The best ways to use apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of those seemingly magical elixirs that's been used since ancient times. Made from fermented apple juice, apple cider vinegar (also known as ACV), has helped millions of people do everything from dress their salads to rejuvenate their skin. In fact, it's even been said that the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, used ACV for medicinal purposes.

So if you're looking to do more than just cook with that bottle of apple cider vinegar you've got stashed away in your pantry, here are just a few ways you can incorporate the magic of ACV into your everyday life. Don't worry, you can thank us later.

A natural cleaner

Because of its antibacterial properties, vinegar is often used as a natural alternative to commercial cleaning products, which often contain harsh chemicals. Apple cider vinegar has the same natural benefits of regular vinegar, with a much more pleasant smell. ACV is effective at removing stubborn dirt and mineral deposits. Mix it with water and you can use ACV to safely clean most surfaces, including wood, marble, and tile.

Calm an upset stomach

It happens. Sometimes we eat something that just doesn't sit well with our stomachs. In turn, we end with cramps, heartburn, nausea, or if we're really unlucky, a combination of all four. Apple cider vinegar is a safe, natural treatment that works really well at easing all sorts of stomach-related issues. And because ACV has alkalizing properties that help balance pH levels, the body will be less prone to cellular damage and disease.

An energy boost

Have you ever skipped out on your morning workout because you were just too tired? Or perhaps you're one of the many people who falls victim to that afternoon sluggish feeling that hits right around 3 p.m. Whatever your energy woes may be, apple cider vinegar may be your solution to a much needed energy boost. Yep, ACV naturally regulates blood sugar levels, strengthens the immune system, and can give you that extra jolt when you need it. Try a morning Apple Cider Vinegar cocktail the next time you're feeling a little rundown.

Naturally whiten teeth

A pearly white smile is one of those things that can quickly take your confidence level to a 10. Unfortunately, professional teeth whitening can be expensive, and many over-of-the-counter teeth whitening kits simply don't work that well. Whiten your teeth naturally (without spending a fortune) by gargling apple cider vinegar in the morning. Not only will the ACV whiten teeth, it will also help get rid of bacteria in your mouth and gums.

Soothe a sunburn

Ouch! A bad sunburn is one of the fastest ways to ruin a perfectly good beach day. If you're finding little relief from the traditional aloe vera, try a little apple cider vinegar to ease your sunburn, instead. It will help draw the heat out of your body, relieving pain and discomfort.

Vanish bruises

In today's fast pace world, most of us are no strangers to silly accidents. Whether its elbowing a door or tripping down the stairs, we've all fallen victim to clumsiness. And while most of the time the accident-prone aren't left with any serious injuries (thankfully!), we can't always say the same for those annoying and unsightly bruises. Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that helps break apart the clotting that causes bruising. Apply a mixture of warm water and ACV to the affected area for a few days and watch those ugly black and blues fade away.

For healthier hair

Just like a healthy set of pearly whites, strong and shiny locks can also take anyone's look from drab to fab in no time. When incorporated into your regular hair care routine, apple cider vinegar helps stop yeast growth, which causes dandruff. It also works as a natural detangler, leaving your hair soft and smooth with every use.

Shed unwanted lbs.

We all know the secret to a slimmer figure — a healthy diet and exercise. But did you know that apple cider vinegar can be added to your diet to help lose those unwanted pounds? Carol Johnston, PhD, associate director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University lead a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods on the medicinal value of vinegar, which found that ACV had starch-blocking power that may aid in weight loss. "Acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, may interfere with the body's ability to digest starch," Johnson said in Prevention. "If you're interfering with the digestion of starch, less is being broken down into calories in the bloodstream. Over time, that might cause a subtle effect on weight."