What's The Deal With Apple Cider Vinegar?

By Jessica Hamlin

Could something cheap and basic have great health benefits? That certainly seems the case with apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar—“ACV” as fans call it—is made from fermented apples, sugar, and water. During fermentation, the sugar is eaten up by good bacteria—also called “the mother.” This is similar to the slimy strands of bacteria, or “SCOBY,” you see in kombucha.

You can find these good bacteria in unfiltered ACV online or in stores. Filtered ACV, on the other hand, is clear and can make a good non-toxic household cleaner.

Why it’s good + How to take it:

Some people drink ACV daily (usually in the morning) and some have it just when they don’t feel well. If you try apple cider vinegar, dilute it and try a small amount first, such as a teaspoon. It’s very acidic, so drinking it straight up is not recommended—for health reasons, and also because it tastes like burning.

Here are some of apple cider vinegar’s reported benefits:

Boosts energy: Exercise and stress can cause lactic acid to build up in the body and make you tired. Counteract that with a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in a glass of chilled water or veggie juice.

Eases upset stomach: If a bacterial infection is at the root of it, ACV’s antimicrobial properties could help with that, too. Mix one or two tablespoons of ACV into a glass of water or clear juice and drink.

Cold remedy: This age-old cold remedy pairs ACV with honey, which soothes the throat and is also antibacterial. So long, bad germs. Mix one-part ACV with five-parts warm water and two-three tablespoons of raw honey.

Relieves nighttime leg cramps: Leg cramps could be due to low potassium—and ACV is high in potassium—so drink up. One home remedy suggests drinking a mixture of two tablespoons apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon honey in a glass of warm water.

Helps control blood sugar: Reader’s Digest reports: “One study of people with type 2 diabetes who weren't taking insulin found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed resulted in lower glucose levels by morning. Another study at the Arizona State University found that insulin resistant people who drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before eating a high carbohydrate meal had lower blood sugar afterward.”