If you haven’t gotten into apple cider vinegar – the raw, unfiltered, organic kind – you’re missing out on one of nature’s great health-boosting potions. It doesn’t take much to reap its benefits – all you need is a tablespoon or two a day! Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is an amazing addition to your health-supportive toolbox.When it’s raw, organic and naturally fermented, ACV is amazingly useful. What you need to know about this magic elixir:
ACV has stood the test of time.
ACV is one of those all-purpose substances that’s also a classic, food-as-medicine edible that’s helped cure everyday ills for thousands of years – long before there was a Walgreens on every corner. Legend has it that the original celebrity medicine man, Hippocrates, used vinegar in his practice to help aid healing and clear up infections. Much of that healing power likely came from the fermented liquid’s built-in probiotics and enzymes, which have many antibacterial and antifungal properties.
It’s a powerful tool in the fight against insulin resistance and diabetes.
ACV can help keep blood sugar in check. If you’re flirting with high blood sugar, have been told you’re pre-diabetic or perhaps you’ve crossed the line into type 2 diabetes, adding ACV to a low-sugar, low-carb diet has been shown to be helpful in keeping blood sugar levels on the lower end of the scale. If you are on medications to control blood sugar, however, check with your doctor first to see if ACV makes sense for your situation. But if you just want to keep blood sugar levels steady, ACV is an excellent, inexpensive tool to help you achieve this goal.
Bad belly behavior, begone!
Got gas, bloating, acid reflux or constipation? ACV can help bust up digestive troubles. One of the most common causes of these maladies is a deficit of digestive juices – in particular hydrochloric acid – to break down food into easily digestible particles. As we age, the digestive juice shortfall becomes more pronounced. By the time we hit our 50s, most of us will be looking for a digestive assist – preferably a healthy one. Just a tablespoon of ACV in a glass of water before meals can yield major digestive results, particularly if you also monitor your diet for foods that could be triggering indigestion.
You’ll look as good as you feel.
Estheticians agree ACV can be amazing for supporting beautiful skin. In addition to its numerous topical uses – be it cleansing, fighting eczema, relieving bug bite itches, or soothing rashes – drinking ACV helps skin from the inside out by balancing the skin’s pH and acid levels. The result? A clearer complexion that’s better able to retain moisture and better able to stand up to daily assaults from sun, smog, dirt and bacteria.
What you drink matters.
Though you can get apple cider vinegar at almost every health food store and supermarket, not all ACVs are created equal. To get the most out of your ACV routine, look for:
- Raw, unfiltered, and organic apple cider vinegar. (We at Be Well like the Bragg’s brand.)
- Liquid that’s golden brown and cloudy – not clear. A pristine bottle means it’s been processed and pasteurized, which removes the health-boosting properties of ACV.
- The presence of thin, brownish cobweb strands floating in the liquid. As unappetizing at it may seem, the presence of these strands, known as “the mother” is confirmation that the fermentation you want is there and that the good bacteria and enzymes that give ACV its power are active and alive.
- A thin, white disk or puck is also a good thing (though not mandatory). Known as a SCOBY, or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, it too is an indication that the good bacteria are alive and well in the bottle.
- ACV in glass bottles. If it’s in plastic, leave it on the shelf.
Eat and drink up!
As with most everything, moderation is key. Taking 1-2 tablespoons a day of ACV is plenty, and more is not necessarily better. Guzzling more than the recommended dose in hopes of driving down weight or blood sugar more quickly can have dire consequences. A little really does go a long way!
You can drink your ACV if you wish. To make it more palatable, and to protect tooth enamel from possible damage, always dilute your brew, and sip through a straw.
Looking for other ways get your fill of ACV? Here are a few ideas:
- Make an ACV Toddy. Add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV to 8 -12 oz of water (hot, room temperature or iced, your choice). Customize your drink with optional touches, like a dash of stevia or local honey or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste. If it’s still too strong for your liking, add more water. You can also try a dash of cinnamon or allspice, or sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Avoid mixing with fruit juices, as some recipes suggest – the amount of sugar in fruit juices can be as high (or higher!) than a soft drink!
- Add to marinades. To add a tangy kick to grass-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry, use apple cider vinegar as a base for marinades. Another bonus? ACV will also help tenderize the ingredients as they inject flavor into your food.
- Top your greens. Greens are good. But greens topped with ACV? Even better! By using ACV in your salad dressing (like in our favorite Dairy-Free Creamy Salad Dressing), your salad will have a naturally tangy taste, instead of the chemical taste found in traditional bottled dressings. You’ll also get a dose of health-supportive probiotics to help your gut break down the rest of your meal.
- Infuse your soups. A bit of ACV added to a simple veggie soup will kick up the flavor a few notches. If you’ve accidentally over-salted your bowl, a dash or two more will help tamp down the saltiness.You can also use ACV in making bone broth to help extract nutrients.