Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries in folklore medicine for healing all types of ailments – from coughs and colds to wounds – but you might not be aware of its natural beautifying benefits, too. The rosy-hued vinegar can be used both topically to improve the look of your hair and skin, and internally to boost gut health by encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria in our bodies.
So what makes apple cider vinegar so great?
When it comes to ACV’s beauty and health benefits, it’s all about the ‘mother’. If you look at a bottle of ACV, you’ll see strands of mother – made up of protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria – floating around. This is the good stuff, so be sure to shake the bottle before use.
While it’s often referred to as a ‘health tonic’, this humble elixir is not the easiest to swallow! It has an initial pungent odour and taste that is uniquely bitter, so incorporating it into your daily routine can be a challenge. But there are a few simple ways that work.
Although some brave types take a shot straight from the bottle, experts warn against this. It’s recommended to either use a straw or drink it diluted in water, as swallowing it straight can cause damage to your enamel or even oesophagus. Yikes! A gentler way to reap the benefits is to mix a tablespoon into your 500ml water bottle and sip throughout the day. Or, use it on salads in place of sugar-laden balsamic vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a purse-friendly addition to your cosmetic cabinet. It’s used for a variety of hair and skin concerns. Here are just five:
1. For shinier hair
Use as a final rinse through hair for extra shine and to stimulate hair growth. The acidity of ACV is PH balancing to your strands, closing the cuticle and giving you glossier locks.
2. As a pore-reducer
Use ACV (diluted with water) to make your own skin toner. This can be used to tighten large pores caused by excess oil, sun damage, and stress at any age.
3. For smoother skin
High in the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) citric acid (commonly found in expensive beauty products), it helps exfoliate the skin surface, decreasing wrinkles and age spots to reveal glowier-looking skin.
4. For better smelling feet
The acids in ACV make it quite good at neutralising bad odours. Add 4 tablespoons to a small tub of warm water and soak feet for 20 minutes.
5. For fading pigmentation
ACV contains acetic acid, known to reduce hyperpigmentation. But, be warned: it can also burn dry or sensitive skin. So dilute it (equal parts water) and only apply for 2 minutes before washing off with warm water.
While much has been written about the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar, there hasn’t been enough peer-reviewed research to truly prove how effective it is. Possible health advantages include its ability to promote alkalinity in the body, which can balance PH levels and reduce inflammation. For people who swear by it, this elixir is said to:
- Heal an out-of-whack digestive tract – easing bloating, indigestion and heartburn – thanks to antimicrobial properties that reduce bad bacteria.
- Fight arthritis – by lowering inflammation.
- Help treat Type 2 diabetes – by reducing a spike in blood sugar levels after meals.
- Fight an overgrowth of candida (yeast infection) – thanks to its antifungal and
- Aid in weight loss – by suppressing appetite and managing blood sugar.
Bragg about it
One of the most popular ACV brands is Bragg Organic with the ‘mother’. The mother is formed during the fermentation process and gives the vinegar its cloudy appearance. This is the healthiest part!