You Down With ACV? Get the Facts on Apple Cider Vinegar.
In use since ancient times, apple cider vinegar is arguably one of the most versatile food products on grocery store shelves. See how to put this multipurpose fermentation to work for you.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is created from just two ingredients – apples and yeast – but its magical properties come from the chemical reactions between the two. The apples are crushed and mixed with yeast to start the process of fermentation, during which a bacteria grows and creates acetic acid. This acid is what gives vinegar its familiar pucker-y taste and healthful side effects.
The fermentation process also produces a blobby, membrane-like byproduct known as the ‘mother of vinegar’, rich in helpful enzymes and good bacteria. The mother is beneficial from a health standpoint, but many vinegar manufacturers (especially grocery brands selling vinegar as a culinary product) strain it out to make their product more visually appealing.
Using ACV for Health
There are dozens of uses for ACV – everything from housecleaning to pest control, and of course, salad dressing – but let’s focus on the health benefits. While it’s not officially recognized by the FDA, the anecdotal evidence that ACV has a host of positive health effects is hard to ignore!
Depending on a number of factors including a person’s existing health and conditions, as well as the frequency and dosage, ACV may have the following positive effects:
- Weight loss: ACV can increase satiety (the feeling of fullness), which helps you to eat less.
- Diabetes management: ACV has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels.
- Cholesterol control: Natural antioxidants in ACV can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- Digestive health: ACV can help manage a range of digestive issues, including heartburn, bloating, and gas.
- Skin and hair care: Applied topically (dilute first to avoid burns!), the antimicrobial and pH-balancing properties of acetic acid have been shown to help with acne, soothe sunburn, and improve scalp and hair health.
Incorporating ACV Into Your Diet
The commonly recommended daily amount of ACV is typically one to two tablespoons, diluted in eight ounces of water. If the sour taste is too strong for you, you can further dilute it with more water, stir in a bit of honey, or mix it with apple juice. You can also get your daily dose by incorporating ACV into foods like salad dressing.
Please note that ingesting large quantities of vinegar, especially in an undiluted form, can cause issues with digestion (especially in people with acid reflux or stomach ulcers), teeth, potassium levels, and more. The information in this post is purely anecdotal and should be confirmed with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.