Seriously, apple cider vinegar seems to be all the rage these days. I feel like no matter what ailment I mention in my circle of friends, the answer always seems to be apple cider vinegar (ACV, for those in the know). Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean, right? Currently, it’s huge.
Not being one to just take people’s word for it with stuff like this, I started to investigate for myself. Like most natural remedies, there isn’t a ton of science out there to back up much of what believers in ACV claim — although it’s totally worth noting that isn’t enough to deter me from trying it.
Here’s what you need to know about what I found.
What is it?
ACV is created by mixing apples with yeast. The yeast converts the sugar in the apples into alcohol. Then bacteria is added which causes the alcohol to ferment and become acetic acid, the main component of vinegar.
The more transparent, filtered and pasteurized versions don’t contain the same beneficial enzymes and other qualities as the unpasteurized and naturally fermented stuff. So be sure to look for ACV that’s unfiltered and raw. It’ll be dark in color and a little murky with some silky sediment at the bottom (like my favorite from Bragg).
What Does It Do?
As I mentioned earlier, there are a ton of applications for drinking ACV where there is little or no empirical evidence to back up the claims — but anecdotally there’s a lot out there about what ACV is capable of.
Studies have proven ACV’s effect on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss — all good stuff. Additionally, the acetic acid and amino acids in ACV has been shown to:
- kill harmful bacteria and germs;
- thin mucus and help prevent reoccurring sinus infections;
- counter the effects of lactic acid in the body, which is a contributor to fatigue;
- helps reduce muscle cramps;
- improve symptoms of heart burn and acid reflux;
- reduce water retention;
- aid in absorption of nutrients from food (try it in dressings or on top of your greens).
For the most part, consuming ACV is safe in reasonable quantities — generally up to 2 tablespoons per day. Consuming more than that on a daily basis can create issues like nausea and indigestion.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, a caustic substance that could potentially over time, when undiluted, damage tooth enamel and the inside of your mouth or throat. Therefore, you should dilute it with some water or juice to minimize those risks.
Possible drug interactions may occur for those taking diabetes medications, some heart meds and diuretics. So, you know the drill: talk to your doc before adding more ACV to your diet.
I started drinking ACV daily about 5 months ago. I take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The first time I drank it, I thought I’d be sneaky and “water it down” a lot by drinking my single tablespoon of ACV with a full glass of water but it backfired and just ended up prolonging the agony for way more gulps than I could handle. After that, my morning shot included a tablespoon of each of the following: ACV, lemon juice and water. I found that not watering it down (so it was over quickly) and adding a little lemon juice cuts it enough to made it tolerable. Then, I just quickly chase it with a full glass of lukewarm water.
The taste … well, I’ve heard the flavor described in many “colorful” ways … spoiler alert: it’s not good. I’ve heard that some people make morning cocktails with honey and other ingredients to mask the taste and I’ve even heard that some people drink it with a straw to bypass their tastebuds. Not gonna lie, it’s tough to take.
But even though it tastes (honestly) like I’m drinking straight-up Easter egg dye, to this day, I still do it every single morning. Why? Because it does something for me that makes me willing to overlook the taste — my tummy loves it. Since starting this daily regime, my digestion has become top-notch. I won’t go into the finer details here but it’s remarkable how much better I feel. When your system’s happy and your digestion is humming — lets face it — everything’s better.
Ever tried ACV? Share your experience with us! —Alison