Is drinking apple cider vinegar good for you? Or is it a myth that its many benefits aren’t true, even if you can get past the flavor and smell?
Apple cider vinegar has been a folk remedy for many years, said Marshfield Clinic Medical Dietitian Chrisanne Urban. It’s also been a preservative and natural home cleanser. More recently it’s become a trend as a natural option to improve health by consuming one to two tablespoons daily in drinks or dishes.
Some swear by it. Others, Urban said, may look for credible research to back that up but aren’t finding much to support the claims.
Fermentation makes it tart
Apple cider vinegar is made through two fermenting processes. First, yeast and bacteria are added to apple juice. Bacteria feed on the juice’s sugars and convert it to alcohol. In the second process, bacteria turn alcohol into acidic acid, giving it its strong taste and smell.
This vinegar is used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives and chutneys. As a beverage, it’s typically one to two tablespoons added to water or with other ingredients as drinks or smoothies.
Pros and cons
Perceived benefits include weight loss, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, improving A1c levels for diabetes and more, but there is little to no evidence that this is true. Also, Urban said, “it may brighten teeth but it also wears tooth enamel away. It could hurt your throat, damage your stomach or burn delicate skin because vinegar is an acid.” It might also cause problems with potassium levels dropping too low.
“If you use vinegar it works best in your food,” she recommends, “like in a tossed salad or slaw since it could clean up lingering bacteria on a salad’s greens, for example.”
With anything, Urban added, “talk with your primary care provider and ask if it’s safe for you. One to two tablespoons added to water or tea is safe for most people but you should still ask this question.
“And there’s no bright, shiny thing out there that’s a cure-all,” she said. “It will add flavor, but it’s not a miracle and we’re always looking for the silver bullet.”
Apple and Red Cabbage Slaw
Prep: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 (1 cup per serving)
- 3 cups coarsely grated red cabbage
- 1 medium orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into matchsticks (1-1/4 cups)
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Toss together cabbage, bell pepper, apple and cilantro in a large bowl.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Each serving, 1 cup, contains 63 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 2 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, 0.5 g saturated fat, 52 mg sodium and 9 g sugar.