Apple Cider Vinegar: Have it by the spoonful or add it to smoothies for health benefits (it's backed by science!)

By Ananda Eidelstein
Updated March 22, 2018
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Often an ingredient has an element of surprise: A dual purpose for better health. Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, is one of those. It's not just sitting in your pantry, waiting to perk up a salad dressing. Years ago, I began taking apple cider vinegar by the spoonful, sometimes adding to water, and frequently to morning smoothies. At first, this seemed crazy, but I heard that it had numerous health benefits, like improving gut health. I was surprised to find the health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar go way beyond just aiding digestion.

Raw, unfiltered, and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s, is my favorite to keep on hand. ACV is made from fermented apple juice and those that include the “mother,” which is what is believed to have the bulk of the good-for-you bacteria your gut loves and what makes it murky. So that sediment at the bottom, don't worry: It's normal. You can find raw ACV on the shelf you'd find other vinegars. Keep in mind that although you can use other apple cider vinegars, the ones that aren't raw might not have the same health benefits.

Studies have shown that vinegar can have a powerful effect on keeping blood sugar levels in a normal range by improving insulin function. In a study with individuals with Type 2 diabetes, results showed that just by taking 2 tablespoons of ACV before bedtime, can favorably impact blood sugars levels when waking up.

ACV has been shown to also increase feelings of fullness and, in turn, lead those who drink it to consume fewer calories, which is most likely the reason why ACV is believed to be good for weight loss. Its antimicrobial properties (killing the bad kind of bacteria, which can help reduce the time you're sick) is also something to note. I like adding some to tea when I’m fighting a cold and I added it to this easy, homemade elixir, too.

The most accessible and easiest way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is by diluting anywhere from one teaspoon to two tablespoons in a glass of water. You can also incorporate it into what you might already be eating every day. I like adding it to smoothies and drizzling it over vegetables (delicious with smashed cucumbers and salt) or salads. Of course, if its pungency makes you hesitant to drink it on its own, you can buy one of many drinking vinegar products now on the market. We love these tasty and handy vinegar shots by Vermont Village that we can take anywhere. And we also enjoy BluePrint’s refreshing Ginger Maple Tonic made with 2 teaspoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Reap the benefits of this affordable, all-natural ingredient.