I always try to use natural substances – foods, herbs, spices – rather than drugs, so when I find a food like raw, organic apple cider vinegar, that can be used in so many ways, I make it a daily staple for myself and my family.
You must be sure to buy raw, organic apple cider vinegar, which is made from organically grown apples and is not pasteurized. It undergoes two fermentation processes where it produces enzymes and nutrients that make it the antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal powerhouse it is. You will notice raw, organic, unpasturized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is not clear – it contains what is called the “mother” which settles at the bottom of the bottle. It contains living nutrients, enzymes and friendly bacteria. Bragg's is the most well-known and one most of us can even find in our grocery stores. If not, you can order it online or find it in the health food store.
[tweetthis]Live healthier with 15 ways to improve health w/apple cider vinegar[/tweetthis]
The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels and has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative as far back as Hippocrates.
So what are some of the ways you can put this nutritional powerhouse to work for you and your family? Here are my top 15 ways:
1. Acid Reflux and Heartburn. If you struggle with heartburn occasionally or have hiatal hernia, that causes acid reflux, try putting some ACV into water and drinking 15-30 minutes before a meal. It is similar to the acidic environment in your stomach and helps food to break down, helping you digest the meal better. Most people believe heartburn and reflux are caused by too much stomach acid when in reality it is usually too little. One of my clients who had been taking reflux medication for years, found he could get off them by using apple cider vinegar.
2. Stomach problems. Whether it's diarrhea, constipation or gas look no further! Just start with a teaspoon or two in 8-16 oz. of water and you can work up to a tablespoon. If it is diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection, remember apple cider vinegar is antibacterial so it will help kill off those bugs. The pectin from the apples is also soothing to the intestines. It can also help with constipation as it is a natural laxative. The pectin is a water soluble fiber that helps move things along and the malic acid it contains also eases digestive problems like constipation. An easy way to do it is to combine 2 tablespoons of the ACV with 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey and about 8 oz. of warm water and drink it as a sort of tea. Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and before bed and you should see the problem clear up quickly.
Sipping some before a meal can also help quell gas by helping you digest your meal more efficiently.
3. Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has become a serious problem. It used to be an adult onset disease that developed in people who were overweight, but we are seeing more and more children developing it now. Obviously a change in diet and habits is critical, however, research has shown that sipping apple cider vinegar helps improve insulin sensitivity and that may prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
4. Candida: Many people have a yeast overgrowth or candida. Some research shows that the acid and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help kill excess yeast in the body. If you are suffering with a severe yeast problem, the symptoms may get worse when you begin taking ACV. As the yeast dies off it causes a Herxheimer reaction or healing crisis. This is when your body can’t remove the toxins from the yeast fast enough. You can actually feel achy or like you have a mild case of the flu. It's actually a good sign and should not last more than a few days. If you suspect you have yeast overgrowth, consider taking 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of ACV in water before each meal or twice a day, preferably on an empty stomach as part of your candida protocol.
5. Sunburn: If you get a sunburn, apply a mixture of 25% ACV and 75% water with a washcloth directly to the skin to cool and relieve pain. You can also soak in a bath of warm water with 1 cup ACV if you prefer or the sunburn is over a larger part of the body.
6. Bug bites: For bug bites, you can apply a 50/50 mixture of ACV/water directly to the bite. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and place the soaked cotton ball over the bug bite – you can also tape it in place and leave it there for a few minutes. The pain and itching should stop quickly.
7. Hiccups: It seems that the sour taste of ACV could stop hiccups in their tracks. It is thought that over-stimulating the nerves in the throat responsible for spasms cancels out that hiccup message. It’s worth a try!
8. Soothe a sore throat: At the very first sign of a scratchy throat, gargling every hour or so with a mixture of ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of warm water will get to work killing the infection. You can also mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and three teaspoons raw honey in a glass of warm water for a throat syrup.
9. Stuffy Nose: ACV contains potassium, which thins mucus; and as I mentioned above, the acetic acid in it prevents bacterial growth, which can contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help thin mucuous and promote sinus drainage.
10. Heart Health: One study found that the acetic acid in the vinegar lowered bad cholesterol in rats. One Japanese condiment manufacturer conducted their own tests and found that about a half ounce of apple cider vinegar daily reduces blood cholesterol levels in humans.
11. Weight Loss: Apple cider vinegar's most popular claim to fame is as a diet aid. Most apple cider vinegar weight loss guides recommend mixing one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water and taking the mixture before each meal. It is not clear exactly how apple cider vinegar works, but it's believed to suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and reduce water retention. Scientists also find that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body's digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream. Keeping blood sugar levels from spiking keeps insulin levels balanced and helps with weight loss.
12. Dandruff: Dr. Oz recommends apple cider vinegar as a dandruff treatment. The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual.
13. Acne and healthy skin: Apply a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and three parts water directly to the skin using a cotton ball, leaving the vinegar on your skin for 10 minutes. Repeat three times daily. For severe acne, leave diluted apple cider vinegar on your skin overnight.
14. Detox: You may have heard of drinking lemon water to cleanse the liver first thing in the morning. Apple cider vinegar works just as well. You can use a tablespoon or so in a cup of warm water first thing in the morning for its cleansing effects or make up your own liver-cleansing detox drink by combining the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of ACV, and a teaspoon of either pure maple syrup or raw, organic honey in a cup of warm water first thing in the morning.
15. Hot Flash Relief: This one is purely anecdotal – I have had several female clients who were suffering with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms who found taking some apple cider vinegar daily helped immensely. I personally use ACV on a salad most days of the week and always drink the oil and vinegar left after I eat the salad. I didn't have any hot flashes and found I sailed through that time of life very smoothly. While proper diet and other factors come into play, it made me wonder if the ACV wasn't a big part of my experience as well.
Obviously the tips above are just part of the answer for these problems, but having a natural food like raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar on hand can certainly help when someone in the family complains of a scratchy throat or upset stomach.
There is one caution I would share - after drinking vinegar, always be sure to rinse your mouth with water to prevent it from breaking down the enamel of your teeth.
Have you used any of these apple cider vinegar remedies? Do you have a favorite of your own?