Editor’s Note: This blog post is not intended as medical advice; all material is for informational purposes only. Please check with your physician or other qualified health provider before undertaking a new health care regimen.
Even if you’re not the type to frequent Whole Foods or follow wellness trends, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. But what you may not know is that humans have been using ACV for over 10,000 years – way before it became the popular go-to tonic for everything from sore throats to gastrointestinal issues.
So why is ACV so amazing and does it really live up to the hype? The short answer is yes! Here’s why…
ACV is basically fermented apple juice. Yeast is added to convert the naturally occurring sugar to alcohol then bacteria is added to convert the alcohol to acetic acid. Raw, unfiltered ACV is sold with the “mother” – the cloudy sediment that contains proteins, enzymes and good bacteria. When we talk about health benefits from ACV, we’re talking about this raw, unfiltered form with the mother intact, not the clear, pasteurized kind you’ve probably used to dye Easter eggs.
If you’re one of those intrepid souls who loves a kitchen challenge, you can make ACV at home. The process usually takes two to four weeks. Or you can take the easy route (like we do) and simply buy it. Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is our brand of choice, and widely regarded as the gold standard for ACV. A bonus is that you can find it at virtually any grocery store.
The easiest way to incorporate ACV into your wellness routine is to cook with it. ACV can be used to flavor braised greens and meat dishes, or it can be used to make salad dressings and marinades. You can also dilute one to two tablespoons in water (sparkling or still) and drink it. I also like to add lemon juice and honey for a tasty beverage.
When incorporating ACV into your diet, the key is to start slowly and never consume in excess. While some people find immediate relief of gastrointestinal symptoms, others find that apple cider vinegar can increase their tummy troubles. Too much acid can also erode tooth enamel over time so it’s best to rinse your mouth out with plain water after an ACV drink.
If the taste of vinegar just isn’t for you, there are plenty of non-dietary uses for ACV. The acetic acid in ACV has antibacterial properties and can be used for cleaning, disinfecting, deodorizing and getting rid of those pesky hard water spots that show up on everything from shower doors to wine glasses.
You might want to keep some ACV in your first aid kit as well. As far back as 400 B.C., Hippocrates used ACV to disinfect wounds, heal infections and cure minor illnesses. More recently, ACV has become a common way to calm skin irritations such as dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, acne and warts.
Although the uses and benefits of ACV are seemingly endless, we found a few surprises in our research. Below are some off-the-radar ways people use ACV in their daily lives.
Natural Detangler: In a spray bottle, mix 50% water, 50% apple cider vinegar and three to five drops of lavender essential oil. Spray onto clean, damp hair for a leave-in conditioner.
Acid Balancer: Add one to two tablespoons of ACV to a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning. Rinse your mouth with plain water and do not drink anything for at least 20 minutes.
Digestion Support and Weight Loss: Add two tablespoons of ACV to a glass of water and drink it after each meal. Rinse your mouth with plain water.
Soothe A Sore Throat: Mix 50% water and 50% ACV and gargle for 30 seconds two to three times a day. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with plain water.
Antibacterial Foot Bath: Combine two parts water with one part vinegar in a tub or large bowl of warm water and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes once a week.
Do you use apple cider vinegar? If so, we’d love to hear about it in our comments.
For more information on ACV, you can visit the following sites:
*Consult with a physician to make sure ACV will not interfere with any of your medications or medical conditions.