Before I begin, I must issue a warning: my thoughts and opinions might be slightly biased towards apple cider vinegar (ACV). But! I promise my research won’t be. You see, I was told while growing up that ACV was basically a cure-all. Hiccups? ACV. Bee stings and bug bites? ACV. Dry, stringy hair? ACV. Hungover? ACV. Plus, my mother took it to prevent arthritis and help with digestion. And, I have to say, I secretly love the taste. If you haven’t tried it before, you might think, “What’s the big deal?” If you have, you might think I’m crazy (or that I have seriously odd taste buds). It is a vinegar, so it has that classic sour vinegar taste; but raw, unfiltered ACV has a murky appearance, with thicker viscosity and a very unique flavour. Trust me, it’s much better than any other vinegar. It also contains a “mother strand,” which is a mixture of probiotics, enzymes and beneficial acids. Sure, it does look like someone has majorly backwashed in the bottle, but it’s good for you, I promise!
Apple cider vinegar is made from… you guessed it… apples! Apples are crushed and exposed to yeasts and bacteria, then fermented into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted into acetic acid, which is the ingredient responsible for many of ACV’s health properties and the “mother strand.”
Apple cider vinegar’s most well–known health benefit is that it lowers blood sugar and helps stabilize diabetes. It’s been proven that when ACV is taken before meals, insulin sensitivity increases during meals. This means that our bodies produce less insulin, though the amount already in your body will effectually keep blood sugar levels from getting too high. Other studies have shown that taking ACV before bed helps decrease fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels in your body.
Originally used as a disinfectant for cleaning and sanitizing, it’s now used as more than just a counter spray.
Apple cider vinegar is also renowned for its anti–microbial properties. Originally used as a disinfectant for cleaning and sanitizing, it’s now used as more than just a counter spray. Topically speaking, we use it to treat nail fungus, lice, warts, bug bites, wounds, itching and sun burns, and to keep hair healthy and shiny. Many have even used ACV to help with acne. A few studies I read mentioned that ACV could help defend against Propionibacterium acnes (pimple–causing bacteria) and result in clearer skin. ACV has also been used in food products to help prevent bacterial growth and spoiling.
I’ve already mentioned that, when ingested, apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood sugar, but it can also contribute to weight loss, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, increase HDL (good cholesterol), and aid in digestion.
Apple cider vinegar works gently and gradually, so don’t go thinking that if you drink a bottle of it, your waistline will shrink to a size two and that your doctor will frame your cholesterol panel labs on his or her walls.
Another word of caution: all of this information is taken from case-by-case studies. What might work for some won’t always work for others. As always, please consult your medical–care provider before self-prescribing ACV for any type of medical condition.
As the use of apple cider vinegar grows in popularity, more and more companies and bartenders are creating new “shrubs” (a.k.a. drinking vinegars) to pair with vodka, gin or the alcohol of your choice. We’ll be taste-testing a few different vinegar drinks seeing how they compare to each other and stand up to the pure apple cider vinegar shot itself. Follow us on Instagram to see what we think!