One health trend from recent years shows no signs of slowing down, and that's the love affair with apple cider vinegar. Bottles of this stuff fly off grocery store shelves as fast as ever, and you probably have a friend or two who's obsessed with taking a shot of it once in a while, if not regularly. So is apple cider vinegar safe to drink, and if so, what kind specifically? Surely you should be taking some precautions when downing this stuff, right?
In general, commercial or homemade apple cider vinegar is perfectly safe to drink as long as you dilute it enough. Because apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, diluting it with at least 10 parts water for every 1 part vinegar before drinking it is wise, according to A Healthy Slice of Life. For people with sensitive palates, even more dilution may be necessary. Although taking an ACV shot straight may be trendy, consuming a lot of apple cider vinegar at once may damage your teeth and throat, according to WebMD, so you probably shouldn't be doing it regularly. Seriously, there's no reason to prove you're super hardcore about health by taking straight apple cider vinegar shots, because in the long run, it can possibly do more harm than good. Plus, undiluted apple cider vinegar probably tastes like absolute garbage. For so many reasons, dilution is a recommended step.
Damaging your teeth with an acidic substance is not a fun experience for anybody. In fact, with an average pH of 2.5 to 3.0, undiluted apple cider vinegar has a high acidic quality, which can weaken tooth enamel, according to The Pittsford Dental Excellence Center. And with weakened tooth enamel, you may be more likely to experience oral sensitivity, tooth decay, and cavities. Basically, your dentist would never recommend drinking apple cider vinegar straight.
In addition to the tooth issues, apple cider vinegar may cause additional problems with your health. The high acid content in ACV might irritate or burn your throat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Plus, it can interact with various drugs or supplements a person takes, potentially leading to low potassium issues, as further explained by the Mayo Clinic. If you're at all concerned about the way consuming apple cider vinegar may impact your own health, don't hesitate to discuss it with your physician.
To understand why it's so caustic to skin and teeth, consider apple cider vinegar's origins. It's created by a process similar to the creation of alcohol, so if you're into home brewing, then this will sound familiar. First, apples are exposed to yeast, which ferments them and turns them into alcohol, according to Healthline. Next, bacteria added to the alcohol continues the fermentation process and creates acetic acid, which is what makes it a vinegar. Interestingly, vinegar can be created from any fruit or material that contains sugar, according to The Vinegar Institute, and is actually a process, but its end product is the same: highly acidic and potentially harmful to sensitive teeth and skin.
Why is apple cider vinegar in particular so popular, though? This souped-up apple juice has been used as a folk remedy for years, and it's said to treat everything from smelly feet to sunburns. Recently, though, apple cider vinegar has gained popularity as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial tonic that may boost your immune system and improve digestion, according to Well and Good. Although these claims are not fully backed by modern medical research, drinking a teaspoon or two of ACV daily probably won't hurt, according to WebMD. It isn't a miracle cure, but properly diluted apple cider vinegar is a safe addition to your diet. And it's probably not a bad idea to brush your teeth right away.
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