If you’ve heard of an apple cider vinegar detox and need the details on how it works, how it’s done, and if it’s healthy, you’ve come to the right place. We have the science behind the benefits of apple cider vinegar, cautions about the potential side effects, and a few unique and tasty recipes for detox drinks you may find beneficial.
Before we get to the drink recipes, let’s highlight the reasons why apple cider vinegar (ACV) is included in cleanses and detoxes in the first place.
1. Anti-Diabetic Abilities
Apple cider vinegar has shown promise in the areas of blood sugar control and diabetes management.
Type 2 diabetes can result from any combination of genetic predisposition, poor diet, or an insulin disorder. While it isn’t possible to control for all the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, maintaining stable blood sugar levels and circumventing dangerous spikes can help you avoid the disease entirely. Even those who don’t develop type 2 diabetes may find that high blood sugar levels contribute to other chronic conditions and premature aging.
Vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to respond to insulin) when consumed alongside a high-carb meal, reduce overnight fasting blood sugar levels, lower blood sugar levels after the consumption of white bread (high in sugar), and even improve insulin functioning.
Anyone concerned about their blood sugar levels, including diabetics, pre-diabetics, and those who are health conscious, may benefit from the consumption of apple cider vinegar.
2. Acetic Acid Content
The word “vinegar” is French in origin and translates to “sour wine.” Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the natural sugars in apples so they turn into alcohol. The addition of bacteria further ferment (digest) the substance, turning it into acetic acid. This is the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar (and it’s contained in kombucha as well).
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar products like Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar contain visible strands of enzymes, proteins, and healthy bacteria that cause it to appear murky (these nutrients are known collectively as “the mother” in apple cider vinegar). Acetic acid allows for the survival of “the mother,” which can contain certain probiotic strains that are good for the health of our digestive systems, as well as antioxidants and amino acids that help our bodies stay strong.
3. Anti-Fungal and Antimicrobial Properties
Both good bacteria and bad reside in our bodies, and apple cider vinegar can preserve the good strains while helping to sterilize the bad ones.
The antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar has proven effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans, and has been used medicinally since the age of Hippocrates to disinfect wounds. Used widely for ear, nail, and skin infections, and in cases of parasites like lice, apple cider vinegar can also help preserve food from spoiling, and may even help treat acne when used topically in home remedies (though more research is needed before a scientific consensus is reached).
4. Weight-Loss Aid
One of the most popular modern uses of an apple cider vinegar drink is to aid weight-loss efforts, particularly with the goal of losing dangerous belly fat. Studies have found that consuming vinegar alongside a high-carb meal increases satiety, which then leads to fewer calories consumed throughout the day and ultimately better weight-loss results.
Likewise it’s been found that daily consumption of apple cider vinegar can help lead to reductions in body fat around the midsection, weight that is especially dangerous because it adds pressure on our organs and contributes to visceral fat deposits (fat inside our organs) that puts us at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Heart-Health Contributions
Worldwide, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women, and while most of the apple cider vinegar research in this area has been done on animal models, at least one human case showed that a woman was able to reduce her risk of heart disease while eating vinegar-based salad dressings (you can make your own dressing just like it, along with other low-carb salad dressings).
6. Anti-Cancer Attributes
Studies show that many types of vinegar have the ability to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells in laboratory settings. While this information does not apply to treating cancer cells within the living body of animals or humans, it does give an indication of the anti-cancer power of apple cider vinegar, and may be the reason behind other research findings that link the consumption of vinegar to decreases in both esophageal and bladder cancers. Where the vinegar can reach, it may be able to help prevent cancer.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Benefits and Recipes
Remember “the mother” that can be found in unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar? That may be the key to why apple cider vinegar detox drinks work. Full of beneficial enzymes, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and probiotic gut bacteria, apple cider vinegar detoxification drinks include benefits such as:
- The introduction of healthy digestive enzymes
- Helping to cleanse harmful substances from the body
- Increasing potassium and other nutrient levels
- Digestive and immune system support thanks to probiotic bacteria
- Promoting healthy body weight loss and appetite control
- Better pH balances thanks to acetic acid
- Skin improvement and acne control (when used topically)
While a great deal of the research surrounding apple cider vinegar for use in a detox diet is anecdotal, keep in mind the proven health benefits of the previous section, and decide whether or not you’d like to try an apple cider vinegar detox drink to evaluate the benefits yourself. Here are some of our tailored recipes for smoothies and juices containing apple cider vinegar.
To give an extra boost to our VeggieShake mix, we’ve designed this apple cider vinegar shake with real fruit and veggies to help fill you up with whole food nutrients. With apple, pear, banana, lemon, and chopped spinach or kale, you can cover a significant swath of the food pyramid with this shake, plus some warm water for hydration and a smooth consistency.
Slip in a bit of apple cider vinegar and you’ll hardly notice it. Camu camu powder (which comes from the camu camu fruit of the Amazon rainforest and contains nearly 2,200% of your daily vitamin C recommendation in 1 tablespoon) joins plantains, pears, and an apple along with apple juice and ground cinnamon. To include apple cider vinegar, just substitute in a portion of the apple juice according to your taste preference.
This striking vegetable powerhouse of a juice recipe also contains apple cider vinegar for toxin cleansing and stomach acid balance. Full of beets, celery stalks, an apple, and a cucumber, the addition of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar takes the nutrient content one notch higher.
Let these recipes be your guide, but don’t let them limit you—depending on the other detox ingredients you may want to include, apple cider vinegar drinks can veer towards spicy or sour or sweet. You can combine turmeric and a pinch of cayenne pepper, or include fresh lemon juice for a dose of vitamin C, or lean into the sweetness of apples by adding a natural sweetener like stevia or maple syrup.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drinks: Side Effects and Cautions
You may have noticed that the amount of apple cider vinegar contained within detox recipes is pretty minimal due to its concentrated strength. For example, you wouldn’t want to consume apple cider vinegar by itself without at least mixing it with a cup of water to dilute the acidity so you don’t burn your mouth or throat (or erode the enamel on your teeth). Some also find that consuming apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach leads to discomfort, so it’s suggested to start with a low amount of this vinegar at first to make sure it doesn’t cause nausea.
More importantly, if you are on any medications, especially those related to insulin or those that contain a diuretic, consult with a health care professional before making apple cider vinegar part of your routine.
An Apple a Day…
Detoxing your body first and foremost starts with avoiding toxins, eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, and getting plenty of water each day. For an extra aid in detoxification, any substance or food that can support digestion and the efforts of our livers and kidneys helps remove the toxins that invariably find their ways into our bodies. Consider rotating apple cider vinegar into your detox practices for all the health benefits it has to offer.