What The Heck Is: Apple Cider Vinegar
By The Good Market
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A quick scan of Google is all it takes to become convinced of apple cider vinegar’s seemingly magical properties: It cures cancer! It melts fat! It zaps bacteria! It promotes shiny hair, mends a sore throat, treats nail fungus, cleans kitchenware, and makes your teeth super shiny white!
But, exactly what is this sensationally useful liquid — and is it really the cure-all elixir that alleged “health sites” have made it out to be?
Alas, as with most things in life, since it seems too good to be true, it likely is. There’s actually little scientific consensus about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (lovingly referred to as ACV by its fans). The research supporting its purported cancer-fighting properties, for instance, are murky at best.
But that’s not to say that we should throw our bottle of ACV out the window. Vinegars have been part of ancient folk remedies for millennia (more than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates was using vinegar to treat wounds, and beautiful Cleopatra also downed the stuff). Plenty of anecdotal evidence — and some reputable studies, too — support some of ACV’s merits.
Before we dive into those, however, a brief explainer on what apple cider vinegar actually is: ACV, in short, is the result of exposing crushed apples to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol. Bacteria is then added to the alcohol solution, which ferments it further, turning it into acetic acid.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s, also contains the “mother”— strands of enzymes and protein chock-full of living nutrients and bacteria (it’s similar to the “mother” found in kombucha). The “mother” gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance, and some believe it’s responsible for most of ACV’s purported benefits.
Some people swear by the ritual of drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with water, lemon juice and honey in the mornings “to get the system churning” (a notion that at least this writer can attest to!) If that sounds too intense though, you can add a splash of ACV to perk up a soup dish, or use it to enhance your salads (olive oil, ACV, honey and salt and pepper make for a simple vinaigrette; add fresh lemon juice, mustard or tahini, and minced garlic for an additional kick).
So, what are some of ACV’s top uses and benefits? Here are 11 our favourites: