What Are the Proven Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?

We break down the facts about the $2 household staple.

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Apple cider vinegar is one of those supposed multi-purpose cure-alls, with claims it can do everything from treating dandruff to helping you lose weight. And with bottles costing around $2, it almost seems too good to be true. But is it?

We scoured the research to see which of its uses check out, and the results might surprise you. Here are some of the scientifically proven ways ACV can benefit your health.

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1. It has very few calories.

ACV is a versatile kitchen staple that's commonly used in oil-based salad dressings. While it's been said to help burn fat and curb your appetite, Mayo Clinic claims there's little scientific evidence and it most likely won't lead to weight loss. (Bummer!) But at just three calories per tablespoon and zero grams of fat, it is a healthy way to add flavor to a dish.

2. It may help control blood sugar.

The American Diabetes Association has highlighted a couple small studies that suggest ACV may be able to help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which could be beneficial for people with diabetes. Although the studies featured a small number of participants, the results suggested that a couple teaspoons of ACV a day with food could be effective; however, further research still needs to be done to say it's a definite benefit. But because it's inexpensive and can easily be incorporated into your routine, it's worth trying alongside a healthy diet and exercise.

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3. It can treat jellyfish stings.

This one's pretty interesting. According to a review of several studies, ACV can help soothe a sting from a jellyfish if applied immediately at the site of the sting; the vinegar deactivates the nematocysts, aka the part of the jellyfish that makes you wish you never went in the ocean in the first place. Unfortunately, we don't usually carry a bottle of ACV with us at the beach. Good thing other studies have shown that hot water immersion (not urine!) is most effective for helping soothe stings, anyway.

4. It can clean dentures.

A recent study found that ACV's antifungal properties could fight off candida (aka yeast infection) caused by dentures. A review stated "undiluted vinegar may be used effectively for cleaning dentures, and, unlike bleach solutions, vinegar residues left on dentures were not associated with mucosal damage." Sounds like a natural solution to us!

One word of caution…

While ACV may be healthy, that doesn't mean you should be chugging it. In fact, having it too often or in large amounts could actually hurt you. Mayo Clinic warns that because it's highly acidic, having it too often may irritate your throat.

Another thing to watch out for: It could interact with certain supplements or drugs, creating low potassium levels, so check with a pharmacist before incorporating it into your diet.

Also, some people believe that it can cure skin ailments including warts, but the scientific evidence is lacking. People have been seriously hurt with chemical burns after using it on their skin, which is a good example of why it's so important to talk to your doctor before attempting any home remedies.

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