8 Delicious Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes to Satisfy the Whole Family
The Possible Health Benefits and Health Risks of Using Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Diet
Over the last decade, the reputation of apple cider vinegar has transformed from mere pantry staple to popular cooking ingredient linked to potential weight loss, acne relief, and blood sugar reduction. “Apple cider vinegar is indeed a superfood,” says Robin Foroutan, RDN, a holistic health coach at the Morrison Center in New York City and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She explains that the vinegar has been used as a home remedy for hundreds of years across several cultures.
Made from apple cider, this tan-hued additive contains a key component called acetic acid, which has been used medicinally as far back as the 1800s. Although research on the diet fad is limited, studies so far suggest it may help aid in the detection and treatment of certain cancers.
For instance, a study published in December 2014 in theJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatologywas performed on the cells of rats and humans. The results suggested apple cider vinegar may point to a treatment for , though more research would be needed to confirm this in humans.
For personal use, apple cider vinegar may offer a wide variety of health benefits. “Diluted apple cider vinegar can help improve digestion and may even improve overall gut health by promoting healthier populations of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. It may also support weight loss and improve blood sugar control,” Foroutan says.
Research published in the journalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolismsupported the idea that apple cider vinegar may help lower blood sugar for people with diabetes. In four randomized controlled crossover clinical trials, researchers found that, when consumed with complex carbs, apple cider vinegar helped people with diabetes lower their blood sugar by 20 percent more than subjects in the control group, who did not consume apple cider vinegar.
In addition, apple cider vinegar may be helpful as a topical treatment for acne when diluted with water, says Foroutan, who has anecdotally seen success with the antidote in her own practice, though there’s a lack of research on the vinegar for this purpose.
“Skin is naturally slightly acidic, so a slightly acidic toner [such as ACV] can help keep skin healthy,” Foroutan says. “It can be used topically, and people generally report excellent results in rebalancing their skin and even diminishing the appearance of scars and dark spots.”
It’s important to note that due to the limited research on apple cider vinegar, there may also be health risks to using it regularly in your diet. For instance, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may eat away at tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities, according to a preliminary lab study published in 2014 in the journalClinLab.
If you decide to take apple cider vinegar as a daily supplement, make sure to dilute it with water, tea, or another nonalcoholic liquid of your choice before drinking, as undiluted apple cider vinegar can irritate the throat. “The typical recommendation is 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water,” Foroutan says.
Although there have been reports where long-term use of apple cider vinegar resulted in potassium and bone loss, there have been no controlled studies to support this conclusion, so diluted apple cider vinegar is still generally considered safe for both cooking and as a supplement. “There really aren’t any risks associated with apple cider vinegar as long as it’s used diluted."
Foroutan says she is unaware of any interactions between apple cider vinegar and medication, but as with any supplement, people currently taking diuretics, or medication for diabetes or another condition, should make sure to talk with their doctors before adding apple cider vinegar to their health regimen. In small amounts, it is perfectly fine to use in soups, salad dressings, marinades, and other foods.
Despite its intense taste, apple cider vinegar can be used to brighten or add a tang to both sweet and savory dishes — including many that the whole family will likely enjoy.
Video: Nutritionist-Approved Apple Cider Vinegar Snacks
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