Should You Mix Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey?
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).
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.
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.
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).
Also, the mixture may help alleviate certain cold symptoms, such as coughing (11Trusted Source).
May Improve Heart Health
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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).
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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When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
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