Apple cider vinegar should be a staple in both your pantry and medicine cabinet. It has so many benefits for whatever ails you and also serves as a fabulous acid addition to all your favorite recipes. But not all brands are created equal. In fact, the quality can vary like that of olive oil or coffee. Here's what you need to know.
The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Research published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that some of the most far-reaching apple cider vinegar benefits come from its antibacterial and antiviral characteristics. Ailments that can be traced from bacteria, viruses, or fungi can likely be treated with the help of apple cider vinegar but that’s not all. Here are just a few of the other conditions that ACV has been used to treat:
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Sinus infections
- Ear infections
- Stomach ulcers
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Dry hair
How to Choose the Best Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to ACV it’s not surprising that keeping it as close to its natural state as possible is important. According to registered dietitian also known as The Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow, “You want apple cider vinegar with a live 'mother'. Braggs ACV has this. You can’t tell by looking, but it must also be unpasteurized. There are a few other organic, “natural” brands, too. These types have more probiotic qualities.”
When making apple cider vinegar, yeast is added to apple juice which starts the fermentation process. Then, the mother or bacteria is added to turn the alcohol to acetic acid. Often store-bought brands have the mother removed because it causes the vinegar to be cloudy. But this cloudiness holds much of health benefits, especially when it comes to probiotics. The label should read that your ACV is raw, unpasteurized, and it should be somewhat cloudy. The mother, which is similar to what you find in kombucha, should also be floating inside the bottle.
What About Apple Cider Vinegar Pills?
Apple cider vinegar pills are made in a similar preparation to the vinegar but then the supplements are dehydrated and made into a pill form. Typically, a capsule contains around 500 mg or about two teaspoons of ACV but this varies by brand. Some brands also include cayenne pepper to aid increased metabolism and weight loss. But the problem is that some people react differently to the pills and it can be dangerous, according to Stacy Tucker, a registered nurse with a certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell and CEO of Almeda Labs. “The ACV pills are renowned for their ability to aid as a weight loss supplement. Even though there is research on the ability of this product to decrease cholesterol and induce weight loss, there are some potentially serious side effects of the product. The dosage in the pills can affect people who have diabetes differently (as ACV can decrease the blood sugar level). It also can disrupt your body’s acid-base balance. Also, excess consumption of ACV can cause a drop in potassium levels in the body.”
While apple cider vinegar supplements can have some benefits, it’s best to talk with a functional medicine doctor or your healthcare professional before taking them, especially with regard to dosage.
The Best Brands of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. BRAGG Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Well known and widely available, BRAGG is still a great product. It’s raw, unpasteurized and you can still see the mother in the cloudy bottle. This is the oldest brand on the market and it’s still worth adding to your shopping cart.
2. EDEN Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
For organic shoppers, EDEN is another well-known brand. You can definitely find it in your health food store. And like BRAGG, it’s raw, pasteurized, and still contains the mother.
3. Dynamic Health Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother
Though it’s not as well known of a brand, Dynamic Health is another source of raw ACV that still contains the mother.
4. Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother
Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is made with fresh 100 percent organic apples. It's unpasteurized and contains the mother.
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