If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, apple cider vinegar is amazing for us. A health world staple for good reason, if you believed the internet, it’d be good for curing—well, just about everything. According to Dr. Vincent Pedre, author of Happy Gut, the rumors might not be far off. “Apple cider vinegar is the one vinegar that is safe to use in patients with yeast overgrowth or candida,” Dr. Pedre says. “In fact, its high acetic acid content makes it a great anti-microbial agent for protecting the body against harmful bacteria and yeast. In addition to improving digestion and helping gut health, it has other varied health benefits, including reducing the sugar impact of foods, improving blood sugar and HemoglobinA1c levels as well as blood lipids. It even appears to have the ability to protect against oxidative stress, inhibiting heart-disease promoting lipid oxidation.”
Count me in! Here are eight easy ways to incorporate acv into your diet. Just make sure you get the kind that has the “mother” still in it for max benefits. It will state that on the bottle so you won’t miss it.
1. Use it in salad dressing.
The magic vinaigrette ratio is one part vinegar to three parts oil, and the big secret is: You can use any vinegar for your one part. I like to reach for apple cider vinegar, which works great with olive oil, avocado oil, hemp oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil…you name it. Simply whisk together apple cider vinegar and a dab of mustard, then drizzle in oil of choice, whisking aggressively the whole time. Salt generously. You could eat it just like that, or add in extra flavorings of choice: chopped shallot, fresh herbs, minced garlic, or citrus zest.
2. Make an immune-boosting shot.
This one takes a bit of effort, but the results are well worth it. It’s great for fending off colds and flus during the winter season. Basically, you grate a few cloves of garlic, some fresh ginger root, one chopped onion, zest and juice from one lemon into a jar. Top it off with apple cider vinegar until all of the ingredients are covered, and there’s about an inch of apple cider vinegar above. Screw on a lid and let sit for a few weeks (yes, weeks! We’re fermenting here!). When you’re ready to use it, strain out the solids and discard, retaining the liquid. Add honey to taste, if you’d like, and take a shot whenever you’re feeling under the weather, or daily for immunity.
3. Soothe your soul with healthy apple cider.
In the winter, is there anything better than a delicious mug of hot apple cider? You can mimic the flavor without all the sugar by mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a generous shake of cinnamon and honey to taste. The resulting drink? Gut-soothing, digestion-boosting, and oh-so-delicious.
4. Make an energizing morning elixir.
Add this to your morning ritual (many naturopathic doctors swear by it): In a shot glass (you can use a normal glass but it might not feel as fun), combine the juice of one lemon, a splash of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of pink salt for minerals, and water to fill. This is a modified version of my morning kidney detox drink but with added benefits from the vinegar.
5. Add it to baked goods.
Apple cider vinegar helps make baked goods rise, from muffins to cakes to pancakes. Looking for a fluffier pancake batter? Just toss in a splash of apple cider vinegar and whisk until well-combined. A tablespoon or splash will do just fine and won’t make your cake taste vinegary at all.
6. Fluffy rice, here you come.
Add a splash of apple cider vinegar when you add rice, quinoa, or other grains to boiling water for the fluffiest finished product ever.
7. Have you heard of switchel?
Switchel is essentially just an apple cider-based beverage with ginger, honey, and seltzer. To make, just muddle some sliced ginger in the bottom of a jar, add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, honey to taste, and shake aggressively to blend. Leave it overnight in the fridge, then strain out and discard the ginger. Top with seltzer for a sparkly, sweet-and-sour drink that’ll make you forget lemonade even exists.
8. Take it by the spoonful.
This one is a classic. You will find all kinds of websites touting the benefits of improving your digestion by taking a shot of apple cider vinegar before a meal. But you know what, it actually works. For those of us who are low in stomach acid (raising hand!), this is a great way help stimulate digestion. Simply combine a splash of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink before meals to stimulate your digestion and help your meal, whatever it might be, sit comfier in your gut.