The Best Apple Cider Vinegar

LAST UPDATED: August 28, 2018 by Sasha deBeausset
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, from whitening your teeth to improving your blood sugar. But not all kinds of vinegar are the same. When looking for the best apple cider vinegar, you want one that's organic, unpasteurised and unfiltered. Here's why.
Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Crossgates Apple Cider Vinegar Biona Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Living Earth Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, With the Mother Apple Cider Vinegar 500mg 120 Capsules
Product
Quality

The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Reviewed

Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is the “mother” of all apple cider vinegar if you’ll excuse the pun. The company was started by Paul and Patricia Bragg, a father and daughter. Bragg has long been known as a pioneer in health food and wellness circles.

The company’s apple cider vinegar is un-everything. It’s unfiltered, unpasteurized, and unheated. It’s been diluted to a 5 percent acidity so that it’s neither too strong nor too weak. The vinegar is produced using organic apples. Most importantly, it includes the “mother,” so that you’re able to see the beneficial bacteria within it.

One drawback of the apple cider vinegar is that some people have claimed theirs did not come with the mother in the bottle. Whether that is because the company is including smaller amounts of the mother in each bottle or because some bottles were neglected isn’t clear.

Pros

  • Organic and raw apple cider vinegar
  • Sold in a glass bottle
  • Unfiltered and unpasteurized

Cons

  • Complaints that some bottles do not actually contain the mother
  • It is ACV, so it does have a strong taste that some people find unpleasant

Crossgate Apple Cider Vinegar is also unpasteurised and unfiltered. It’s made from organic apples grown in England and has an acidity of 6 percent. The producer of the vinegar has apparently won awards for its products.

Crossgate ACV boasts that it is “alive,” as it is full of beneficial bacteria and bioflavonoids. It’s also a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and E. The vinegar also claims to contain 19 minerals and beta-carotene.

The recommended use for the vinegar is as an ingredient in cooking or as a diluted drink. The producer advises against drinking the product straight or undiluted.

Pros

  • Good source of multiple vitamins and minerals
  • Organic vinegar that is unpasteurised and unfiltered
  • Made from British apples
  • Sold in a 1-litre bottle

Cons

  • Bottle is made from plastic
  • Some bottles leak during transit or shipping
  • Some users complain about a lack of the mother or that the vinegar is too clear or light in colour.
  • It's worth noting that the colour changes based on the type of apples used

Biona Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is made from organic, cold-pressed apple juice. It’s sold in a massive 5-litre jug, so it should last you a long time, even if you take ACV regularly. The jug has a twist-off pour top as well as a smaller spigot on the side to make pouring easier.

Like other ACVs, Biona Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is unpasteurised and unfiltered, giving it a cloudy appearance and leaving the mother intact. The vinegar has a pH that’s between 4.2 and 5 and usually has 5 percent acidity. The brand makes no claims to the actual acidity of the vinegar since that can vary based on a variety of factors.

Pros

  • Sold in a 5-litre bottle
  • Unpasteurised and unfiltered, made from organic apple juice
  • Made in the UK
  • Two spouts make it easier to measure and pour. Use the larger opening for larger amounts and the smaller opening when you want just a tablespoon or two

Cons

  • Sold in a plastic bottle
  • People seem to doubt that the vinegar actually contains the mother
  • Vinegar might be too sharp and acidic for some.
  • There are some complaints about the quality and taste of this one

Living Earth Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, with the Mother, is made from organic, cold-pressed apples. It’s never heated or pasteurised so that the all of the enzymes and beneficial bacteria are left fully intact. The vinegar also claims to contain a lot of potassium, which can be helpful since taking ACV can lower your body’s potassium levels.

The one-litre package is sold in a glass bottle, but larger amounts (5 litres) ship in a plastic bottle. Glass is usually preferred for vinegar since it is non-reactive. The acidity of the vinegar can cause it to react to plastic, especially when there’s a lot of vinegar and it takes a while for you to use the entire amount. The one benefit of plastic is that it’s less fragile than glass. It also weighs less.

Pros

  • Contains the mother
  • Unpasteurised and organic
  • Sold in a glass bottle (1 litre and smaller)
  • Contains potassium

Cons

  • 5 litre sold in a plastic bottle
  • Some complaints about the harsh taste of the vinegar or that it doesn't taste like apples
  • Can be difficult to pour out of the larger bottle

Apple Cider Vinegar 500mg 120 Capsules might be ideal for you if the thought of drinking vinegar, even diluted with water, makes you gag. It’s recommended that you take between one and three tablets daily for best results.

Each tablet contains 500 mg of apple cider vinegar, without any added ingredients or fillers. The ACV in the tablets comes from apple juice, but there is no mention of whether the apples are organic or not.

It’s unclear how effective tablets are compared to drinking diluted ACV on its own. The product manufacturer claims that the pills will help control blood sugar levels and cholesterol and that ACV contains vitamins and minerals.

The tablets are made in the UK following the GMP code of practice. They are also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Pros

  • Lets you avoid the sharp taste of ACV
  • Capsules are vegetarian/vegan-friendly
  • Easier way to take ACV

Cons

  • No mother
  • It's not clear how effective ACV in pill form is, so it's hard to say if there's much of a benefit to taking the capsules compared to the liquid
  • Not organic
  • Limited uses since it's in pill form. You can't use it to wash your face, whiten teeth or treat dandruff, for example.

How to Choose Apple Cider Vinegar

Like all types of vinegar, the process of fermentation creates apple cider vinegar. If you have a mixture of chopped apples, water and sugar, and you let it sit for long enough, you will eventually end up with apple cider vinegar. The sugars in the mixture turn into alcohol, creating a hard cider. If the cider is exposed to air and let sit for long enough, fermentation continues, according to TheKitchn. Except, in this case, the alcohol transforms into acetic acid, rather than more alcohol. You'll find two kinds of apple cider vinegar for sale. One type is pasteurised, according to the Spruce. That means it has been heated to a particular temperature to kill the "mother," or the mass of bacteria responsible for transforming the alcohol into acetic acid. The second kind of vinegar is "raw," which means it hasn't been pasteurised and still has the mother inside it. Although pasteurised vinegar is often ideal for cooking, people who use apple cider vinegar for health reasons usually prefer the raw variety. When you buy a raw vinegar, you can see the beneficial bacteria inside the jar. It's also ideal to purchase an organic vinegar, sold in a glass jar. The glass won't react to the acidic liquid as a plastic bottle would.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

According to WebMD, people have been enjoying the benefits of apple cider vinegar since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, apparently used it to clean wounds. Apple cider vinegar might have some other health benefits, aside from helping to disinfect cuts and wounds. There is more research to back up some claims compared to others. Here's a list of the potential benefits of taking apple cider vinegar:
  • Lowers blood sugar. Some people believe that drinking a solution of apple cider vinegar and water will help reduce blood sugar spikes after a meal. The BBC put this claim to the test and found that, compared to malt vinegar and no vinegar, apple cider vinegar helped to control blood sugar levels. The solution helped to reduce the level of sugar in participant's blood by 36 percent over the course of 90 minutes.
  • Treats dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is often recommended as a shampoo substitute or as an anti-dandruff treatment. To use it to treat dandruff, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz over your scalp and hair, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. The vinegar's acidity creates an environment that's inhospitable for the fungus that causes dandruff.
  • Improves your heart health. Several studies have pointed to the potential heart-health benefits of apple cider vinegar, according to the Huffington Post. It can help lower levels of cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and protect against fatal heart disease.
  • Helps with weight loss. Some studies have also suggested that apple cider vinegar can help people who are trying to lose weight. CNN reported that a Japanese study found that participants lost a modest amount weight over 12 weeks while taking apple cider vinegar. The study demonstrated that apple cider vinegar might not be enough on its own to help with weight loss, but might boost results when used with diet and exercise.
  • Improves digestion. People occasionally drink a diluted form of apple cider vinegar before meals to help reduce bloating and improve their digestion. Since the vinegar is acidic, it does help the stomach break down foods better.
  • Whitens teeth. Apple cider vinegar can also help remove stains from the teeth, creating a brighter smile. Since the vinegar is acidic, it can wear down the enamel, meaning it's best not to use it too much as a smile brightener.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

The influencers and the internet have popularised the "ACV shot," or drinking an ounce or so of apple cider vinegar, all on its own, in one go. While taking a shot of vinegar might seem glamorous, it's not the best way to use the liquid. Long term, downing shots of an acidic liquid is going to hurt your tooth enamel and oesophagus, according to PopSugar. If you are going to drink your apple cider vinegar, it's best to dilute it with water. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vinegar with 250 mL of water. Another way to enjoy the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar without the harsh taste and acidity is in the form of a tablet. You'd take an ACV tablet like you would any other type of pill. The one drawback is it's not clear whether ACV in pill form is as effective as ACV in liquid form. Since it is a cooking ingredient, you can also use apple cider vinegar in your recipes. Use it in place of another type of vinegar in a salad dressing, for example. You can also add a splash of it to sauteed vegetables to brighten them up or mix it with a bit of milk to create a passable substitute for buttermilk.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe?

The safety of apple cider vinegar mostly depends on how you take it. It's not a good idea to drink it straight, thanks to its acidity. Regularly consuming pure, undiluted vinegar can wear away your teeth's enamel and cause lasting damage to your digestive tract and stomach, according to Well+Good. Strangely enough, ACV might also cause a significant drop in your potassium levels, according to WebMD. Low levels of potassium can affect the way your muscles and nerves function. If you're going to drink ACV, always remember to dilute it. Also, remember that a little goes a long way.

Conclusion

Looking at the top five types of apple cider vinegar available, it seems that Living Earth Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, With the Mother, is the best bet. When you buy the smaller sizes (1 litre or 500 mL), it's sold in a glass bottle. The vinegar also contains the mother and is entirely organic, unfiltered and unpasteurised. It's also high in potassium and other nutrients. The Living Earth apple cider vinegar can also be used in a variety of ways, from rinsing your hair to cooking. Although taste comes down to a matter of preference, it tends to have a more highly rated flavour than other ACV options.  

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