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Apple cider vinegar has numerous health, beauty, and household uses, and you'll be happy to know that Simple Girl now offers our own version of apple cider vinegar. Since many of our readers already swear by this pungent concoction, we figured we would offer our own high-quality version that you can buy when you stock up on your Simple Girl dressings and sauces.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from apples, which are squeezed to release the liquid inside. The resulting cider is combined with yeast and bacteria to start the fermentation process, during which the sugars in the cider are turned into alcohol. Another fermentation process is then used to turn the alcohol into acetic acid, which is what gives the ACV its strong smell and sour taste. Classified as a "weak acid," acetic acid makes up about five to six percent of the apple cider vinegar.

While most of the apple cider vinegar you find in the supermarket has been heavily filtered and pasteurized, the most beneficial ACVs are those which are unfiltered and still contain the helpful bacteria that develops during fermentation. These unfiltered ACVs are described as being "with the mother," with "the mother" being the beneficial bacteria that remains in the ACV.

Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for You?

Apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally since the time of Hippocrates, who treated wounds with it. While many claims about the benefits of ACV aren't supported by research, studies have found that acetic acid in the vinegar benefits our health in a number of ways, including reducing obesity and improving blood sugar and insulin levels.

Apple cider vinegar also contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that slow and even reverse cell damage that can cause a range of diseases, including cancer.

Using ACV Properly is Important

Many people drink apple cider vinegar for a variety of health benefits, but consuming too much of it can cause damage to your teeth, throat, and stomach. Excessive ACV consumption may lower your potassium levels, which can affect the function of your muscles and nerves. ACV can also affect the effectiveness of some medications, particularly those that treat heart disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that you start using ACV in small amounts at first, and work your way up to no more than two tablespoons per day. If you're drinking ACV, dilute it in water first to reduce the risk of damaging your tooth enamel. After you take apple cider vinegar, rinse your mouth out with water, and don't brush your teeth for 30 minutes afterwards.

Cooking with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a delicious addition to salads, salad dressings, dips, soups, stews, and even drinks. One of our favorite recipes using apple cider vinegar is a simple-to-make cucumber salad. To make this tangy side dish, whisk together ¼ cup of ACV, two tablespoons of olive oil, two teaspoons of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Slice about four medium cucumbers, and toss the slices with the ACV mixture. Cover, and refrigerate for at least a half hour — better yet, let it sit in the fridge overnight. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up with some delicious burgers or barbecue.

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