Alternative health products are becoming increasingly popular as more of us seek out natural, eco-friendly products. One of the most famous is apple cider vinegar, long used as a cure for many ailments. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of apple cider vinegar? And is it really safe to drink?
If you have used apple cider vinegar before, you’ll be familiar with its extremely potent, slightly unpleasant scent! This natural product might not smell so appealing, but it is known for curing ear infections, healthy skin and – when consumed – aiding weight loss!
Yes, this smelly, simple but potentially amazing product can be used for a whole host of things and is popular all over the world. Much like Manuka honey, which is also used as both a beauty product, and a natural medicine.
But is apple cider safe to drink? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of using this product?
Well, we’re going to take a closer look at the pros and cons of apple cider vinegar!
Apple Cider Vinegar: What is it and How is it Made?
Apple cider vinegar has long been used as a home remedy, in fact, it’s pretty much ancient! But what is it about apple cider vinegar that makes it so useful?
Well, apple cider vinegar is made through the fermentation of apples. The liquid itself is mainly apple juice, but the fermentation process consists of adding yeast to the apple juice which reacts with the naturally occurring sugars.
The sugars turn into acetic acid, which is the active ingredient found in apple cider vinegar – and the source of the strong scent! If you look at pure, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, it tends to look cloudy. This is the acetic acid, or as some people call it ‘the mother’. The mother is what contains the proteins, enzymes and properties that make apple cider vinegar so beneficial!
So, how does apple cider vinegar benefit us?
Well, the uses of apple cider vinegar are vast. It contains many anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds. As with other alternative products such as aloe-vera gel, these can be used to promote healthy skin, healthy hair and even aid cholesterol.
However, much like any natural product, there may also be disadvantages of using apple cider vinegar too.
But before we take a look at disadvantages of using apple cider vinegar, let’s take a look at the advantages!
Advantages to using Apple Cider Vinegar: What are they?
The advantages of using apple cider vinegar vary widely, from dandruff prevention to lowering blood sugar levels!
Whilst there hasn’t been a whole lot of research into these health claims, studies have shown that there are definitely elements of our health that can benefit from using apple cider vinegar. How this potent liquid is used, depends on what it is you are using it for!
Some people drink apple cider vinegar – diluted of course! Whereas others include it in cooking or apply topically.
May help to regulate blood sugar levels
Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar is thought to help lower blood sugar levels – pretty amazing! It is worth noting that this has only been demonstrated in small studies so far.
The theory is to drink two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar in water in the evening. Why? Well, this may help to bring blood sugar levels down overnight!
May assist with weight loss
This one may surprise you. But one of the advantages of apple cider vinegar is that it may aid with weight loss!
Yes, apple cider vinegar may help you lose weight. “How”, you ask? Well, it is thought that if you drink a cup of diluted apple cider vinegar with a high-carb meal, it helps give you the feeling of fullness. This in turn, makes you less likely to be hungry later in the day, and can prevent snacking and overeating through the day!
Can promote healthy skin and hair
Another advantage of apple cider vinegar is that it might be able to help with skin conditions.
If you suffer from pimples and breakouts, apple cider vinegar may do the trick. How? Well, when used as a facewash, apple cider vinegar is thought to kill the bacteria that cause spots!
Suffering from dry skin? Yep, you guessed it, apple cider vinegar could help. As our skin is naturally slightly acidic, it is thought that topical application of this smelly liquid might help to balance the pH levels of our skin. This could help reduce dry skin and prevent it recurring in the future.
Of course, if you want brighter skin you can always try Manuka honey. Another popular natural beauty product that smells a little nicer!
So, as you can see, apple cider vinegar may be used to improve our health in a whole variety of ways. It certainly seems as though there are advantages to using this popular home remedy!
But now we know the advantages of using apple cider vinegar, let’s take a look at the disadvantages.
Are there any disadvantages to using apple cider vinegar?
One of the most widely disputed aspect of apple cider vinegar use is whether it is safe to drink. Of course, it is a very acidic liquid, that is traditionally used for cooking and seasoning.
So, is apple cider vinegar safe to drink? And are there any disadvantages to using it for our health – such as side effects?
Well, there are certainly things to consider if you are planning on using apple cider vinegar as a home remedy.
Let’s take a look at them.
Can cause tooth decay
As we’ve mentioned previously, apple cider vinegar is a highly acidic liquid.
If you regularly consume acidic liquids, of any kind, they will eventually cause damage to your teeth. Well, the same goes for apple cider vinegar.
Undiluted apple cider vinegar consumer daily, may start to erode your tooth enamel. Of course, using apple cider vinegar in your cooking, or drinking it diluted with water occasionally is unlikely to do much harm. But it is worth bearing in mind that any acidic food or drink can cause damage to your pearly whites!
If you do choose to drink apple cider vinegar, make sure it is diluted thoroughly. You might also benefit from rinsing your mouth with water after drinking.
May cause digestive troubles
Again, if you drink apple cider vinegar even in small quantities, it can slow the rate at which food is digested in the stomach. This can lead to gas, bloating, heartburn, and nausea.
Slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach can have a negative effect on those who have diabetes and gastroparesis. This is because when food remains in the stomach longer that usual, it can cause an imbalance of blood sugar levels.
Naturally, this disadvantage means it’s use should be carefully considered before being used as a home remedy.
May cause throat or skin burns
Apple cider vinegar has been known to cause skin or throat burns in children. This is when consumed undiluted or applied directly to the skin.
Whether this is a regular or common occurrence has not yet been researched. But again, one of the disadvantages of apple cider vinegar is its high acidity.
If you are going to drink apple cider vinegar, it’s important to remember to dilute it to prevent any possibility of throat burns. Additionally, it’s best to avoid drinking it regularly through the day. By doing this you will hopefully minimise risk of tooth decay and other digestive issues caused by the acidic properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar: An Overview
So, apple cider vinegar has both advantages and disadvantages. There are plenty of benefits to using apple cider vinegar, which of course, is why it is such a popular home remedy! However, it is still worth noting that apple cider vinegar can cause some unwanted side effects.
When used in moderation apple cider vinegar can be a perfectly healthy and safe product to use. With this in mind, the best way to include apple cider vinegar into your diet is through cooking. This way, you benefit from its numerous properties and health benefits, with minimal risk of side effects.
Of course, if you still want to drink apple cider vinegar – don’t drink it neat. Apple cider vinegar can be added as a teaspoon to hot water and consumed diluted. Alternatively, you can add a teaspoon to smoothies – a healthy choice and it hides the taste! For the sake of your teeth, you probably shouldn’t drink apple cider vinegar daily.
When it comes to natural skincare, there are plenty of other alternatives to apple cider vinegar. In fact, did you know that carrot skins can help give you glowing skin? Well, they can! You can even use it as a face mask – honestly!