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We’ve been hearing about the supposed benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar for a while, so we were curious to know if there’s any science behind these claims. Turns out, there is. But before you jump on the bandwagon, there is a wrong way to drink it: Straight. Instead, mix one tablespoon of ACV into a glass of water once a day, pour a little on top of a salad or whip up a sweeter concoction like this one from Delighted Momma. OK, on to the benefits.

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1. It could lower blood glucose levels
This one’s important for anyone with Type II diabetes or other forms of insulin sensitivity. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that taking vinegar before meals dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals.

2. It could help you lose weight
The same study found that subjects saw moderate weight loss over a longer period of time, and a separate Japanese study from 2009 found that obese adults who drank a beverage containing one or two tablespoons of vinegar every day lost two to four pounds after 12 weeks. So while a little ACV isn’t going to make a huge difference, it could be good for an extra pound here or there.

3. It could keep you regular
…Well, if you buy the right kind. When buying ACV, look for an organic and unfiltered version. It should look cloudy and there should be a cobweb-like blob floating around. Don’t be alarmed—that’s just the “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and good bacteria. It’s packed with probiotics, which help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

4. It could lower your blood pressure
More research is needed to fully back up this benefit, but in studies done on rats, apple cider vinegar significantly reduced blood pressure when taken on a long-term basis.

5. It could reduce the risk of heart disease
In a Harvard university study, women who ate salad with oil and vinegar displayed a reduced risk of fatal IHD (ischemic heart disease) than women who did not. Researchers pointed to the alpha-linolenic acid found in vinegar as a potential cause for this decrease. One Cobb salad with oil and vinegar on the side, please. 

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