Plus 5 things you should know before using it
Apple cider vinegar is so popular that it may seem like the cure-all for everything. But is it really that great? The short answer is yes … and no. We don’t have research to back up all of the hundreds of claims that health experts talk about, but there is some pretty cool research to support interesting health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar offers positive effects in increasing insulin sensitivity and prompting cells to metabolize glucose. Acetic acid, the active compound in apple cider vinegar, moderates the digestion of carbohydrates by slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach and increases the uptake of glucose by tissues.
Studies have also shown that acetic acid can lower blood sugar through its effect on enzyme activity. Apple cider vinegar can help you lower blood sugar after meals, and having vinegar at bedtime, in particular, has been successful in lowering next-morning fasting blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar can help keep your digestive system running smoothly and maintain the healthy bacteria in the gut. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains probiotics, which help deliver good bacteria to your digestive system to aid in nutrient absorption. If you want to give your gut some extra love, try this healthy cabbage salad, made with a probiotic dressing and gut-loving veggies.
This is one of the more popular uses for apple cider vinegar. It seems to safely suppress appetite and may improve fat metabolism by improving liver function. One study in Japan that followed 175 obese adults found those taking “apple vinegar” did lose some belly fat and a bit of weight.
Reducing breakouts and acne is a lesser-known benefit of apple cider vinegar but one not to be forgotten. Acne isn’t just for teenagers anymore, with more and more women in their 30s dealing with this vexing problem. By keeping problematic bacteria at bay, acid components in apple cider vinegar may help reduce both the severity of a breakout.
The same probiotics in apple cider vinegar that help support your gut health can also work to help boost your immune system. In addition, apple cider vinegar has been shown to provide antimicrobial properties, specifically against E-coli and S. aureus. This Kale and Sprout Salad with Immune-Boosting Dressing uses ACV to help kick your immune system into action.
Any carbohydrate or alcohol can, in theory, become vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider that has been fermented. This fermentation process naturally produces various strains of probiotics and enzymes. The process of fermenting apple cider has been around for a very long time: Records show humans have been using this process since well before 5,000 BC.
When the topic of apple cider vinegar comes up, the word “mother” is often part of the conversation. The mother in this case refers to the unfiltered web of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) created by the fermentation process. This probiotic- and enzyme-rich web is what makes apple cider vinegar so beneficial. The mother is equivalent to the scoby in the kombucha-making process.
Want to make sure you’re getting the good stuff? The first thing you want to look for is the mother, recognized as a light cloudy sediment resting at the bottom of the bottle. Other markers of quality include labels identifying it as unfiltered or unrefined and organic. If you’re someone with sensitive teeth enamel, you may appreciate that apple cider vinegar is also widely available in capsule form as well as gummies.
Apple cider vinegar is easy to buy for a small price, but making your own is even easier. Try your hand at making your very own ACV, adding a gingery zing with this Fruit Peel and Apple Cider Vinegar recipe. If you’d like to take it one step further, try this Fire Cider—a powerful botanical concoction that combines a host of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients marinated for several weeks in apple cider vinegar. It can be used as a potent cold and flu buster or for digestive support.
We can sip apple cider vinegar diluted with water to start every day, but there are hundreds of other wonderful ways it can be used. Apple cider vinegar is a staple in many houses for its delicious tang and its many health benefits. Add some to your salad dressing, use as a toner, and enjoy as a health tonic. The options are endless!