There are old wives’ tales galore that claim certain substances as miraculous cure-alls. Some people swear by chicken soup for colds or tea tree oil to dry up bothersome pimples, but one remedy has been gaining particular traction lately: apple cider vinegar!
From health benefits for you and your pets to boosting your home cleaning routine, apple cider vinegar benefits are not to be ignored! Read on to discover 17 amazing apple cider vinegar benefits you can start taking advantage of right away!
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
In all likelihood, you’ve encountered apple cider vinegar before. It’s a common household staple that can be found at just about any grocery store or inside any pantry. But what is apple cider vinegar? Put simply, apple cider vinegar is a form of fermented apple juice (or hard cider) that’s been transformed into vinegar over time. You can accomplish this by adding yeast to apple juice and leaving it alone to ferment for some time!
1. Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
One of the apple cider vinegar benefits that many people swear by is its ability to help lower blood sugar! According to those who have looked into it, fermented substances such as apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar after eating, which can be helpful to people with diabetes.
However, little research has been done to confirm this, and it’s certainly not recommended as a replacement for medication; still, apple cider vinegar isn’t harmful in small amounts, so it’s not going to hurt anything to test it out. Just be sure to water it down before consuming it, as its acidity can damage tooth enamel and cause stomach discomfort.
2. Fighting Obesity
Ironically, though apple cider vinegar can irritate the stomach, one of the popular benefits of apple cider vinegar is assistance in fighting obesity. According to those who have tried it, apple cider vinegar can help inspire a feeling of fullness, killing the desire for excessive snacking or overeating at meals. Some even claim it can reduce fat. However, once again, there isn’t much scientific back-up for these claims, and it’s not recommended as a replacement for other methods of fighting obesity such as exercise and proper diet.
3. Dandruff Treatment
One of the apple cider vinegar benefits with more evidence to back it up is its ability to reduce the occurrence of dandruff! If you suffer from a dry and flaky scalp, an apple cider vinegar rinse makes for a great at-home remedy you can make yourself with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen!
Apple cider vinegar is lauded as both an antifungal and a potentially pH-balancing substance, which can soothe your scalp and prevent dandruff from taking over. Simply mix one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water and follow these instructions.
Another of the apple cider vinegar benefits with more proof of its usefulness is its function as a deodorizer! If you suffer from body odor that resists ordinary remedies, you can apply apple cider vinegar to your armpits, feet, or anywhere else you want odor eliminated. Dilute with water, pat or spray the mixture on, and allow it to dry. The vinegar scent won’t last too long, and supposedly the vinegar works to fight off the bacteria that causes body odor.
5. Sore Throat Treatment
The next item on the list of apple cider vinegar benefits is a bit more skeptical, but some people swear by it. Though the acid in the vinegar could cause throat irritation under normal circumstances, it’s thought that its antibacterial qualities can help fight off the infection causing your discomfort in the first place. In any case, it can’t hurt to try! You can always gargle saltwater if you’re a bit leery to try this home remedy, but if that’s not doing the trick, apple cider vinegar is a great backup option. Again, make sure to dilute before consumption.
6. Heart Health
A handful of studies on both people and animals have shown that apple cider vinegar works well to reduce high cholesterol levels, which in turn can improve heart health and lower your risk of heart disease! If you don’t care to consume it directly, no worries—you can make a difference simply by switching out your salad dressing to one containing apple cider vinegar. If you’re looking to use it to improve your pet’s health, you can add it to their water and let them lap it up from there.
7. Skin Conditions
Similar to its ability to reduce dandruff, the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can be used to soothe various skin conditions, such as eczema. You can either dilute and spray it on the affected area (similar to the deodorizing method) or you can add apple cider vinegar to your bath and soak in the healing benefits!
Some people suggest using this method to relieve discomfort and pain from sunburns, and this might work on occasion; however, most sources agree that there’s no proven benefit to this, and it could actually cause more harm than good. Thanks to the acidic properties of the vinegar, bathing in apple cider vinegar with a sunburn could actually intensify the irritation of your skin. Though it might work as a placebo, or for more mild sunburns, I don’t suggest risking it!
8. Window Cleaner
Strangely enough, one of the benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it makes for a great window cleaner! Just mix with water and a bit of rubbing alcohol and get to work on that streaky glass. You should have a crystal-clear view of the outdoors back in no time.
9. Fly and Gnat Traps
This is one of the most popular benefits of apple cider vinegar out there; in fact, I’ve had to use it to set up a fly trap or two myself! If you find your home infested with bothersome fruit flies in the warmer months and can’t seem to get rid of them no matter what, try setting out a dish with apple cider vinegar and add a couple drops of dish soap. Be careful not to mix the two together; simply add the drops and leave them be. You should find a heap of drowned fruit flies after letting it sit for a while!
10. Fruit and Vegetable Cleaning
If you want to be sure that your fruits and vegetables are pesticide-free before using them to snack on or to cook with, you can rinse them with apple cider vinegar to ensure thorough removal. The acid in the vinegar helps thoroughly remove all traces of pesticides from the surface of your fruits and vegetables. This is one task you won’t want to dilute the vinegar for; full-strength apple cider vinegar is best to be certain you’ve removed all pesticides!
11. All-purpose Cleaner
Though it makes for a great window cleaner, apple cider vinegar benefits for cleaning don’t stop there! You can use this vinegar to make a cheap but powerful all-purpose cleaner for just about any kitchen or bathroom surface. The acid in the vinegar helps break down dirt, bacteria, and any dried-on messes. Mix one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle and scrub away! (However, keep in mind that while vinegar is good for basic cleaning, it’s not considered a particularly powerful disinfectant.)
12. Flea preventative
While I’ve already discussed the apple cider vinegar benefits for the heart health of your pets, it can be useful for keeping them healthy on the outside, too! If fleas are a big problem in your area and you don’t want to deal with expensive and sometimes messy flea treatments, you can whip up a homemade solution using apple cider vinegar. Mix apple cider vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and spray over your pet’s coat, allowing it to dry. While this won’t kill any fleas already in your pet’s coat, it might prevent more from making a home there. Fleas don’t care for the smell of the vinegar.
Cooking and Food Preparation
13. Salad Dressing
If you’re looking for a way to work apple cider vinegar benefits into your daily routine but feel grossed out by the idea of consuming it directly, there are other options for you. If you’re a salad dressing enthusiast, you can purchase or make your own apple cider vinegar salad dressing to add to your veggie-heavy meals! This is a great way to get your daily dose of apple cider vinegar without putting yourself through the ordeal of tasting it plain. Because let’s be honest—that’s no one’s favorite flavor!
Thanks to the vinegar and apple bite to apple cider vinegar, it can make a great addition to all kinds of recipes. You can use it to add flavor to soups, stews, meatballs, and several other dishes. You can even use it to tenderize meat if you’re short a meat mallet!
Speaking of meat, if you’re looking for something to spice up your usual marinade, apple cider vinegar is a great choice. Not only will it soften the meat as mentioned, but it will add a nice tang to it without too much extra effort on your part. However, apple cider vinegar isn’t the kind of ingredient you want to add to an overnight marinade; the meat might break down too much. It’s best to use it only if you plan to marinade for a handful of hours.
16. Pickling Agent
Like most vinegar, apple cider vinegar works brilliantly as a pickling agent! It preserves food well and is actually considered particularly great for pickling, as its sweet, apple-y hints of flavor meld well with common pickling spices.
17. Vegan Buttermilk Ingredient
Apple cider vinegar in a dessert—that sounds crazy, right? Well, we’re about to get a little wild! If you’re a vegan looking for a way to make beloved desserts without dairy while keeping the delicious flavor you’re looking for, apple cider vinegar may be your solution. If your recipe requires buttermilk, you can make a vegan substitute by mixing a cup of soy or almond milk (depending on your preference) with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and voila! Your baking days are saved!
Where to Buy
As previously mentioned, you can find apple cider vinegar in just about any grocery store. It’s not particularly expensive; you can usually find it for between one and five dollars, depending on brand and bottle size. However, if you’re a fan of making things yourself, you can make a “scrap” version of apple cider vinegar at home using just discarded apple scraps, water, and sugar!
I recommend using Annurca Apples if you can find them, but it’s not likely you’ll be able to track them down if you live in the US. You can use any apple to make apple cider vinegar, but keep in mind whether you want the final flavor to lean sweet or tart (or a mix of both!) while choosing your base apple.
Which Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits Will You Take Advantage Of?
Now that you have this handy list of apple cider vinegar benefits, you can dig that bottle out of your pantry and put it to good use! Which of these apple cider vinegar benefits are you planning on testing out first? Let me know in the comments!