ACV: Vinegar’s MVP
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has a reputation that transcends the status of other pantry vinegars. The very need to abbreviate its name goes to show it’s a hot topic, which it is: there are thousands of articles on the stuff, shared by health gurus and foodies alike. The phrase “apple cider vinegar benefits” is searched 135,000 times a month. So, what sets it apart from humble malt, or even regular cider vinegar?
The Mother of Vinegar (MOV) – a composition of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria – is responsible for the fermentation process that brings must (juice containing skins, seeds and stems) through alcohol to vinegar.
Aside from the fact that ACV is made from apples while other vinegars might be made from grapes, grains or a variety of different bases, the difference lies with this ‘mother’. Organic, unpasteurised vinegars contain the cloudy, web-like substance, while others are pasteurised and filtered to remove it and keep it out. And they’re missing out!
The MOV has been lauded by many as an excellent source of probiotics (and we like those a lot – see our blog on sauerkraut for the low-down on their benefits), but research doesn’t bear that out. Bacteria present in the MOV need oxygen to survive, which we don’t have in abundance in our guts, so it’s unlikely these bacteria would set up shop there. However, studies have shown that the MOV contains high concentrations of iron and antioxidants such as gallic acid. If you didn’t know, iron is essential for transporting oxygen around our bodies and antioxidants are just great, preventing cancer-causing and heart disease-contributing cell damage.
Another benefit of the MOV is that it serves as a clue: evidence that the vinegar in which it’s suspended is raw – unpasteurised and unheated, and likely organic. This means the nutritious, live-enzyme rich fluid is as close as possible to its natural state. Which in turn means that in consuming it you are reaping the maximum possible benefits.
The Many Benefits of Raw ACV
First things first: flavour. Some say that raw ACV tastes more apple-y and more delicious than its pasteurised counterpart. Flavour is, of course, a very important consideration when choosing a food product, and many agree our vinegar in it’s raw, unpasteurised state has the perfect tang.
The benefits go further still. While some claims about health properties of ACV have been considered controversial, a recent study reviewed years of quality research and noted many functional properties, including:
- Blood Sugar Control – ACV can reduce blood glucose levels after consumption of starchy foods.
- Lipids – daily consumption of ACV can change the regulation of lipids, reducing cholesterol. A possible knock-on effect is weight loss in people with obesity and high blood pressure.
- Anticancer – Polyphenols in fruit (which are also in ACV) can have anticancer properties.
- Other properties – ACV also has strong antioxidant effects, can reduce fatigue and can also protect against osteoporosis.
Not bad for a store-cupboard staple!
How to ACV
Some like to use ACV in their homemade cleaning products. While the antimicrobial and antifungal properties do make it a very effective tool in your cleaning armoury, we like to reserve our carefully made ACV for…ourselves!
Skin and Hair
- Throw together a homemade toner One tablespoon ACV diluted in two cups of water and wiped over a clean face stimulates circulation.
- Shine up your hair with an ACV rinse. Diluted in a cup of water, two tablespoons of ACV are enough to strip product residue and give you gloss. Or, in equal parts with water and rubbed into the scalp, ACV’s antifungal properties can help combat
- Treat bites with the anti-inflammatory, pH-balancing powers of straight ACV.
- Deodorise feet with an ACV soak: one cup ACV to four cups water.
Zing Up your Diet with ACV
- Shake it up with some oil, salt and herbs for the most delicious salad dressing.
- Use it as the base for homemade mayonnaise.
- Stir it with water and a little honey for a cupful of vitality.
- Sprinkle it over rice for a subtle tang.
- Slip some in your favourite smoothie to upgrade the health benefits.