We love foods that have multiple uses and health benefits and apple cider vinegar is certainly one of them. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made in a two step fermentation process transitioning from apple cider-->alcohol-->vinegar. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar brands (like Bragg's) also have added proteins, enzymes, and probiotics. The murky "blob" (for lack of a better word) in the ACV bottle is known as the "mother", or cloud of all the healthy bacteria and proteins.
ACV was originally used as an antibacterial agent, cleaning and disinfecting less glamorous problems like nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections. It was also used to prevent food spoilage by inhibiting food borne pathogens from growing. Along these same lines, ACV is one of the best natural skin care products. It can be used to prevent acne by killing bacteria on the skin, and also removing dark spots. The vinegar contains powerful alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin revealing newer, fresher skin underneath.
The next benefit of ACV is stabilizing blood sugar levels. This is important for both diabetics and non-diabetics. ACV improves insulin sensitivity and can lower blood glucose. One study showed that 2 tablespoons of ACV before bed can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
Newer studies have shown that ACV may help with weight loss by improving satiety and curbing cravings. Studies showed that having 1-2 tablespoons of ACV with high-carb meals could increase feelings of fullness. Participants in the study ate 200-275 fewer calories the rest of the day.
Finally, ACV can help with digestive discomfort. Because it is a fermented food, the probiotics help maintain gut balance and aid in digestion. Vinegar contains malic acid which can help with constipation or acid reflux. Drinking vinegar stimulates the valve at the bottom of your throat to close shut, keeping stomach acid down where it belongs.
How to use it? For the more hardcore health nuts, you may try taking a "shot" of ACV first thing in the morning. We recommend putting a tablespoon or two in eight ounces of warm water with lemon. Drinking this combo first thing in the morning will wake up your digestive tract and get things moving. If that doesn't sound so appealing, simply try replacing balsamic vinegar with ACV for salad dressings or cooking.