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Should You Mix Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey?

Health + Wellness
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By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Honey and vinegar have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years, with folk medicine often combining the two as a health tonic (1Trusted Source).


The mixture, which is typically diluted with water, is thought to provide a range of health benefits, including weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels.

This article explores the combination of apple cider vinegar and honey, including its potential benefits and downsides.

Why do people mix apple cider vinegar and honey?

Vinegar can be made from most sources of fermentable carbs. Apple cider vinegar starts with apple juice as a base, which is then fermented twice with yeast. Its main ingredient is acetic acid, giving it its characteristically sour flavor (1Trusted Source).

On the other hand, honey is a sweet and viscous substance produced by bees and stored within a cluster of waxy, hexagonal cells known as a honeycomb (2Trusted Source).

Honey is a mixture of two sugars — fructose and glucose — with trace amounts of pollen, micronutrients, and antioxidants (3Trusted Source, 4, 5Trusted Source).

Many consider apple cider vinegar and honey to be a tasty combination, as the sweetness of honey helps mellow vinegar's puckery taste.

Consuming this tonic is thought to provide many health benefits. However, given that both ingredients have been studied separately, the effects of this mixture specifically are largely unknown.

Summary

Apple cider vinegar and honey are consumed both individually and as a mixture in folk medicine. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the potential health effects of combining them.

Potential Benefits

Some people mix apple cider vinegar and honey for its purported health benefits.

Acetic Acid May Promote Weight Loss

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been studied as a weight loss aid.

In a 12-week study in 144 adults with obesity, those ingesting 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar diluted in a 17-ounce (500-ml) drink daily experienced the most weight loss and a 0.9% reduction in body fat, compared with two control groups (6Trusted Source).

Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to keep you feeling fuller longer, as it slows down how quickly nutrients from foods are absorbed into your bloodstream — an effect that may further aid weight loss (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

Still, when you combine honey and vinegar, keep in mind that honey is high in calories and sugar and should be consumed in moderation (9).

May Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergies and Cold Symptoms

Both honey and apple cider vinegar are considered natural antimicrobials.

Honey is thought to help relieve seasonal allergies, as it contains trace amounts of pollen and plant compounds. Some studies show that it may help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever (10Trusted Source).

Yet, it's unclear how adding apple cider vinegar to honey may influence these effects (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 4).

Also, the mixture may help alleviate certain cold symptoms, such as coughing (11Trusted Source).

What's more, due to its fermentation process, apple cider vinegar contains probiotics. These helpful bacteria aid digestion and boost immunity, which may help you fight a cold (12Trusted Source).

May Improve Heart Health

The chlorogenic acid in vinegar is thought to help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, potentially reducing your risk of heart disease (1Trusted Source).

Plus, in rodent studies, honey has been shown to lower high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease (1Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

It also contains polyphenol antioxidants, which may reduce heart disease risk by improving blood flow and preventing blood clots and the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Still, more research in this area is needed (14Trusted Source).

Furthermore, apple cider vinegar may reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of plaque buildup in your arteries, which can protect heart health. Though, more human studies are needed to explore this possible benefit (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARYThe potential health benefits of honey and apple cider vinegar have mostly been studied separately. Vinegar is believed to aid weight loss, while both are believed to improve heart health and alleviate cold and seasonal allergy symptoms.

Potential Downsides

While the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and honey have been studied individually, very little is known about the effects of consuming them as a mixture.

Possible Effects on Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

One study that examined a similar combination containing namely grape vinegar and honey observed some negative health effects (3Trusted Source).

In the 4-week study, participants drinking 8.5 ounces (250 ml) of water with 4 teaspoons (22 ml) of a grape-vinegar-and-honey mix and some mint for flavor daily experienced slightly increased resistance to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels (3Trusted Source).

Increased insulin resistance is linked to type 2 diabetes (16).

Additionally, levels of heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol decreased at the end of the study. Low HDL cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease (3Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that this was a small and short-term study. More research is needed to confirm these findings. A study investigating the effects of honey and apple cider vinegar — rather than grape vinegar — is warranted.

Can Be Harsh on Your Stomach and Teeth

The acidity of apple cider vinegar may worsen gastric reflux, though some people have claimed that it improved their symptoms.

However, given that no solid evidence can settle this debate, listen to your body's cues.

Furthermore, due to its acidity, apple cider vinegar has been shown to erode tooth enamel, potentially increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Therefore, it's recommended to dilute the vinegar with filtered water and rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking it (18Trusted Source).

More research is needed to determine the effects of combining it with honey.

Interestingly, some studies have shown honey can help ward off gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath (19Trusted Source, 20).

Can Be High in Sugar

Depending on how much honey you add, your mixture may be very high in sugar.

It's important to limit added sugars in your diet, as consuming too much can have negative effects on your overall health.

Too much added sugar — especially from sweetened beverages — is linked to an increased risk of conditions like heart disease and obesity (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

Though small amounts of honey can fit into a healthy diet and may even offer health benefits, it's important to enjoy it in moderation.

Summary

Drinking apple cider vinegar and honey may have downsides, including negative effects for tooth and stomach health. More research is needed on the health effects and risks of this mixture.

Purported Effects on Body Alkalinity

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, or from most acidic to most alkaline.

Some people claim that eating certain foods or supplements, such as apple cider vinegar and honey, can make your body more alkaline and ward off diseases like cancer and osteoporosis (18Trusted Source).

However, your body has complex systems in place to keep your blood pH level between 7.35 and 7.45, which is needed for its proper functioning. If your blood pH falls outside of this range, the consequences can be fatal (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Foods and supplements, including a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey, do little to influence blood alkalinity (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

In fact, food only affects the pH level of your urine. Whether apple cider vinegar can alter your body's acid-base balance in the long term need to be investigated (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Summary

Some people claim that apple cider vinegar can help alkalize your body and ward off disease. However, your body closely regulates its blood pH levels, and foods and supplements only affect the pH of your urine.

Best Uses

In folk medicine, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons (21 grams) of honey are diluted in 8 ounces (240 ml) of hot water and enjoyed as a comforting tonic before bedtime or upon waking.

You can enjoy this warm mixture on its own or add lemon, ginger, fresh mint, cayenne pepper, or ground cinnamon for flavor. If you have gastric reflux or heartburn, it's best to drink it an hour before you lie down to decrease symptoms.

Moreover, apple cider vinegar and honey are complementary ingredients in a culinary context. Together, they can make a wonderful base for salad dressings, marinades, and brines for pickling vegetables.

However, the safety of combining apple cider vinegar and honey for young children has not been studied. It's best to speak with your child's pediatrician before using this mixture as a home remedy.

Additionally, children younger than 1 year of age should not eat honey due to the risk of botulism, a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by bacteria (23Trusted Source).

Summary

Apple cider vinegar and honey can be used widely in people over the age of one. To drink it as a hot tonic, dilute the mix in warm water before bedtime or upon waking. It can also be used in the kitchen to dress salads, marinate meats, and pickle vegetables.

The Bottom Line

Apple cider vinegar and honey are often combined in folk medicine.

The mixture is generally diluted in warm water and drunk before bedtime or upon rising.

It's claimed to aid weight loss and improve seasonal allergies and blood pressure. Still, most research focuses on the effects of each ingredient separately.

While not enough is known about the health benefits of this mixture, it can be a delicious and comforting drink to enjoy at the start or end of your day.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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