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7 reasons why apple cider vinegar is good for you

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Some years ago, one could be forgiven for not knowing what apple cider vinegar was. But today, this amber coloured liquid, a type of vinegar made from cider (a fermented alcoholic beverage from fruit juice) or apple must (must is freshly-pressed juice), is a favourite with most women who want to shed the extra kilos. Says dietician and sports nutritionist, Deepshikha Agarwal, “Earlier the awareness about this liquid was nil but nowadays, it is a part of every weight-conscious woman’s diet. In fact, it is very commonly used by dieticians and doctors as part of their diets and treatments respectively.”

Though available as a pill too, experts recommend that apple cider vinegar (ACV) should be used in its liquid form. “While some people find the pill form more convenient as they don’t want to feel the sour taste of vinegar, it is best to consult a nutritionist before you have this supplement in that form,” explains Khushboo Sahijwani, diet and nutrition consultant. Here are the benefits of using ACV as a liquid…

“If one has an acne problem, applying ACV will help you have a clear, healthy skin in few days,” says Agarwal. Gayatri Brown, who makes gourmet artisan bath and body products, adds, “Use one part vinegar with three-four parts water. Apply it to the skin using a cotton swab and rinse after 10 minutes. Repeat this twice every day.”

According to Brown, ACV promotes blood circulation and is often useful against yeast and fungus growth on skin and nails. Due to its antiseptic properties, it prevents the spread of skin allergies or infections. It can also dissolve fatty deposits on the skin’s surface and reduce scaly or peeling conditions.

ACV can also act as a great skin toner. “After washing your face, mix one part of the liquid with two parts water in a bottle. Shake it up, pour some on a cotton swab and wipe on skin,” says Brown.

According to research, this liquid can destroy the fungus malassezia furfur — the most common bacteria causing dandruff — and helps restore the PH balance of the scalp. “Apply a 50/50 mixture of water and the liquid to the scalp. Leave it for two three hours and then, wash and dry your hair,” says Agarwal. Besides treating dandruff, ACV can also help add shine to your hair. Make a solution comprising one cup ACV and two cups of water and pour it through your hair after shampooing, two or three times a week.

ACV acts as a natural deodorant for the body and your feet. “Since it helps adjust the skin’s pH levels, it leads to elimination of odour-causing bacteria. Take cotton balls filled with ACV and wipe it on the part of your body odour or soak your feet for 20 minutes in a bucket of warm water containing two-three cups of ACV to get rid of foot odour,” says Brown.

According to Sahijwani, adding one or two teaspoons of the liquid to a glass of water and having it before dinner, helps to reduce appetite. This is due to a fibre compound, pectin, found in the vinegar that mixes with water and expands in the stomach, causing a decrease in the appetite. It also acts as a liver detox. Often, too much sodium in the diet can lead to water retention in the body and thus, weight gain. “The high amount of potassium helps flush the sodium content out of the body leading to weight loss,” she says.

The acetic acid in ACV helps the absorption of iron, leading to a high oxygen utilisation and as a result, an increase in the body’s metabolic rate.

HOW TO USE ACV IN FOOD To wash the veggies: Add a teaspoon of ACV to a bowl of water with your veggies or fruits and let them soak for at least five minutes. Wash them again with water. As salad dressing: You can add ACV to salad dressings, food preservatives, marinades, vinaigrettes, and chutneys, etc. “Mix it with olive oil, add a little salt and pepper for a healthy salad dressing,” says Sahijwani.

Due to its high acidity, excessive use of ACV may cause the following problems: Lowers the potassium level of your blood and reduces bone mineral density. Direct contact with your mouth can also affect the tooth enamels, leading to their decay. Always dilute ACV by mixing it in water. Those suffering from osteoporosis should take necessary precautions and consult a physician before consuming the vinegar. Direct application of the liquid on skin can cause irritation, rashes and a burning sensation. Prevent the side effects by blending the vinegar with water, honey, juice or a pinch of baking soda. Pregnant women should avoid the consumption of ACV.

By Krutika Behrawala