Diet and Nutrition
Beneficial Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has become the go-to for every type of digestive upset, wart, acne scar, and even weed.
The organic and fermented apple juice (or double fermented hard apple cider) is left raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized to keep the “mother,” cloudy strings of beneficial enzymes, pectin, and trace minerals, intact. When used internally, externally, or for household cleaning purposes, apple cider vinegar should be shaken vigorously to dispense the “mother” throughout the bottle.
Here are 30 popular ways you can use this safe and beneficial health product…
1. Digestive Soother
It’s safe to assume that the most popular use for apple cider vinegar is digestive. “The prebiotics in ACV are incredibly beneficial to healthy microorganisms that monitor your digestive system. Drinking it can also help regulate the amount of acid in your stomach, which leads to easier digestion,” writes Reader’s Digest.
Personally, I use it as a morning tincture, dissolving a tablespoon into a glass of water to detoxify the digestive system and eliminate toxins from the organs. You can also add a touch of honey if the vinegar is too pungent on its own.
2. Lower Blood Sugar
Believe it or not, apple cider vinegar can be used as a useful remedy for people who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes because it can help lower blood sugar levels. Even people who don’t suffer from diabetes can benefit from apple cider vinegars effects because high blood sugar causes aging and other various chronic diseases. There have been studies that show consuming vinegar after a high-carb meal can lower blood sugar and improve the amount of glucose in the blood by 34-percent, explains Healthline.
“A daily dose of ACV can help stabilize and regulate your blood sugar. This also can prevent [glucose in the blood] resistance, a symptom of pre-diabetes,” says Amy Leigh Mercree, author of Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook to Reader’s Digest. The source adds that there is no evidence this remedy can be used as a replacement to diabetes medications, it could be a preventative measure.
3. Wart Eradicator
Warts can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Most of us have had one at some point our another and we when we get one, we want it gone immediately. Don’t waste your time with pricy over-the-counter wart treatments. Instead, reach for a bottle of apple cider vinegar. The highly acidic nature of apple cider vinegar make it useful for removing warts. Immerse a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it over the wart using medical tape or a Band-Aid. It may sting slightly, but the enzymes in the apple cider vinegar will kill the wart, causing it to turn black and fall off, usually within a week.
4. Enhance Circulation
Dr. Axe cites a 2016 study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal which found that apple cider vinegar can improve circulation in varicosity patients. When applied onto varicose veins there was a reduction in symptoms. The source suggests mixing apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and then scrubbing it in a circular motion on the affected area. This should help circulation and alleviate any varicosity symptoms.
5. Weed Exterminator
Many people don’t like the idea of spraying their lawn or garden with toxic chemicals, but they’re not sure how to get rid of all those pesky little weeds. No worries! We’ve got the perfect homemade remedy to try. Fill a spray bottle with some undiluted apple cider vinegar and spritz it all over the overgrown area. Healthline suggests also mixing the vinegar with soap and lemon juice to make it more effective.
6. Relieve Minor Sunburns
There are many treatments available for sunburns. The most common is an aloe vera lotion or a cool compress. We’ve got another to add to the list! If you’re suffering from a very mild sunburn, mild being the keyword, it is possible to treat it with some apple cider vinegar. You can add the vinegar to a cold bath or mix it with cool water and spray it onto the affected skin. To avoid irritation, do not use it for burns on the face.
Do not ever apply apple cider vinegar to the skin in strong concentrations because it is highly acidic which means it can cause further damage. The solution must always be diluted and do not use it on serious burns. To determine the severity of a burn, consult with a physician.
7. Whiten Teeth
Coffee, red wine, sugary foods, we’ve all fallen victim to a little wear and tear on our teeth. It’s can be hard to keep our pearly whites, well…white. Everything we eat and drink must go past our teeth first, so a little staining here and there is inevitable! If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on store-bought whitening products, we’ve got a DIY whitening remedy to try. Since apple cider vinegar is acidic so it can be useful when it comes to removing stains and whitening teeth. For teeth whitening, take a cotton swab and dip it in some apple cider vinegar. Then take the swab and rub a small amount on your teeth. You won’t see the results right away, but after doing it over the course of a period of time, it could begin to remove stains.
Not only will it whiten teeth, but the enzymes will also aid in the healing of gum cuts, tearing, chronic gum decay, and infection as well as soothe fungal infections (i.e., thrush). To reap some of the oral health benefits, gargle a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. You can even swallow this form of mouthwash if you want the digestive benefits. Just be sure to brush your teeth right after to avoid acid wear.
8. Help with Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a great tool for weight loss because it helps people feel full for longer periods of time. “Vinegar could lead to metabolic changes that support weight loss,” says clinical cardiologist Luiza Petre, MD to Reader’s Digest. “Apple cider vinegar helps in weight loss [by] reducing appetite…and maintaining the fullness after meals longer.”
Healthline cites two studies which found that apple cider vinegar can help people “eat fewer calories, lose weight, and reduce belly fat.” However it’s important to note that consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis won’t make a huge different in terms of weight. The best option is to take ACV in addition to other healthy lifestyle choices like eating clean and exercising regularly. Healthline notes that the weight loss effects of apple cider vinegar seem to only come from its ability to promote fullness and lower blood sugar levels.
9. Soothe Nasty Stings
Bees, wasps, lice, and even jelly fish—a few drops of undiluted apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and applied directly to the area will soothe the pain and swelling almost instantly. The natural acids in the vinegar will almost instantly neutralize the venom and inhibit any further toxins from being released into your skin.
10. Curb Sugar Cravings
Do you suffer from a sweet tooth? If so, apple cider vinegar might be the cure! In addition to helping suppress appetite, apple cider vinegar can help curb cravings because of its acetic acid. To get the best results, try mixing it with a little bit of honey.
Reader’s Digest talked to Rebecca Lee, RN, a New York City nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com who explains “apple cider vinegar is a very low caloric food — three calories per tablespoon.” Despite the fact that it is low calories, it’s got lots of essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and fiber, she adds.
11. Banish Skin Blemishes
Acne is not a fun thing to live through. As a teenager it’s something most of us had to go through, but unfortunately there are many adults who continue to struggle with it well into their twenties and thirties. To treat pesky and embarrassing blemishes try applying diluted amounts of apple cider vinegar. You might be wondering how this works? According to Dr. Axe, certain strains of bacteria cause acne and apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties which makes it the perfect treatment. “ACV also contains specific components like acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid, all of which have been shown to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the specific strain of bacteria responsible for causing acne,” writes the source.
The vinegar can also be used to treat acne scarring. Dr. Axe cites a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which found that the lactic acid in apple cider vinegar can improve “texture, pigmentation and appearance of treated skin as well as a lightening of scars.” The results were found after three months of application.
12. Your Body Will Absorb More Nutrients
There are several health related benefits on this list, but one of the greatest might be that apple cider vinegar increases our overall health by allowing us to absorb nutrients better, suggests Reader’s Digest. All we have to do is eat healthy! Research from the Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry journal found that ACV can increase our intestines ability to absorb calcium and iron.
“The helpful prebiotics in apple cider vinegar that feed our good bacteria allow us to absorb the vitamins and minerals from our food more easily,” says Amy Leigh Mercree, author of Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook. “This also helps our body function better and increases our overall health.”
13. Ward Off Rodents
Are squirrels scurrying up and eating your fruit trees, are rabbits nibbling up your lettuce garden, are raccoons ravaging your recycling bin? Ward off all sorts of rodents by spraying undiluted apple cider vinegar around the perimeter of trees, flowerbeds, and trash bins.
14. Kills Harmful Bacteria
Reader’s Digest talked to Rebecca Lee, RN, a New York City nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com who explains that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which makes it useful for fighting harmful bacteria in the gut. She also mentions that it can improve our immune system because “gut-associated lymphoid tissue represents 70-percent of our immune system,” writes the source. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is what makes it so effective. It is so strong that it can kill pathogenic bacteria like E. coli, harmful microbes, and viruses.
It also wards off the threat of food bacteria. “Increasing stomach acid means the pH level of the stomach goes down, which helps kill any bad microbes that we may get exposed to through our foods,” explains Laura C. Stix, ND, a naturopathic doctor and clinical hypnotherapist to Reader’s Digest. Even more so, due to its anti-bacterial properties, apple cider vinegar can also be used as an all-natural household cleaner because it has the power to kill off germs and keep things looking sparkling clean.
15. Shiny, Strong Hair
Apple cider vinegar is a great beauty remedy. Not only can it help heal skin blemishes, it’s a great natural hair treatment! It can be used to “remove product buildup, detangle and add shine to your hair,” writes Healthline.
To create the mixture, Healthline suggests mixing 1-part apple cider vinegar with 1-part water and then pour it over your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing it out. The source issues a warning for people with sensitive skin to try a diluted version of this first because apple cider vinegar is quite acidic.
16. Prevent Cancer
There isn’t too much research to back this claim up, but there is some and it’s quite promising. For example a 2004 study published in the BioFactors journal found test tube results that suggest apple cider vinegar could have the ability to shrink cancerous cells. “Apple cider vinegar is an alkalizing food that restores the alkaline/acid balance of our body. This is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment,“ says Rebecca Lee, RN, a New York City nurse and founder of RemediesForMe.com to Reader’s Digest.
While these results are promising, Healthlines notes all the studies to do with vinegar and cancer were performed on rats and isolated in test tubes so there is no evidence it will work in humans. However there are some observational studies performed on humans in China and Serbia. The Chinese study found that ACV decreased esophageal cancer while the study in Serbia increased bladder cancer.
17. Good for the Heart
Heart disease is one of the major causes of premature death and for obvious reasons, it’s important that we keep our heart in good health. Luckily one of the many benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it can improve heart health because it has the ability to lower and neutralize cholesterol. Pectin, which is the dietary fiber found in both apples and vinegar, is responsible for neutralizing the bad cholesterol and when consumed regularly, ACV can lower triglycerides. “Apple cider vinegar lowers triglycerides,” says Lee when talking to Reader’s Digest. “Triglycerides causes fatty plaque along your arteries. This buildup can lead to a blockage of blood flow.”
To back this claim up, Healthline cites several studies (all of these were performed on animals, not humans), which found that apple cider vinegar can not only lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but it can also reduce blood pressure which can pose problems for the heart and kidneys. Another Harvard study found that women who consumed ACV in salad dressing had a reduced risk of heart disease.
18. You Breath will Smell Better
In addition to whitening teeth and promoting good oral health, apple cider vinegar could also help with bad breath. Don’t throw away your mouthwash entirely, but rather use apple cider vinegar in addition to mouthwash. To reap the benefits, Reader’s Digest suggests drinking it every day or using it as a mouth rinse.
The source also notes that if you’re going to gargle it, it must be diluted with water. You should also wait half an hour before brushing your teeth so that the acid doesn’t wear down the enamel.
19. Ease Heartburn
In addition to soothing tummy problems which we talked about earlier in this article, apple cider vinegar can also soothe some types of heartburn, acid reflux, as well as digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea. “For heartburn, apple cider vinegar is thought to work because it is acidic, and a lack of stomach acid is believed to trigger heartburn symptoms in some people,” says Very Well Health. You should consult with your doctor first because most heartburn diets advise staying away from acidic foods.
The source also advises to use with caution in general. Some sources recommend swallowing a mouthful of ACV, but it can result in irritation in the mouth and throat. Very Well Health suggests mixing a teaspoon or less in a cup of water or taking it in food. The best time to take it is right before a meal.
20. Get Rid of Dandruff
Dandruff is a common people for people, especially in the winter. It’s not a nice thing to deal with and can be embarrassing. A simple and easy remedy for treating dandruff is spritzing a little bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with water on the scalp. This will help treat flakes, itchiness, and any irritation. So how does it work? Very Well Health explains, “vinegar’s acetic acid may alter the scalp’s pH, making it harder for yeast — one of the main contributors to dandruff–to flourish.”
To make a solution at home, Reader’s Digest suggests mixing ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup of water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it directly onto the scalp. When using the spray, leave it in for 15 minutes before rinsing it out. For the best results, use it about two times a week and be careful about any contact with your eyes and ears. The solution should always be diluted and only used in small amounts. People with colored hair should consult with a professional beforehand because it could affect color treatments.
21. Cure Nighttime Leg Cramps
Ever gotten one of those really cramps in the back of your leg where the muscle quickly seizes up and won’t seem to relax? Those are called leg cramps and they tend to happen when people are low in potassium. Luckily, apple cider vinegar is high in potassium so it can be a great remedy for leg cramps, explains Reader’s Digest. Try mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey into a warm glass of water. Drink this mixture to get relief during a leg cramp.
22. Cure Hiccups
Hiccups are harmless but sometimes they can go on longer than we’d like and can be embarrassing if they come up at the wrong time! Most of us know the old hold your breath trick, but it doesn’t always work! If you’re looking for something new to try, Very Well Health suggests mixing a teaspoon of sugar with a few drops of apple cider vinegar. “The sugar’s grainy texture and the vinegar’s sour taste are said to trigger nerves in the throat and mouth responsible for controlling the hiccup reflex,” writes the source.
If you’re constantly struggling from hiccups, it could be due to a more serious underlying issue like GERD or a hiatal hernia. Check with a healthcare professional because this isn’t a solution you’d want to rely on regularly.
23. Stop Foot Odor
We’ve all been there before…let’s face it, nobody’s feet smell all that great! For those who seem to have a bit of an extra battle on their hands (or should we say feet?), apple cider vinegar might be the solution. Very Well Health notes that this vinegar has proponents in it that balance the skin’s pH and odor causing bacteria. To use this remedy, mix a bit of vinegar with water then take either a cotton pad, baby wipe, small towel or rag and dip it into the solution. Wring it out and then wipe it on the bottom of your feet. You can pre-make wipes and store them in a airtight container.
The source explains that even though the vinegar will smell, it will eventually go away, especially as it dries. To avoid damaging any shoes, don’t wear materials like leather after applying the vinegar.
24. Use as Deodorant
Similar to foot odor, apple cider vinegar can be useful in treating body odor, particularly in the armpits. There is some evidence that ACV can help neutralize armpit bacteria. To use it as a deodorant, make a diluted solution and spray it only a towel, cotton rag, or cotton pad and wipe it on the armpits. Don’t worry about the smell, that just means it’s working and the smell should go away as it dries, says Very Well Health. You can also just dab the solution directly onto your armpits.
Before using it in large amounts, test it on a small area first and avoid wearing delicate fabric like silk after use.
25. Soothe a Sore Throat
There’s nothing worse than an itchy, scratchy, sore throat that just won’t quit. While there are many DIY natural remedies to cure a sore throat and a stuffy nose (we’ll get to that one next), one of the most simple solutions is to gargle a mix of apple cider vinegar. According to Very Well Health, this trick won’t immediately cure a sore throat, but it will help alleviate the pain. There are many different elixirs to try, but this source says one of the most basic is to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of honey, pinch of cayenne pepper and stir it all into a cup of warm water.
We previously mentioned in this article that apple cider vinegar is known for killing harmful bacteria. This is one of the reasons ACV is useful for treating a sore throat. While it won’t cure the sore throat, the vinegar can help fight germs and the capsaicin in the cayenne pepper can soothe the pain. You might be tempted to create a stronger solution to get better results, but remember that apple cider vinegar is highly acidic which means gargling a spoonful on its own could cause mouth and throat irritation or even chemical burns, says Very Well Health.
26. Clear a Stuffy Nose
According to Dr. Axe, apple cider vinegar has good bacteria that can boost the immune system. How does it work? Well, the potassium in apple cider vinegar can help thin mucus and the acetic acid prevents germ growth, says Reader’s Digest. These are both things that contribute to nasal congestion. To find some relief, drink a glass of water that has a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it.
27. Kills Bugs and Fleas
Any pet owner fears fleas and other pests which could be hiding in their pets fur. It’s never a good sign if a dog or cat is suddenly itchy and can’t seem to stop scratching themselves. If you want to stay away from using chemicals on your pet, skip the store-bought flea killers and try using some apple cider vinegar to start. Dr. Axe suggests creating a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and putting it in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on your pets fur once a day until the fleas are gone. This same solution can also be used as a preventative measure to ward off insects.
28. Soothe Seasonal Allergies
There’s nothing worse than allergy season. It leaves people feeling miserable with congestion and itchy, red eyes. If you’re someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, we suggest giving apple cider vinegar a try. “The healthy bacteria found in ACV may promote immunity and support healthy lymphatic drainage to kick seasonal sniffles and allergies to the curb,” says Dr. Axe. To reap the benefits of this remedy, create a diluted solution by mixing water and apple cider vinegar and take two tablespoons of it the next time your allergies flare up.
29. Boost Energy
Everyone needs a little pick me up or boost of energy every now and again, especially after a long hard week. Stress and exercise can cause a build up of lactic acid which then causes fatigue. According to Reader’s Digest, the amino acid in apple cider vinegar can act as an antidote. “What’s more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling,” writes the source. When looking for a little extra boost of energy, mix a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar with a glass of chilled vegetable drink or water and drink up!
30. Preserve Food
We previously talked about how apple cider vinegar can be useful in fighting off bacteria. For similar reasons, this vinegar can also be used as a food preserve. Healthline cites several studies which found that apple cider vinegar can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli on our food and keep it from spoiling.