Apple cider vinegar is an all-singing, all-dancing ingredient to keep in your store cupboard. Not only can you use it to liven up salad dressing – it has a host of health benefits, as well as affordable natural beauty uses.
Here are 12 surprising ways to use Apple Cider Vinegar:
1. Soothe a Sore Throat
Due to apple cider vinegar’s antibacterial qualities, gargling with it can help combat the bacteria causing a sore throat. This hasn’t been proven in scientific studies, but as far as home remedies goes, it’s worth a try.
Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water, and use it to gargle away. Whether or not it ‘cures’ your sore throat is up for debate – but the tingly sensation it leaves you with will likely provide some relief from the pain!
2. A Natural Facial Toner
Forget expensive facial toners packed full of unpronounceable ingredients – apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that compete with the fanciest of cosmetic brands on the market.
Plus – it’s an all-natural option and arguably safer in the long run. Just make sure to dilute the solution; 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water is what most beauty aficionados recommend. Apply it onto your face using a cotton pad (don’t worry – the smell will go as soon as it dries!)
3. Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is a way of measuring the amount of insulin your pancreas needs to secrete to regulate blood sugar. Basically: you want to have a fairly high insulin sensitivity to maintain good health and lower the risk of type II diabetes. While it’s no cure and more investigation is needed, one study has revealed that adding vinegar to a high-carb meal improved insulin sensitivity by 34% – even in people with insulin resistance or type II diabetes. So next time you’re chowing down to a carb-laden meal, consider adding 1-2 tablespoons to your water to help curb the effect of the blood sugar spike.
Note: If you’re currently taking blood sugar-lowering medications, check with your doctor before increasing your intake.
4. To help with PCOS
Another health condition that could be improved by apple cider vinegar’s insulin sensitivity-boosting effects is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A small study of women with PCOS who took vinegar for 90–110 days revealed that four out of the seven women resumed normal ovulation.
While other lifestyle and dietary changes would have played a factor, it’s clear that PCOS is related to blood sugar regulation, and apple cider vinegar can help the body in a gentle, natural way.t
5. A deodorizing foot soak
Apple cider vinegar is known to have antibacterial properties. Because of this, it’s often claimed that it can eliminate bad smells.
Try it out by mixing apple cider vinegar with water to make a natural alternative to odor-neutralizers. You can also mix it with water and Epsom salts to make a foot soak like this. This may help eliminate unwanted foot odor by killing off odor-causing bacteria.
6. Detangle Long Hair
You can make a simple hair rinse after shampooing that can not only remove product buildup but also detangle your hair – and add a lovely shine.
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with one part water and pour the rinse over your hair. Leave it in for a few minutes before washing it out. Again, the smell might put you off for a bit – but this goes as soon as your hair is dry.
7. Make Delicious Sweet Treats
A wonderful gift for the holidays – or just a fun weekend project – homemade caramels can be made using this multi-purpose ingredient. This recipe uses apple cider vinegar and just two other ingredients to make a delicious sweet and sour-taffy.
8. Help With Portion Control
Apple cider vinegar is sometimes recommended as a weight loss aid – but keep in mind this is not because it ‘burns fat’ or ‘raises metabolism.’ The weight loss benefits studies have shown are related to its satiating effects: taking apple cider vinegar before and during a meal may help you feel more full. When we feel more satiated, we’re less likely to go for seconds or pile our plate quite so high. If portion control is something you struggle with, it might be worth adding some apple cider vinegar (try two tablespoons) to your water and sipping it before and during your meals.
9. Soothe An Upset Stomach
If you have diarrhea or an upset stomach caused by a bacterial infection, apple cider vinegar could help contain the problem, thanks to its antibiotic properties. Additionally, it’s believed that the pectin it contains can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into one cup of water.
10. Relieve Athlete’s Foot
The itching of the Athlete’s foot can be relieved with an apple cider foot soak. Add five cups of apple cider vinegar for every gallon of water used. Soak your feet for at least ten minutes, and do this every day for ten days. When you pull your feet out, finish with a cotton ball dipped in vinegar and swab it all over the most affected areas.
11. A Safe Way To Wash Fruit and Vegetables
No one wants to eat the pesticide residue left on fruits and vegetables. Rather than buy an expensive cleaner, you can use apple cider vinegar to wash fruits and vegetables. The idea is that it will remove more chemical residues than water alone.
In addition, it may help kill any dangerous bacteria lurking in your food, like E. coli and Salmonella.
12. To Recover After a Workout
Lactic acid builds up in our bodies, often due to high-intensity exercise and sometimes extreme stress. The effect this has is general fatigue as the body works to release the acidic build-up. Interestingly, the amino acids in apple cider vinegar act as a kind of antidote to this lactic build-up.
Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium and enzymes that may help you feel a natural energy boost. After your next workout, try adding a tablespoon or two of this to a glass of water to help speed up recovery.
Rick Kaselj MS, is a leading kinesiologist and injury specialist as well as co-creator of the best-selling Unlock Your Hip Flexors program. Rick creates exercise programs that help people heal injuries and eliminate pain, so they can go back to living a full, active, healthy life.