Apple cider vinegar is Mother Nature’s way of showing how much she loves us. Derived from the juice of fermenting apples, apple cider vinegar has a variety of health benefits.
From preventing diabetes and promoting weight loss to detoxifying your entire body from the inside out, apple cider vinegar has proven to be beneficial since 400 B.C. Even the “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates, utilized the medicinal properties of apple cider vinegar to cure a variety of ailments including coughs and colds.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, also known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from apple cider or apple must. Chopped apples are covered with water and left at room temperature until the natural sugars ferment to form ethanol. Bacteria and yeast then work together during the second process of fermentation to convert this alcohol into acetic acid, which in return creates apple cider vinegar.
The word vinegar is derived from the Latin words Vinum, meaning wine, and Acer, meaning sour. In essence, vinegar simply means sour wine. Although the properties in apple cider vinegar prove to be beneficial, you must take into consideration that not all ACVs are created equally.
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar vs. Filtered Apple Cider Vinegar
Plainly speaking, filtered apple cider vinegar is made of apple juice and water. The filtering process removes the vinegar (also known as the “mother”) and any other residue, resulting in a clear, amber-colored vinegar. It is likely that this vinegar has also been pasteurized, which further refines and clarifies the vinegar.
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is also made of apple juice and water, but the “mother” hasn’t been filtered out and the vinegar isn’t pasteurized. Its appearance is often cloudy and may contain small amounts of residue.
What is the “Mother” in Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar that contains the “mother” is simply unfiltered, unpasteurized, and unrefined apple cider vinegar. The “mother” is a complex colony of beneficial bacteria, similar to that which is in Kombucha, that helps create vinegar through a second process of fermentation.
Unrefined vinegar has a cloudy appearance and still contains the mother culture. Filtered and pasteurized vinegar typically does not contain the mother culture and doesn’t carry the same benefits. Refined vinegar is typically great for cleaning while unrefined contains medicinal properties.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
The medicinal capabilities of apple cider vinegar may seem infinite due to its essential health-promoting probiotics and enzymes. Studies prove apple cider vinegar’s uses range from soothing sunburns to promoting weight loss. Some even suggest that apple cider vinegar cures common cold symptoms, seasonal allergies, and acid reflux.
Promotes Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar has gained a plethora of popularity among natural health experts and fitness gurus in the weight loss world. Studies actually prove their commotion to be true. As a suppressor of hunger, apple cider vinegar has proven to evoke a feeling of satiety when consumed.
As a matter of fact, one study conducted by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows drinking apple cider vinegar reduced total calorie intake by 200-275 calories over the course of one day. Although 275 calories may seem minute considering there are 3,500 calories in a pound, coupled with a healthy diet and physical activity, it’s more likely you’ll reach your weight loss goal sooner.
Tip: Although apple cider vinegar promotes weight loss, it doesn’t mean that it should be relied upon by itself. For desired results, incorporate a healthy diet and exercise into your daily lifestyle. Your apple cider vinegar can’t do the heavy lifting all by itself.
Apple cider vinegar can promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can build up in your arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. High blood cholesterol puts a strain on your heart, making it work harder to push blood throughout your body.
Tip: Along with one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, try limiting your sugar intake and include a variety of healthy fats to help reduce your cholesterol levels.
Increases Insulin Sensitivity and Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
A study conducted by Diabetes Care showed vinegar consumption helped improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34 percent in those struggling with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
The ability of apple cider vinegar to help maintain normal blood sugar is a well-studied benefit. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one study proved that consuming vinegar after eating a slice of white bread reduced blood sugar levels by a whopping 31 percent.
Enhances Skin Health
The benefits of apple cider vinegar go far beyond improving your internal health; it’s also been proven to enhance your skin’s natural glow, reduce scarring and combating acne. Apple cider vinegar contains essential components like lactic acid, succinic acid, acetic acid and citric acids, which work together to combat the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, a specific strain of bacteria that causes acne.
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, treating acne scars with lactic acid, which is a component of apple cider vinegar, over a span of three months significantly improved pigment and texture in the skin along with reducing the appearance of scars.
Tip: Try taking a bath with apple cider vinegar to balance your pH levels or incorporate apple cider vinegar into your favorite facial mask for healthier skin. We’ve got a simple recipe for an apple cider vinegar facial mask that you can try:
Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Honey Facial Mask
- 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes.
While rinsing off with warm water, use a washcloth for added exfoliating effects.
Inside the World of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a plethora of health benefits ranging from promoting weight loss to improving skin health. It was once said that apple cider vinegar helped the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, win a bet with Marc Anthony by claiming she could spend a fortune on a meal by simply dissolving a pearl in a glass of apple cider vinegar and drinking it.
Although apple cider has proven to be beneficial for your health, but it has certain side effects you should be aware of. Before you start chugging a gallon of apple cider vinegar to reap its benefits, make sure you consult with your primary care physician to ensure adding apple cider vinegar to your daily diet is a good fit for you.
Sachdeva S. Research Letter: Lactic acid peeling in superficial acne scarring in Indian skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010;9(3):246-248. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2010.00513.x.
Östman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59(9):983-988. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602197.
Johnston C, Buller A. Vinegar and Peanut Products as Complementary Foods to Reduce Postprandial Glycemia. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105(12):1939-1942. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2005.07.012.