There is a lot of controversy surrounding apple cider vinegar cures, and whether or not it truly lives up to all the hype. We decided to dive deeper into this vinegar and figure out what it is exactly, as well as whether or not it actually benefits our plant-based lifestyle.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
This vinegar is made from exposing crushed apples to yeast, which turns the natural sugar in these apples to alcohol. Bacteria is then added in to turn the alcohol into an acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main active compound in any vinegar.
While vinegar dates back to 5000 BC as both a condiment and a preservative, apple cider vinegar became mainstream in 1958, after Dr. D.C. Jarvis wrote a book entitled Folk Medicine. The book was all about how to use apple cider vinegar as a cure-all medicine (along with honey).
Around 420 BC, Hippocrates used apple cider vinegar to heal wounds. US medical practitioners have used it in a variety of healing remedies since the 18th century. Journals show how apple cider vinegar was used by military doctors in both World Wars to disinfect wounds on the battlefield.
Filtered vs. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar can be purchased in 2 forms, filtered and unfiltered. We like raw, unfiltered, organic the best. The similarities and differences are outlined below:
Filtered Apple Cider Vinegar
- Can be organic or non-organic
- Typically pasteurized
- No ‘mother’
- Clearer Appearance
- Milder apple taste
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- Can be organic or non-organic (but most often organic)
- Includes ‘mother’
- Darker appearance
- Stronger apple taste
Said to be more beneficial health-wise due to the mother, aka healthy bacteria, still in the mixture. Some people believe the ‘mother’ is responsible for the health benefits, while others believe the mother isn’t needed for this vinegar to work as a cure. We are in the first group, and our favorite brand is Braggs Unfiltered Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. This brand has the most strands of healthy bacteria, making it a better probiotic (for all its medicinal offerings).
Health Benefits of ACV
There is controversy surrounding the use of apple cider vinegar as a cure, yet several health benefits have been discovered through research and continued use:
- Low calorie (3 cals per tbsp)
- Can kill harmful bacteria in the gut
- May help with acne- contains 3 kinds of acid used to fight acne.
- Lowers blood sugar/fights diabetes- Specifically helps control blood sugar to keep us from the sugar roller coaster (or a sugar crash) (American Diabetes Association Study)
- Weight Loss Properties
- Lowers Cholesterol/Improves Heart Health
- Can combat heartburn
ACV and Gut Health
One of our fav things about Apple Cider Vinegar is that it is great for the gut. When our gut is happy, we’re happy. The very process that creates vinegar creates microbes that are good for the gut.
These microbes can help improve digestion, boost the immune system, and even affect our mental health in a positive way. These microbes also have anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and antimicrobial properties. Struggling with inflammation? Add in some apple cider vinegar to your day to combat it!
Various Forms of Apple Cider Vinegar
Due to its growing popularity, and strong flavor, there are many forms of apple cider vinegar on the market right now. Here are our favorite forms in liquid, capsule, and gummy:
- Unfiltered, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.bragg.com/products/organic-apple-cider-vinegar
- Capsules: https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Vinegar-Capsules-Cayenne-Drink/dp/B07D3H5B2B/
- Gummies: https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Gummies/dp/B07Q58RTJB/ref=sr_1_1
Apple Cider Vinegar Precautions
While there aren’t many studies on the long term effects of daily consumption of apple cider vinegar, we believe everything should be consumed in moderation. Vinegar can cause erosion of teeth and tooth enamel, therefore, it should always be diluted in water if taking daily.
The Department of Internal Medicine in Austria reported a study of a 28 year-old woman who drank 8 oz of ACV per day. She suffered from low potassium levels, and osteoporosis. This is not a common condition for people her age, and the doctors theorized that the amount of vinegar consumed daily may have led to her condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
Apple Cider Vinegar on its own packs a pretty powerful flavor-punch, yet adding it to a recipe gives a more complex flavor profile, and takes that salad to the next level. Read on for some of our fav edible and non edible uses:
- Salad Dressing– add 2 tbsp of ACV with 2 tbsp of Olive Oil and 1 tsp Dijon Mustard for a delicious, tangy kick in your next salad
- Green Smoothie– add 1 tbsp of ACV for a probiotic boost
- Probiotic Tonic– check out our recipe below from Thrive Summer 7-Day Reset
- Plant-based ‘buttermilk’– add 2 tbsp ACV in 1 cup of almond milk. Stir, then let sit for 3-5 minutes to sour the almond milk. Then add as directed to any recipe that calls for buttermilk (it works great in pancakes!)
- Homemade Bone Broth or Veggie Broth– add 1 tbsp ACV to either bone broth or veggie broth ingredients.
- Metabolism Tea
- Rawkstar Tonic Recipe– combats cold, flu, congestion
- Non-Toxic Cleaner- mix ¼ c ACV in 1 pint of water. Add to spray bottle, then use on windows and countertops (even wood!). To use on floors, mix 1 c ACV with 1 gallon of warm water, then spread with a mop.
- Wash produce– mix juice from ½ lemon with 1 tbsp ACV then add to basin of water and thoroughly rinse all fruit. Dry fruit completely before storing in fridge (or enjoy right away!).
- Hair Shiner– mix 2 tbsp ACV with 6 tbsp filtered water, then add to a spray bottle. Spray over dry or damp hair and rub into scalp with hands. Let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse hair thoroughly. Once rinsed, this should not leave the hair smelling vinegar-y.
- Skin Toner + Acne Fighter– mix 1 part ACV with 2 parts water, then use antimicrobial cloth to apply solution to face. Allow to dry before applying other skincare products, no need to rinse. *Always dilute ACV before applying to face and skin to avoid irritation
- Remove Teeth Stains– mix 2 parts ACV with 1 part baking soda. Rub directly onto teeth, then rinse with water.
- Pet Flea Prevention– add 1 part ACV with 1 part water to a spray bottle. Spray your pet’s fur generously, the rub it in with your hands. Apply 1x per day up to 7 days in a row.
- Treat Strep Throat: Last year, I had a case of strep throat and decided to try this before going to a doctor. I always give natural remedies a try before resorting to medicine. I gargled diluted ACV 4 times a day for 5 days and my strep throat went away. Now, I can’t vouch for anyone else, but this literally worked for me.