidity of ACV changes the pH of the skin and scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Applying ACV to the scalp can inhibit dandruff. It also can be used as a toner that exfoliates the skin and makes it less oily.