Should You Drink Plain Apple Cider Vinegar? Gut Health Benefits & How-To
What's the deal with ACV for gut health?
"Start having fermented foods in your diet," Shah recommends when asked about healthy gut health habits. And yes, this technically includes apple cider vinegar1. ACV is not itself a probiotic, but it is considered a probiotic food—in essence, it's a great addition to your probiotic-rich diet. Still, it shouldn't be your only source of good bacteria.
However, ACV has more benefits when it comes to metabolic health. In fact, one study even showed that daily vinegar intake (about 2 to 6 tablespoons per day) improved the glycemic response to carbohydrate-rich meals2; another found that consuming apple cider vinegar reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy participants.
How to consume it correctly.
The best way to consume ACV? In whatever form you enjoy so that you stick with the ritual. You can add it to salad dressings, soups, and smoothies, or drink it a la carte. However, tossing back a few teaspoons might not be the best for your oral health. Remember: It's pretty acidic!
"If you're taking it by the mouthful, you've got to be careful with your teeth and your esophagus," Shah says. Simply pop a reusable straw in your cup of ACV or dilute it with water for a tasty tonic instead.
Here are a few more ideas if neither of those sounds appealing:
- Add it to bone broth.
- In your tea.
- Mix it with warm water & honey.
- In a cucumber or carrot salad.
- As a regular vinegar replacement.
And if ACV just isn't your thing, that's OK—it's an acquired taste. Not everyone loves fermented foods, but those who stay away should opt for a daily probiotic supplement to fill the gap. And even if you are a fermented foods fan, your gut still might need the extra help. Here's our curated list of the very best probiotics on the market right now, if you're on the hunt.
Tending to your gut health is important, and adding ACV to your diet is just one way to do so. Pop a few spoons of this tangy ingredient in some cold water, hot tea, or salad dressing, or feel free to experiment with them all to find your favorite method.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.