Have you ever tried apple cider vinegar and ginger for weight loss? This antioxidant-rich beverage, which may also contain honey, cayenne pepper or cinnamon, is promoted as a natural detox aid. Although it's unlikely to help you slim down, it can boost your immune system and overall health.
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ACV and Ginger Benefits
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and ginger benefits may include lower blood sugar levels, improved antioxidant status and stronger immunity, among other perks. The same goes for honey, which boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cardioprotective effects.
When used together, these ingredients may improve immune function and strengthen your natural defenses. Their detox properties, on the other hand, are subject to debate.
Ginger, for example, may help reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative stress. These potential benefits are attributed to its high content of gingerols, a class of antioxidants with antimicrobial, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties, according to a September 2015 review published in Phytochemistry. Gingerols may also lower your risk of diabetes, obesity and age-related neurological disorders.
Clinical evidence suggests that ginger may aid in weight loss, states a review featured in Phytotherapy Research in November 2017. This spice has been shown to increase fat burning, suppress fat accumulation and improve appetite control. Furthermore, it may inhibit fat absorption and increase energy expenditure.
The problem is that most studies have been conducted on mice, so it's hard to tell how their findings translate to humans. Four of the studies cited in the above review involved human subjects, but they had low sample sizes. Therefore, further research is needed to confirm the anti-obesity effects of ginger.
Apple cider vinegar has potential therapeutic benefits, too. Its healing power, though, is vastly overestimated. University of Chicago Medicine, for instance, states that ACV may reduce blood sugar, but it won't cure diabetes. Its effects on body weight are negligible. Furthermore, Penn Medicine reports that drinking apple cider vinegar is unlikely to help you slim down.
The Antioxidant Power of Honey
Raw honey has long been prized for its nutritional value. Traditionally, it has been used as a cough remedy, immunity booster and antimicrobial agent. However, not everything you read or hear about it is true.
According to a July 2017 research paper published in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, approximately 320 honey varieties exist and each has unique properties. This functional food abounds in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols and other antioxidants.
In clinical trials, it has been shown to reduce oxidative damage, accelerate wound healing and improve the symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections in children.
Read more: 7 Surprising Foods to Combat Colds
The downside is that most types of honey are rich in fructose, a natural sugar, and may not be safe for people with diabetes, as noted in the above review. Another research paper, which appeared in the journal Nutrients in August 2018, states the opposite, however.
After analyzing several studies conducted on human and animal subjects, scientists concluded that honey may help protect against metabolic syndrome, hyperglycemia and other risk factors for diabetes. However, it can still raise your blood sugar levels and should be used in moderation, warns the Mayo Clinic.
Debunking the Detox Myth
Food bloggers and alternative medicine practitioners say that drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with ginger and honey can speed weight loss and flush out toxins. This concoction is often used in cleanses and detox diets. It may also contain green tea, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon and other "fat-burning" ingredients.
As mentioned earlier, ACV, ginger and honey may improve overall health and wellbeing. Each ingredient has its share of benefits. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that combining these foods can help with weight loss or reduce toxin buildup. As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health points out, detox diets lack scientific support.
Your body works around the clock to filter out and eliminate toxins. Alcohol, chemical ingredients, dead cells and other waste products are naturally removed by the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs, states the Association of UK Dietitians. Therefore, it's not necessary or recommended to go on a detox diet.
Drinking apple cider vinegar and ginger for weight loss is unlikely to help. None of these ingredients is clinically proven to prevent or treat obesity. The few studies available are small or inconclusive.
Read more: 9 Herbs and Spices to Help You Lose Weight
Additionally, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and may affect your teeth enamel, stomach and throat, warns the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. Ginger carries potential health risks, too. This spice may cause bloating and heartburn, even when used in moderate doses. Raw honey may affect blood sugar levels and cause severe reactions in those who are allergic to bee pollen.
- Harvard Health: "Can Everyday Spices Make You Healthier?"
- Pharmacognosy Research: "Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research"
- Phytochemistry: "Gingerols and Shogaols: Important Nutraceutical Principles From Ginger"
- Pharmacology & Therapeutics: "Pharmacotherapeutic Potential of Ginger and Its Compounds in Age-Related Neurological Disorders"
- Phytotherapy Research: "A Systematic Review of the Anti‐Obesity and Weight Lowering Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and Its Mechanisms of Action"
- University of Chicago Medicine: "Debunking the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Penn Medicine: "Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?"
- Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences: "Role of Honey in Modern Medicine"
- Nutrients: "A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey Against Metabolic Syndrome"
- Mayo Clinic: "Diabetes Foods: Is Honey a Good Substitute for Sugar?"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Detoxes and Cleanses: What You Need to Know"
- Association of UK Dietitians: "Detox Diets"
- Canadian Digestive Health Foundation: "Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion. What’s the Deal?"
- University of Rochester: "Ginger"
- Mayo Clinic: "Honey"