Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has long been a staple product in many household cupboards. Like an urban legend, it is credited with resolving a smorgasbord of common and even uncommon everyday life ailments and issues.
So let’s take a deeper look into this cloudy bottle of magic and see if any of its claimed benefits might peak your interest.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Fantastic or Fanciful?
So what exactly is ACV? Crushed apples mixed with yeast cause the naturally occurring fruit sugars to turn into alcohol. Bacteria is then added to ensure the alcohol is fermented even further. This process causes the alcohol to turn into acetic acid- the golden ingredient in ACV.
The other golden ingredient which you have probably heard mentioned when discussing ACV is called Mother. Mother is found in organic ACV, which has not been filtered and is the component that gives its cloudy appearance. Far from what your instinct may tell you, this does not mean the ACV has gone rancid (which is what I thought when I bought my first bottle many moons ago).
Health & Diet:
Most notably, ACV has received much attention for its potential ability to manage type 2 diabetes and assist with blood sugar regulation. ACV is also alleged to assist with feelings of satiety and, as such, can assist with weight loss. Much like any other vinegar, ACV can be used as a natural food preservative. As a vinegar, it can readily be substituted in recipes where “ordinary” vinegar would be used. I think it has a slightly sweet taste, which – if you have a sweet tooth like me – adds a much-welcomed twist to salads.
Another common way to consume ACV is by adding it to water, much like a cordial. Now, I have tried this as both a hot and a cold drink. Personally, I could not stomach it as a cold drink. Whilst some may find it bearable and even pleasant, the apple in ACV is too distant a memory in its taste to convince myself into using it as a cordial on a regular basis. It is, at the end of the day, a glass of diluted vinegar. I’m sorry to say that my taste buds were not fooled into thinking it was anything but a glass of diluted vinegar, but you may belong to the group that disagrees with me, so I encourage you to give it a try and come to your own conclusion. As a hot drink, I found the taste far more bearable and even verging on enjoyable. However, the smell of ACV in hot water is something to overcome. If you can get past the smell, then, like me, you may find the hot version far more palatable than its cold counterpart. Salad dressing remains my favorite way to incorporate ACV into my diet.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin:
ACV is anti-microbial, which means it can be used as an effective disinfectant. From treating ear infections to everyday cuts and grazes. The wonder vinegar is also known for its use in the treatment of eczema, which is how I first became aware of it in my search for a natural alternative to use on my daughter. I added a few caps of ACV to my daughter’s bath water for many months. By virtue of its acidic nature, ACV is thought to help restore balance to the skin’s natural pH level. For my part, I noticed a reduction in “flare-ups” on my daughter’s skin, and her skin appeared less inflamed. . Even if you do not have eczema, using ACV in this way can help in gently exfoliating the skin, leaving it softer and healthier. Having regard to its antibacterial properties, some have also used ACV as a face wash and toner to both treat and prevent acne. I have even heard of ACV being used to treat sunburn and as a conditioner for hair.
Dilute, Dilute Dilute..
Apart from when it is used as an actual vinegar, e.g., in a dressing or as a preservative, ACV must be diluted before use. The level of dilution will vary depending on the reason for usage. It is extremely concentrated, so a little goes a long way. As with any product, start small and sparingly to see how your skin and body react.
The claims about ACV are both vast and varied. There is much-continued debate about its efficacy, with many remaining skeptical about the extent of its healing and cleansing properties. Whilst this may not go down as the great debate of the 21st century, my experience of ACV is that it made a difference to my daughter’s skin.
I cannot say that I noticed any real difference in my satiety levels when I consumed it but then, in all fairness, I cannot say I was regimental in my consumption or monitoring of it.
Whatever may have peaked your interest, like any other “super” product, there are enough potential benefits to consider adding ACV to your next shopping list.