The Best Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has gotten some serious hype lately for its supposed health benefits — and if you love apple cider vinegar so much that you’re using it as a salad dressing or produce topping, by all means, go for it! Vinegar contains zero calories, enhances flavor, and poses a low health risk, except for acid reflux-sufferers and diabetics.

But if you’re solely sipping the stuff for its purported effects, science says you’re out of luck. Those claims that ACV will reverse everything from diabetes to weight gain simply don’t have the research behind them — at least for now — so there’s no need to swallow spoonfuls or waste money on apple cider vinegar pills. You’re probably better off just eating an actual apple instead, which will provide fiber and high levels of antioxidants.

Using apple cider vinegar regularly may improve your health overall, but it’s not for the reason you think. When splashed on vegetables, it’s the antioxidant compounds in the produce that actually help reduce the risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular illness, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive decline.

With that in mind, it’s difficult for scientists to determine the amount of beneficial antioxidants in the vinegar itself, which is made by adding bacterial cultures and yeast to apple juice. Since produce, pulses, nuts, and seeds provide a slew of well-established benefits, you’re 100% better off getting your immune-boosting nutrients from nature’s best foods.

Due to acetic acid’s possible link to reduced cholesterol levels, fruit-based vinegar may help prevent cardiovascular disease, especially clot formation. However, the science isn’t substantial enough to make a definitive statement. Researchers don’t fully understand role of polyphenols, the antioxidants found in plant-based foods that protect cells from damage. Your best bet is swapping creamy, sugary dressings for apple cider vinegar instead.