Apple cider vinegar — a lot of you may have heard it before, a morning shot of this sharp liquid in the morning is the “it” tonic said to boost dieting, immune-health, and beauty. Touted by celebrities and wellness bloggers alike, this morning routine is a trendy holistic health must. If you’ve tried a shot of the stuff before, you know its tangy flavor will wake you up faster than you can say apple cider vinegar. There are certainly many health benefits of apple cider vinegar, but the question is whether or not they’re backed by scientific evidence and if they actually work.
Apple cider vinegar, sometimes abbreviated as ACV is made from apples, sugar, and yeast. The apples are crushed to extract the liquid, then bacteria and yeast are added to initiate the fermentation process. Just as with the alcohol you drink, such as wine or beer, the sugars turn into alcohol. The difference between the apple cider beverage served at bars and apple cider vinegar sold at the grocery store is a second fermentation process. Bacteria converts alcohol to vinegar (mainly acetic acid).
Health benefits of ACV
Apple cider vinegar has no to minimal nutritional value, meaning that it doesn’t provide your body with many vitamins and minerals. As with most foods, it’s best to aim for minimally processed variants. The health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar in its raw and unfiltered form mean that it contains more protein, enzymes, and good bacteria, lending it a murky appearance.
Kills harmful bacteria
Due to vinegar’s acidity levels, it’s often used as an eco-friendly biodegradable cleaning agent acting as an alternative to bleach. However, it’s by no means a disinfectant and won’t kill strong or dangerous bacteria. It can also be used as a food preservative, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria (known as pathogens) and helps prevent food from spoiling.
Blood sugar regulation
Some preliminary research on apple cider vinegar suggests that it may reduce blood sugar after a high-carb meal, especially for those with diabetes. Don’t interpret this as an excuse to overindulge in carb-rich or sugary foods, then down some apple cider vinegar in the hopes that you’re doing your blood sugar a favor. Though helping for stabilizing your blood sugar, be wary of consuming too much, expressly if you are on medications. As ACV may lower blood sugar, it’s important to speak to your physician before taking it.
Though some studies have shown positive results regarding weight management, there is little evidence that drinking apple cider vinegar will help you lose weight. Considering that apple cider vinegar aids in blood sugar regulation, it may help reduce cravings and promote satiety. If you’ve tried apple cider vinegar on its own, you may find the strong taste acts as a temporary appetite suppressant, but a more effective approach is following an overall balanced diet.
The beauty of ACV
The nutritional health benefits of apple cider vinegar aren’t the only advantages you can reap from this potent potion. Were you aware that you can also add the powerful, fruity essence of ACV to brighten up your skin and hair care routine? Note, these ACV applications are just for temporary or occasional use.
How to use apple cider vinegar on your face
Using apple cider vinegar to improve your skin works to restore your face’s natural ph levels. If your skin is either too acidic or alkaline, it can lead to breakouts. The acetic acid in ACV can aid in neutralizing the ph levels while also killing any acne-inducing bacteria.
In addition to the above, ACV is multifaceted and can be used as a toner, to reduce age spots or soothe sunburns. If you decide to use it for acne or spots, make sure to topically apply it on on the skin for up to 30 minutes.
ACV topical skin solution
Mix apple cider vinegar in a bowl of water (1:4 ratio ACV to water)
Soak a cotton ball and dab onto skin or the affected area
Leave on for a few minutes then wash off with warm water
Repeat 1-2 times per day or as needed
How to use apple cider vinegar for your hair
Due to its anti-fungal properties, apple cider vinegar helps fight some common causes of dandruff. It also strengthens hair and improves shine and luster, for the straight out of a shampoo commercial look.
ACV hair treatment
Mix a few tablespoons of ACV with 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of water
Shampoo and condition your hair as usual
Pour ACV on your head and massage into your scalp
Make sure not to get the fluid into your eyes
Let the treatment sit for a few minutes
Rinse out with warm water
Apple cider vinegar drink recipe
The health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar aren’t exclusively derived from a spine-tingling shot of the stuff in the morning. There are more palatable ways to drink ACV and we at 8fit have put together some stimulating ACV-forward beverages to sip on.
Just Peachy Mocktail
Have you heard of shrubs before? Well, they’re lightly sweetened vinegar-based syrups and emerging star ingredients in many cocktails and mocktails. They heighten a cocktail’s flavor profile while reducing the overall sugar content. Check out this Just Peachy Mocktail with its apple cider vinegar flare, it’s more than “just peachy.”
1 medium peach
1 Tbsp maple syrup (grade B or C preferred)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup soda water
3-4 large ice cubes per drink
Wash, chop, and remove pits from the peaches and add to blender with the maple syrup and ginger.
Once blended, add apple cider vinegar to the peach mixture and blend once more. Serve it straight away or, if you have time, cool in the fridge overnight.
Pour into two glasses over 3-4 ice cubes and top off with soda water.
Avocado & Banana Smoothie with Goat Cheese
Try this unique yet healthful smoothie. Yes, there’s vinegar and goat cheese and avocado in it; but trust us, this is the creamy concoction will feel like hug in a glass! The flavors come together to fuse rich and tart in one luscious drink.
Ingredients (300 calorie version):
½ cup milk
½ oz goat cheese
½ Tbsp ground flax seeds
½ Tbsp coconut (shredded)
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fresh basil
Add all ingredients (except for the avocado and basil leaves) to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
Peel the avocado and remove the core. Add together with basil leaves to blender. Blend again, to desired consistency.
Serve in a glass and enjoy.
Dr. Axe, holistic physician, recommends apple cider vinegar drinks as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Chock full of ingredients such as lemon juice and ginger that help support detoxification systems in your body. Below is our version of Dr. Axe’s favorite tonic.
1 glass of warm or hot water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
½ tsp of fresh ground ginger
1 dash cayenne pepper or cinnamon
1 tsp raw, local honey (optional)
Warm the water.
Mix all ingredients together (adding honey makes it more palateable for those new to ACV).
8fit recipes using apple cider vinegar
You don’t need to drink vinegar to reap the health benefits, why not sink your teeth into to these tasty 8fit recipes! Experiment a bit, vary what you try and be flexible when finding a meal plan that works best for you. Feel free to add or substitute seasonings such as apple cider vinegar, lime, lemon, herbs, spices as desired and with our recommended swaps.
Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad
This flavourful, vegan recipe was created in partnership with one of our featured bloggers, The Colorful Kitchen. The apple cider vinegar adds balance to the salty, sweet, and spicy elements that come together in this dish, so every mouthful transports you to the beachy shores of Koh Samui or Phuket.
Pork & Pear Salad
Apple or pear and pork are a match made in heaven. Vinegar is a common ingredient in pork marinades and can help tenderize the meat. Try this seasonal specialty that is easy to make and take with you.
Orange Salmon with Sauerkraut
This recipe showers your gut with healthy bacteria. Some people find that including a little apple cider vinegar with their meals helps ease heartburn or acid reflux and stimulate general digestion. Featuring salmon’s anti-inflammatory properties, not only will this meal tantalize your taste buds but is great for your gut as well.
Too much of a good thing
Whether you decide to use ACV as a nutritional supplement to your diet or a natural beauty product, when it comes to the concrete health benefits of ACV, up until now studies have remained inconclusive. If you add small amounts daily, for a limited period, you most likely won’t suffer any adverse side effects. However, as with anything you ingest or absorb into your system, too much of anything isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Consuming too much in the long-term can lead to health issues like low potassium, that may affect your nerves, muscles, and heart. If you’re going to give apple cider vinegar a go, aim to use a few teaspoons per day. Rather than considering it a miracle cure, enjoy it as a flavorsome addition to your food, a natural cleaning aid or part of your skincare routine.