Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for High Blood Pressure?
Apple cider vinegar is touted as a magic cure for many health conditions, including lowering blood pressure naturally.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all adults in the United States, some 116 million people, suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is defined as systolic blood pressure (upper number) at or above 130 mmHg and diastolic pressure (lower number) at or above 80 mmHg. Hypertension is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke, all leading causes of premature deaths in the U.S.
Please continue reading to find out whether taking apple cider vinegar can help you achieve healthy blood pressure.
What is the best drink for high blood pressure?
There is no single best drink for people with high blood pressure. Doctors recommend eating a heart-healthy diet such as a Mediterranean diet or DASH diet (DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). A calorie-restricted diet that can help you lose weight can also help to control blood pressure.
The DASH diet consists of eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, fish, poultry, and nuts. It also involves cutting back on saturated fats and trans fats and minimizing processed foods, red meats, sugar, and salt. The DASH diet also calls for limiting salt intake to 1,500 mg per day (about 2/3 teaspoon). This includes salt used in cooking, added at the table, and included in packaged snacks.
Healthy drinks for people with high blood pressure include apple juice, tomato juice, beet juice, prune juice, pomegranate juice, berry juices (blueberry or cranberry), and skim milk. You should check labels to ensure fruit juices do not have added salt and sugar. Apple cider vinegar is another healthy drink that may help to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and aid weight loss.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by adding yeast to crushed apples. The yeast ferments the sugars in the apples and turns them into alcohol. After the fermentation process, bacteria are added to the alcohol, which turn it into acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar (ACV). ACV contains 5-6% acetic acid, which gives it its strong flavor and odor. It is widely acknowledged that acetic acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s effects, including its health benefits.
How does apple cider vinegar lower blood pressure?
The use of apple cider vinegar in medicine dates back to the time of Hippocrates who used it for wound care. It was also used in the 10th century along with sulfur to prevent infections during autopsies.
Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar may help with reducing blood pressure. However, these are animal studies done in rats and there are no large-scale studies that demonstrate the direct effects of apple cider vinegar in lowering blood pressure readings in humans. More research is needed to see if apple cider vinegar can truly lower blood pressure.
With that said, animal studies have found that apple cider vinegar can decrease the activity of a hormone called renin that is involved in blood pressure control. High renin increases blood pressure. Consuming apple cider vinegar can potentially lower renin activity and thereby lower blood pressure.
It is important to note that apple cider vinegar is not a cure for high blood pressure. It may help, but it should be used along with other lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, weight loss, as well as blood pressure medication if prescribed by your doctor.
What are the other health benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Other potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar that can indirectly help to lower blood pressure include:
- Lowering blood sugar. Studies have shown that vinegar can help to lower blood glucose in rats. However, there is no strong evidence that it can balance blood sugar levels or reduce blood sugar levels in humans. You should follow professional medical advice for blood sugar control rather than relying on drinking apple cider vinegar.
- Lowering cholesterol levels. Small studies have found that people who consume apple cider vinegar may have lower blood cholesterol levels in as little as eight weeks. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are known risk factors for heart disease. But there is no strong evidence from large-scale studies that apple cider vinegar lowers cholesterol, so it is important to follow your doctor’s advice and proper treatment.
- Weight management. Replacing high-fat and high-salt oils and dressings with apple cider vinegar in salad dressings can help with weight loss. High blood pressure is linked to obesity. Achieving a healthy weight can therefore help with reducing blood pressure.
- Nutrients. Apple cider vinegar contains apples, which contain many nutrients such as vitamin C and B vitamins.
- Killing harmful bacteria. Vinegar is traditionally used as a food preservative and disinfectant because acetic acid can reduce bacterial growth. Because of its antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar is anecdotally believed to help with skin conditions like acne, eczema, and dry skin. But there is no strong scientific research to support this claim. Indeed, there is a risk of skin burns from the acetic acid, so caution is advised if you’re thinking of applying apple cider vinegar to your skin. Always consult a healthcare provider before trying any new remedies, especially if you have actively inflamed or damaged skin.
How much apple cider vinegar should I take a day?
You can incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet in various ways, such as drizzling it over meats, vegetables, and popcorn, adding it to smoothies, mixing it with olive oil to make salad dressings, and drinking apple cider vinegar diluted with water and a bit of honey. Some people even drink apple cider vinegar like a shot of coffee.
If you are making a beverage with apple cider vinegar, the usual dose is 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) at concentrations of 3-9 percent, mixed in a large glass of water. Some people consume as much as 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL). It’s a good idea to start by consuming small amounts to see the effects apple cider vinegar has on your body. Too much apple cider vinegar can damage your tooth enamel due to the excess acid and cause other health problems. For example, vinegar ingestion may worsen acid reflux.
You can consider using organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains a substance called “mother,” which consists of proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria.
Can apple cider vinegar work to lower blood pressure naturally? The jury’s still out, but you can consider including some apple cider vinegar in your diet alongside a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle changes like a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise are a few ways that are proven to lower blood pressure.
It is important to understand that apple cider vinegar is not a substitute for hypertensive drugs (blood pressure medications) or drugs used to lower cholesterol or control glucose levels. You should not expect significant reductions in blood pressure only by consuming apple cider vinegar.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plan for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high glucose levels to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Apple cider vinegar is in no way a substitute for antihypertensive medication.