Apple cider vinegar is a miracle ingredient for everything from detoxing the body daily to soothing the scalp. But there are additional benefits brought by this pungent staple ingredient to boost health and help your keto diet.
It may take getting used to if you chug it ‘straight’ to cleanse the palette and prime the gut in the morning, but apple cider vinegar is known to aid in weight loss, burning fat, curbing the appetite, and lowering one's risk of cancer.
Plus, apple cider vinegar aids in regulating blood sugar and supporting metabolic health to avoid common disorders like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
With so many tangible benefits to speak of, ACV presents like a panacea of sorts. It's affordable, highly accessible, and its medicinal and health-related uses are virtually endless!
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Your excitement to learn more about the many great uses of ACV is palpable, but first, let's cover what apple cider vinegar is and how to produce it, as well as the vast ways to use it.
We can make vinegar from most fruits, and apple cider vinegar relies on—you guessed it—apples! Fermenting apples or apple juice breaks down the sugars in said fruit, while allowing good bacteria to proliferate, creating cider vinegar.
Next, the naturally occurring bacteria in apples convert ethanol from the cider into acetic acid, resulting in a product consisting of 94-95% water and 5-6% acetic acid.
Plus, apple cider vinegar is mineral-rich and contains lactic, citric, and malic acids and gut-healthy bacteria. Although ACV is light in other nutrients like fiber, it shines as a nutritional powerhouse thanks to its present acids and a broad spectrum of phytonutrients.
Also, the various medicinal uses for apple cider vinegar have deep historical roots in many cultures. ACV is long renowned as a natural treatment for the following:
- To lower blood sugar: We’ve mentioned ACV’s ability to lower blood sugar, with one study in people with type 2 diabetes finding that taking two tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar at bedtime for two days lowered fasting blood sugar levels by as much as 6%!
- Aids in feelings of satiety: Plus, in addition to reducing blood sugar, we’ve shared that ACV can aid in appetite control. But apple cider vinegar also helps with feelings of fullness and satiety when consumed with meals.
- Helps preserve food: Apple cider vinegar, like other vinegars, is great for preserving and pickling foods. It works by making the food more acidic, which kills bacteria that may cause spoilage by disabling specific enzymes.
- As a deodorizer: Along with its many culinary uses, ACV is a natural and chemical-free deodorant that naturally eliminates odors. Plus, studies reveal that ACV kills bacteria, and can help purify and improve your indoor air quality.
- As a critical ingredient for a salad vinaigrette: ACV adds a nice tang and zing to salad dressings which can brighten the flavors of an otherwise heavy dish.
- To make an all-purpose cleaner: Again, the uses of ACV extend far beyond the kitchen. You can also whip up a simple yet versatile all-purpose cleaner with ACV that rivals any store-bought selection, since it significantly cuts through dirt and grit.
To soothe a sore throat: There are many medicinal uses for ACV, and soothing a sore throat is one on the long list of ailments it helps. Add a teaspoon or two of ACV and salt to warm water.
Gargle the mixture for 20 to 30 seconds, two to three times a day, to relieve a sore throat.
- As a facial toner: A quality skin toner can make all the difference in the texture and appearance of the skin, and ACV is an excellent homeopathic option to keep your face looking fresh and your complexion clear.
- To capture fruit flies: Banish pesky fruit flies without the need for harsh chemicals. Add apple cider vinegar to a jar, cover with plastic wrap, secure the seal with a rubber band, and poke tiny holes in the wrap. The vinegar will draw the fruit flies in, and once they're inside, they’re captured by the plastic wrap barrier. Problem solved!
- To boil Michelin-worthy eggs: Adding vinegar to boiling water and creating a swirl creates the perfect environment for poaching an egg. The vinegar helps create the egg’s pouch and prevents it from breaking apart while cooking.
- As a brine base: The acidity in ACV creates the perfect brine to tenderize foods before cooking; it’s a step not to miss.
- As a marinade: Taking time and using a marinade to infuse flavor into your foods overnight is an excellent way to enhance flavor and help tenderize the food. Even if you’re short on time, at least an hour of marination will make a world of difference in the taste and texture.
- As a fruit and veggie wash: ACV is an antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent and can work as an all-natural veggie and fruit cleanse when mixed with water.
- To clean dentures: ACV helps clean and detoxify and the same is true when applying it to the surface of dentures, too.
- As a hair rinse: The antibacterial element of ACV and its Ph level makes it an excellent scalp rinse to prevent issues like dandruff and eczema.
- As a weed killer: With the right combination of ACV and water, you have a fantastic weed tamer.
- In a sauce: Add a serving of apple cider vinegar to your sauce and as it reduces and simmers down it will balance out the saltiness in your sauce while adding a hint of sweetness.
- In a soup: It adds complexity and deeper background notes to stock and is excellent at ratcheting up flavor.
- As a mouthwash: Alcohol-based mouthwashes on the market sweep the mouth and kill all present bacteria, but we then lose the benefits of the natural good bacteria. However, a mouthwash made from ACV only kills bad bacteria in your mouth.
- In homemade cakes and candies: Apple cider vinegar’s fruity flavor adds a delightful note to cakes and candies. Plus, apple cider vinegar can aerate a multitude of baked goods—giving them an added lift and fluffiness.
- To clean your toothbrush: You can dip your toothbrush in a jar filled with a mixture of ACV and baking soda for 30 minutes to refresh and cleanse it completely.
- As a natural deodorant: ACV facilitates a regulated skin pH balance and gently removes dead skin cells. The exfoliating effect of ACV also works to lighten dark armpits over time.
To treat acne: You can easily make your own apple cider vinegar spot treatment, simply pat a small amount onto the affected area with a soaked cotton swab or cotton ball during your skin care routine, day and night.
And since ACV is a powerful antibacterial, it may aid in preventing those bothersome blemishes from fully forming, avoiding the problem altogether.
- To get rid of warts: Dip a cotton ball in ACV and bandage it on the wart, preferably overnight. Change to a clean cotton ball with each application and repeat until the wart disappears.
- As a dish detergent: ACV can clean more than fruits and veggies. Easily blend ACV and water to create a stellar dish detergent that’s safe enough to eat!
Plus, many cultures note using vinegar to treat swelling, poison ivy rash, dry cough, stomachache, and elevated blood sugar as a potent home remedy.
How Is It Different from Other Vinegar?
You've probably noticed that there are many varieties of vinegar. From red wine to balsamic and everything in between, there are nuances, and apple cider vinegar is the most unique of all.
While people use other vinegar in culinary applications, ACV is needed to insert medicinal value and premium mineral content.
Other naturally-fermented kinds of vinegar such as rice, balsamic, and red wine provide some health benefits. Still, ACV is a standout selection because of its effects on blood glucose, lipids, and weight loss.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Helpful on Keto?
The sugar in the apples, when fresh, are virtually all gone by the time you have vinegar, and one tablespoon of ACV only bares a meager 0.1g of carbohydrates, along with redeeming trace amounts of minerals and phytonutrients.
Plus, the keto diet and apple cider vinegar offer some similar health benefits. And when working together, you're the recipient of their beautiful symbiotic relationship.
Apple cider vinegar and metabolic ketosis work wonders to regulate blood sugar and stabilize insulin production and use. Also, among the family of acids found in ACV, acetic acid slows the breakdown of starches and provides a slower and more steady release of blood glucose.
Also, a review of clinical trials found that adding vinegar to the diet for 8-12 weeks caused a minor (yet notable) reduction in mean HbA1c, a benchmark of long-term glycemic control.
Plus, animal-based studies revealed that ACV aids in preventing fat storage while boosting the efficacy of genes responsible for burning fat! However, further targeted studies in humans are needed to determine whether the result replicates in humans.
However, the established glucose-regulating benefits of ACV and the ketogenic diet are evidence enough that adding apple cider vinegar to your daily routine is a wise move to support improved health and vitality.
We've alluded to the perks of pouring a portion of ACV into your next dressing, sauce, or smoothie, but if you need some more benefits to seal the deal and give this age-old ingredient a try. Here are five great reasons to include apple cider vinegar into your keto protocol:
1 - For blood sugar support: Apple cider vinegar is a fantastic homeopathic tool to manage glucose levels and maintain healthy insulin regulation, as we've mentioned.
Plus, pairing ACV with a keto diet that's naturally low in carbs—therefore demanding less insulin in response to the lower glucose levels present in the body—gives your pancreas a welcomed rest.
Preliminary studies suggest that ACV may increase glucose uptake, improving the body's insulin sensitivity. Still, additional study is needed to determine whether we can entirely add these benefits to the miraculous wonders of this unique variety of vinegar.
2 - To control appetite: Following a restricted caloric diet can prove challenging for some. It may be because folks have a ravenous appetite—possibly deregulated from a lifetime of eating a Standard American Diet (SAD).
Even mega-celebrities like Beyoncé have raved about the appetite-suppressing effect experienced and the rapid-weight loss promoted by ACV, in the form of programs like The Master Cleanse that have been so popular for decades.
And with ACV slowing down digestion, that further leads to a more steady release of blood glucose—improving overall blood sugar levels and regulation.
Plus, if the strong taste and smell of the potent potion aren't your cup of tea, that may also contribute to curbing your appetite, even if only temporarily. But seriously, you can take ACV in capsule form if you can't stomach the taste, so you can still reap the many benefits of the vinegar painlessly.
3 - To promote weight loss: As we've mentioned, many tout the ability of ACV to temper hunger and cravings when consumed regularly, and that can certainly add up to significant losses on the scale over time.
Plus, the acetic acid found in other antioxidant-rich fruits, like pomegranates, has similar upregulating fat oxidation effects as shown in the study in mice testing the same acid in ACV. Acetic acid is linked to weight loss and is present in ACV, but this association is not an explicit endorsement as a silver bullet to weight loss.
Still, the potential promise of boosting body fat loss is another plus in favor of this powerhouse ingredient.
4 - To promote cardiovascular health: Apple cider vinegar provides several benefits geared toward supporting those interested in losing body fat while following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
However, add its anti-inflammatory benefits and its ability to help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, blood lipids, and triglycerides—all of which aid in supporting a healthy heart—and ACV acts as a broad-spectrum supplement, aiding in several vital functions in the body.
Acetic acid is a powerful ingredient, but the potent polyphenols (a.k.a., plant compounds) in ACV are likely a significant contributor to its heart-healthy effects, as well. Although polyphenols are not nutrients, they exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions that greatly benefit healthy heart function. However, only further study will reveal the complete picture.
5 - To fight bacteria and viruses: Anything we can do to boost immunity and fight invasive bacteria and viruses in these times is worth the effort. The stronger we are, the better chance we have to thwart threats that could pose us harm.
Since ACV is acidic, it can kill bacteria, fungi, and possibly even viruses! Of course, which pathogens ACV can eliminate is worth a deeper glance—but knowing that ACV is a potential tool against harmful pathogens of any kind is exciting.
The more we look into the matter, the more ACV appears an essential and crucial element to add to any well-rounded health arsenal in these times.
And some research has found that ACV can protect against E. coli, S. aureus, Candida, and even the bacteria that cause tuberculosis—with one study finding that disinfecting cleaning surfaces with malt vinegar destroyed the flu virus!
Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Keto
As we've shared, there are many beneficial uses for apple cider vinegar. And we want to share as many as possible with you to help you maximize its uses while enjoying the many perks of living the keto life.
We see several overlapping benefits that compound one another's effects further to boost health and support feelings of wellness and vigor when examining the symbiotic relationship between the ketogenic diet and apple cider vinegar. They’re the perfect pair to elevate ketone levels while harnessing glucose—creating the perfect equilibrium.
While ACV provides several general advantages, there are some specific ways to wield the power of this wonderous ingredient when eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Here are some points worth noting
Make a “detox” drink.
We see ACV as the centerpiece of various detox plans, most notably the once wildly popular Master Cleanse, because of its purifying and detoxifying properties.
Our liver and kidneys do a fabulous job of detoxing our bodies daily, if healthy. But adding a spoonful of ACV to a glass of water and drinking it first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day with an added boost of cleansing to remove debris and other matter that no longer serves us.
We can't promise a specific amount of detox while using ACV. Still, the countless tales of members within the Konscious Keto community and the wellness community worldwide make it intriguing, at the very least.
Plus, ACV aids in digestion and primes the gut for perfect functioning throughout the day. And, for enhanced taste, you can incorporate other yummy and antioxidant-rich ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, or lemon juice to lessen the strong flavor of the vinegar.
Add it to salad dressings.
Apple cider vinegar imparts a slightly sweet and mild flavor to salad dressings, like yogurt-based or vinaigrette varieties. Plus, using Bragg's brand or another containing the 'mother' adds a more complex depth of flavor that improves any dish it graces with its presence.
Use it for marinades.
Using acidic liquids like ACV or lemon and lime juice is an excellent brine for fish and meat. The vinegar tenderizes the meat and prepares it to absorb seasonings.
Plus, marinating chicken, fish, or other cuts of meat in an acidic base brings out a depth of flavor that's hard to achieve otherwise. And with fewer carbs than lemon or lime, ACV is the perfect splash of acid to add to any marinade.
Add it to stir-fries.
A variety of sauces, like sweet and sour, include vinegar to create a distinct tang and brighten the dish's flavor. Plus, adding vinegar to meals with fattier fare can make a delicious, divine balance.
Please don’t overdo it.
Too much of a good thing can be damaging. Adding a couple of tablespoons a day will provide the health benefits we've shared. However, overdoing it with ACV can lead to hypokalemia (low blood potassium) and osteoporosis—so beware.
Use ACV within reason, and you should reap all the benefits without causing imbalances or other issues in the body.
Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands on the Market
Raw and unfiltered vinegar containing the mother—a large base colony of healthful bacteria—is an excellent way to boost digestion. In addition, some studies show that the “mother” contains healthy compounds that may further enhance ACV’s beneficial effects.
Here are some of our favorite apple cider vinegar brands to use while following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet:
- BRAGG Organic raw apple cider vinegar – a fan favorite for those in the wellness community and likely the best-known organic ACV on the market right now.
- EDEN organic apple cider vinegar
- Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fleischmann Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother
Adding apple cider vinegar to your arsenal is a powerful tool for anyone eating a ketogenic diet. From glucose regulation to torching fat and aiding in suppressing the appetite, ACV can act as a dieter's secret weapon.
Plus, ACV doubles as a unique ingredient in cooking and meal preparation, adding a special zing and elevating a given dish's flavors.
Also, while ACV can irritate when consumed in excess, it appears to offer a variety of health benefits when added to the diet in moderation consistently—again, a tablespoon or two a day should do the trick.
As you've likely gathered, acetic acid is a vital element in ACV and responsible for many of its health benefits. However, while acetic acid is present in all ACV, organic ACV with the “mother culture” may contain higher bioactive compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well.
Plus, ACV can boost your efforts toward fat-adaptation on a low-carb, high-fat diet because of its glucose regulating properties. Drinking a dose or two of ACV a day can help keep blood sugar spikes at bay—further assisting the body in its effort to transition from using sugar to fat and ketones as a primary fuel.
However, achieving metabolic ketosis relies on more than a swig or two of ACV a day. Therefore, it is essential to closely eliminate high-glycemic foods from your diet and mind labels to avoid consuming hidden sugars that can derail your efforts to cut carbs.
Generations have hailed apple cider vinegar as a miracle food with many medicinal and hygienic uses. The fermentation process produces probiotics and other healthy bacteria that populate the gut and support digestive health to keep you feeling and looking your best.
Besides its medicinal benefit, adding ACV into your pantry as a low-carb condiment is a wise choice for those following a ketogenic diet as it's void of unwanted sugars. And the added weight loss, cardiovascular, antibacterial and antifungal effects of ACV are a bonus worth reiterating.
Whether the main ingredient in your homeopathic remedies or a zesty touch added to sauces and salad dressings, this unique and complex vinegar is a potent and dynamic staple to keep fully stocked in your keto pantry.
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