If you hear the word “vinegar” and cringe, you’re not alone. But there are actually tons of benefits to drinking apple cider vinegar – diluted with water, don’t worry – in terms of your health and wellness. To reap the below benefits, add just 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one glass of water and drink it on an empty stomach right before eating. And no, don’t shoot it straight up – it will hurt and it will be unpleasant.
- It can cancel out carbs. Yeah, you read that correctly. Vinegar is full of something called acetic acid, which actually interferes with the enzymes your stomach uses to digest starch. This interference blocks caloric absorption from those starches, meaning the vinegar is essentially canceling out the carbs you just ate.
- It lessens the blow of a sugar crash. If you sip on some vinegar (again, diluted with water!) before a meal, it can actually work to slow down that rush of sugar to your bloodstream. By doing so, that “spike” in your blood sugar will be more like a mild hill rather than a steep mountain. In the end, you won’t have that debilitating sugar crash.
- It can keep you feeling fuller, longer. A small study found that people who drank vinegar immediately before eating a breakfast consisting of white bread actually felt more satisfied 90 minutes later, while those who just ate the bread – not so much.
- It can give your muscles more of a boost before intense exercise. Studies show that endurance athletes who drink diluted vinegar before their carbo-loading feast then night before a competition perform better. The acetic acid in the vinegar can help the muscles more efficiently turn those carbs into energy for fueling intense bursts of exercise.
- It could help lower your blood pressure. There are a few animal studies out there that show that drinking vinegar can actually lower blood pressure. While these are animal studies and researchers don’t fully understand the mechanisms behind this yet, it’s possible that it could help humans too.
- It can replace unhealthy fats. Salads are obviously a healthy meal choice – until you add those fatty salad dressings. If you want to skinny-up your salad, dilute your favorite dressing (even something creamy like blue cheese) with vinegar. You can end up cutting the calories nearly in half.
- It can help balance your body’s pH levels. Obviously, vinegar is acidic, but interestingly, it has a neutralizing effect once it’s in your body. As a result, it can make your pH level more basic, or alkaline. Studies show that people with more alkaline diets (diets rich in veggies and lacking in meat) have better bone mineral density. While that may not mean much to you as a young adult, as you get older, this becomes increasingly important. So, in theory, apple cider vinegar could help strengthen your bones.