(Healthline) The popular uses range from teeth whitening to acne prevention, but here are some health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar you probably didn't know about. Packaged bottles ofApple Cider Vinegar (ACV)are quickly disappearing off supermarket shelves due to its recent surge in popularity. Despite this, the list of benefits has been known for a long time - as far back as 5000 B.C. In ancient Greece,Hippocratesprescribed it mixed with honey as a cure for coughs and common cold. ACV is made from fermented apple cider to produce raw enzymes and probiotics. This natural helper has been said to keep blood sugar in check, amp up weight loss and even improve the appearance of acne and scarring. Prescribed dosage: One or two tablespoons of ACV in a cup of water for injestion. For skin care, mix equal parts of water and ACV i.e. the same amount of ACV and water.
Below are eight benefits of taking ACV that are supported by scientific research.
A spoon of apple cider vinegar is rich enough in high acetic acid to prevent germ growth that cause nasal congestion. It also contains potassium which thins mucus, thereby, giving your immune system a quick boost when you’re feeling under the weather.
2. High in acetic acid, ACV can kill many types of harmful bacteria
ACV can act as a disinfectant and natural preservative as it can help kill pathogens, including bacteria. Traditionally, it has been used for cleaning and disinfecting wounds, treating nail fungus, lice, warts, ear infections, etc.
Vinegar can also be used as a natural way to preserve food because it inhibits bacteria from growing in food and spoiling it.
Each tablespoon contains just 3–5 calories and very minimal sugar.
The acetic acid increases satiety and suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. If paired with a high-carb meal, you get increased feelings of fullness and can take in substantially less calories over the course of the day. Although the amount of weight loss from ACV is minimal, it is still encouraged to go along with healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
4. Lowers cholesterol levels
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2006 found that rats who had acetic acid, the main component of ACV, in their diets lowered their bad cholesterol (LDL) and raised their good cholesterol (HDL). Another research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2011, also discovered that ACV can help control triglycerides.
ACV also acts as a natural toner. Mix equal parts of the vinegar and water, and apply by dabbing with a cotton ball. Leave for a while and then rinse. The malic acid in ACV contains antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that keep the skin clean, balanced and free of acne while encouraging it to heal itself. The mixture helps to even out skin tone, balance skin pH and even battle breakouts.
6. Maintains pH balance
Acid-alkaline balance is essential and the body is constantly striving to achieve that equilibrium state. So many bodily functions occur at a particular pH level so a simple small change in pH can have a profound effect on body functioning. As most people are acidic in nature, consuming ACV with meals has an alkalizing effect on the body, thereby keeping the balance needed for healthy living.
Also, ACV is rich in probiotics which ward off vaginal yeast infections, urogenital infections, and bacterial vaginosis by keeping the vaginal microbiome and pH in balance.
7. Prevents Indigestions and boosts gut health
Beneficial bacteria contained in apple cider vinegar can enhance the health of your digestive system and improved ability to digest and absorb nutrients. A glass of properly diluted ACV can also aid relieve upset stomachs, diarrhoea, intestinal spasms thanks to its antibiotic properties.
8. Relieves heartburn
Heartburns are a result of low levels of stomach acids. Taking a diluted shot of ACV right before meals can increase levels of stomach acid to prevent backflow into the esophagus and reduce symptoms of heartburn.
Healthy between-meal nibbles don't have to be bland and boring. If you're trying to eat healthy (and tired of noshing on Kale chips), check out these ten scrummy snack options that'll satisfy your hunger without seriously tipping the calorie count:
Gluten-free cookies: Prepare a batch of these Paleo chocolate chip cookies over the weekend for guilt-free snacking throughout the week. And if you're a fan of oatmeal, check out this easy-peasy Vegan oatmeal cookies recipe. Alternatively, you can choose ready-to-eat options like Quest Nutrition'sprotein cookies. The gluten-free sweet treats are packed with fiber and contain less than two grams of sugar. These chewy cookies come in four different flavors - peanut butter, double chocolate, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip (my personal favorite). The brand also has a range of protein bars in delectable flavors like cookie and cream, birthday cake and crunchy chocolate caramel pecan.
Whole Grain Toast Triangles With Hummus:Packed with protein, fiber, magnesium and iron, the savory snack is perfect for a quick, healthy bite. Get the recipe here.
Basil And Olives Egg: High in protein, this easy-to-make snack will keep you fueled till your next meal. It's also a good source of vitamins, healthy fats and antioxidants. Oh, and you can whip up this Instagram-worthy dish in less than 15 minutes! Here's the recipe.
PB&J Breakfast Muffin: Made with bananas and all-natural peanut butter, these healthy breakfast muffins will satiate your sugar cravings without wreaking havoc on your waistline. Check out the recipe here.
Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites: Healthy eating can't get easier than this. The sweet treat is chock full of vitamins, iron and potassium. All you need is a medium ripe banana and some melted dark chocolate chips. Here's the recipe.
Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza: Who says pizza can't be healthy? This gluten-free pizza is packed with the goodness of cauliflower, sun-dried tomato, olives and oregano. Feel free to play around with different toppings to add more flavors. Get the recipe here.
Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries: This healthy twist on traditional French fries is both filling and scrumptious. Other than being low in sodium and fat, mushrooms are a good source of nutrients like Vitamin B6, protein, folate, zinc and manganese. Serve them with horseradish mayo. Here's the recipe.
Chocolate Almond Butter Bites: Satisfy your sugar cravings (without ruining your diet) with these yummy, choco-licious bites. Just grab a bar of dark chocolate and homemade almond butter and you're good to go. You can also swap almond butter with cashew or walnut butter. Get the recipe here.
Popcorn: If popped right, it's a perfect go-to snack option for healthy eaters. A 3-cup serving of fresh-popped popcorn has just over 90 calories. To jazz up the bland flavor, try this Mint Chocolate Chip Popcorn recipe or check out this Mexican churro popcorn recipe. Alternatively, you can go for healthy store-bought options like Doc Popcorn. Their fresh-popped popcorn comes in different flavors (apple crisp, honey BBQ, triple cheddar, etc.) and contains no trans fat or preservatives.
Creamy Green Bean Bites: This appetizing snack is loaded with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. Plus, the whole thing comes together in just 15 minutes. Get the recipe here.
It’s that time of year again—the time where we struggle to whip our bodies into beach-ready shape. While some people may be successful in this endeavor, others can be left frustrated by the absence of six-pack abs or sculpted arms. But the reality is, not everyone has the time, money, or energy to devote to countless hours at the gym, especially nurses. Sure, exercising to be physically fit has its upside, but there are more reasons to exercise than to look good.
If you feel like you’re in a fitness slump, maybe these often overlooked benefits of exercise will change your perspective and reinvigorate your workouts. Hopefully, you’ll discover a newfound love of fitness in a way that feels right to you, your body, and your exercise goals.
1. Exercise boosts your mood.
Exercise increases levels of the feel-good chemicals in your brain like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which can elevate your mood almost immediately. Additionally, research has indicated that exercise may be a useful component of treating anxiety and depression. If you find you’re feeling down, an exercise session might be just the thing you need to enhance your sense of well-being.
2. Exercise can improve sleep.
Having trouble falling asleep or struggling with insomnia? Vigorous bouts of aerobic exercise (like walking or running), in particular, have been associated with a decrease in the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping, and an overall improvement in sleep quality, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Although there’s still much to learn about the connection between sleep and exercise, it’s worth giving exercise a shot if you spend more time counting sheep than you do catching some shut-eye.
3. Exercise can increase memory and alertness.
The life-saving skills that nurses perform day in and day out require alertness and a sharp memory. Researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered that consistent aerobic exercise could increase the size of the hippocampus, the location of the brain that manages your verbal memory and learning. Even though the study was performed on women ranging in age from 70 to 80 years old, it’s encouraging research that suggests exercise may improve the function and structure of our brains. At present, it’s not clear which activities are the best to bolster cognitive health, but experts agree that some exercise is better than none at all.
4. Exercise may increase your chances of living longer.
“Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers,” reports the CDC. Furthermore, exercise is one of the few lifestyle modifications you can do to increase your chances of a long, healthy life. Just how much activity do you need? The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity to reduce your chances of premature death.
Don’t have time to complete a full-length exercise session or class with your jam-packed schedule? No problem! You can still experience the benefits of it with short bursts of exercise throughout the day—so, find something you like and get moving!