What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Learn about the far-reaching, rich, and delicious history of Apple Cider Vinegar and how it can be incorporated into your diet for a variety of benefits.

| May 2019


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 History

The 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:



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