Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is apple cider that has been fermented using yeast. The natural sugars within the fruit are broken down by the yeast and bacteria and turned into alcohol—this is the fermentation process. The alcohol then undergoes a second fermentation process, and voilà! Vinegar. While a wide variety of carbohydrates can be used to create vinegar, apples are the only source that provides the unique taste and health benefits of ACV.
Apple cider vinegar has been a kitchen staple for decades, but few people are aware of its powerful uses beyond a splash on a salad or a dash in a dish. The organic, unfiltered variety of ACV is a very different from the regular apple cider vinegar that is on almost every grocery store shelf. The difference between the organic, unfiltered variety and the heavily processed version is in how the vinegars are produced. Organic apple cider vinegar is more nutritious and boasts more health benefits. You can visually tell the difference between organic and non-organic apple cider vinegar by looking at them. Organic ACV has a slightly cloudy appearance, with sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Non-organic ACV is clear, without any visible particles. This is because the non-organic variety has undergone pasteurization—a process in which a substance is heated and distilled. The pasteurization process kills many of the naturally occurring bacteria, nutrients, and enzymes in the apple cider vinegar—commonly referred to as “the mother”—and all the health-boosting properties they contain.
ACV in HistoryThe use of vinegar to fight infections and other health conditions dates back to Hippocrates (circa 460– circa 377 B.Sc.). Known as the “father of medicine,” this Greek physician utilized vinegar for cleaning wounds and treating open and infected lacerations, and also prescribed a combination of vinegar and honey for persistent respiratory conditions.
The “Mother” in Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains an all-powerful “mother”—the cobweb- or sediment-like substance that can be seen floating in unfiltered varieties of ACV. The mother contains the concentrated bacteria and enzymes that give ACV the antifungal, antiviral, and anti-bacterial healing powers for which it has become so famous. While some people may be put off by the sediment in their ACV bottles, this element is the result of the specific processing that retains the nutrients and enzymes of the apples throughout the fermentation process, and thereby provides ACV’s unique healing powers.
The Beneficial Nutrients of ACV
Apples are packed with vitamins and minerals that give ACV its myriad health benefits. The key is to buy raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Because of the careful process that is used to create this variety of ACV, the essential nutrients that are so sought after remain intact and unadulterated. Here are the vitamins present and their health benefits:
- Vitamin A: for eye health; also, a powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin B1: for nervous system functioning, digestive health, and muscle health
- Vitamin B2: for healthy skin, hair, and nails; also aids in breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Vitamin B6: for alleviating skin conditions and nerve damage; also assists in utilization of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Vitamin B12: for red blood cell formation and proper nerve cell functioning
- Vitamin C: for immune system functioning; also a powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin E: for skin and nerve health; also a powerful antioxidant
There are also a number of minerals found in raw, unfiltered ACV:
- Calcium: for bone health
Chromium: regulates blood glucose
- Copper: for nerve functioning, bone maintenance, and proper utilization of glucose
- Iron: for transport of oxygen and blood health
- Magnesium: for synthesis of proteins and cellular energy production
- Manganese: for formation and maintenance of bone, and carbohydrate metabolism
- Phosphorous: for proper cell functioning and strong bones
- Potassium: for muscle contraction, nerve impulses, and energy production
- Selenium: for fat metabolism; also has antioxidant properties
- Sodium: maintains proper fluid balance
- Zinc: promotes healing
Apples (and apple cider vinegar) also contain pectin, which has been shown to aid in digestion. That’s how ACV is able to act as a cleansing agent and assist the colon in ridding the body of toxins and waste that have built up over time. The pectin in ACV forms a gel-like substance that attaches to debris in the digestive system and helps carry it away naturally.
Integrating ACV into Your Daily Life
The simple addition of ACV into your daily routine will give you vast and plentiful health benefits. From glowing skin and better focus to improved digestion and regulated hormonal production, the results of ingesting ACV can be life altering. Apple cider vinegar has a lot of potential uses, from beauty products to home cleaning applications, but in terms of ingesting it for health, there are a few things to be aware of. First of all, this is a vinegar, so it is highly acidic and sour tasting. It is not something you would want to (or should) drink straight. Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted or mixed into a drink like the ones in this book. There is no set dosage of apple cider vinegar, but most people take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon (diluted in some way) up to three times a day.
More from Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks for Health
Excerpted from Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks for Health: 100 Teas, Seltzers, Smoothies, and Drinks to Help You Lose Weight, Improve Digestion, Increase Energy, Ease Colds, Relieve Stress, and Look Radiant by Britt Brandon Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photographs by James Stefiuk.