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Is 'Mother' a Must When Choosing the Apple Cider Vinegar for You?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Apple cider vinegar is a superfood for many, a great household cleaner and beauty product for others, like Scarlett Johansson, who keeps her face flawless using ACV, Huffington Post recently reported.

Apple cider vinegar is a staple in many kitchens. If you aren’t already multi-tasking with this wonder-vinegar, we are going to give you some reasons to start. If you are using apple cider vinegar in a multitude of areas already, we are going to try and suggest a few new ones to simplify your “must have” list and even save you a little money—who can’t use that?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes in a variety of forms. Some people prefer an ACV that is unfiltered and not pasteurized. Typically, this type of ACV will also be made from organic apples, and can be found readily in local health food stores. As ACV becomes more popular, varieties containing the “mother” can frequently be found in general grocery stores, as well. Bragg, a popular brand of raw ACV, describes their product, which includes the “mother,” as such:

Natural (undistilled) organic, raw ACV can really be called one of Mother Nature's most perfect foods. It is made from fresh, crushed apples which are then allowed to mature naturally in wooden barrels, as wood seems to "boost" the natural fermentation. Natural ACV should be rich, brownish color and if held to the light you might see a tiny formation of "cobweb-like" substances that we call the "mother." Usually some "mother" will show in the bottom of the ACV bottle the more it ages. It never needs refrigeration. You can also save some "mother" and transfer it to work in other natural vinegars. When you smell natural ACV, there's a pungent odor and sometimes it's so ripened it puckers your mouth and smarts your eyes. These are natural, good signs.

According to Apple-Cider-Benefits.com (ACBC), most organic, raw apple ciders with “mother” have a 5% acid level, and thus do not need to be refrigerated and have a shelf-life of five years. However, many commercial ACVs have been pasteurized, filtered, refined or distilled, making them more visually appealing than ACV with “mother” floating about the bottle. This does not improve the benefits of the product, however, ACBC indicates. In fact, it destroys and removes many of the healthy benefits attributed to the ACV originally. So, many people choose to use only natural organic, raw ACV. Personally, I like to use natural organic, raw ACV in cooking applications where the ACV is the star of the show, like in dressings and straight-shooting, but I use the less expensive pasteurized versions for things where the ACV is not being consumed, at least not directly, like for marinade, or when I'm using it for household chores.

Household Chores?

Yes, ACV can be used in various household chores, including:

  • Cleaning toilets. Just pour some into the toilet, let it set, scrub, and flush.
  • Dishwashing. Add ACV into the dishwasher instead of your regular detergent for sparkling dishes.
  • All-purpose cleaning solution. Instead of buying one of those pricey solutions, mix one cup of water with ½ cup of ACV. Pour into a spray bottle, and use on appliances, windows, mirrors, shower doors and other similar surfaces.

Health and Beauty Benefits

There are many ways ACV can be used for your health and beauty needs! A few of those include:

  • Dandruff control. Dr. Oz said that one of his favorite uses of ACV is for dandruff control. He suggests mixing ¼ cup ACV and ¼ cup water, pouring it into a spray bottle, and spritzing it onto your hair and scalp. Wrap your head with a towel, and leave for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour. Wash your hair. Twice a week, he indicates, this treatment can be a natural alternative for chemical-containing shampoos.
  • Stomach relief. As long as you do not have an ulcer, a little ACV can quiet a fussy tummy. Just drink a tablespoon of ACV, then a glass of water, The Health Wyze Report suggests. This works, they explain, by correcting low acid and, thus, reducing heartburn.
  • Reduce effects of allergies. This time of the year, it may be a good time to get familiar with this claim to ACV fame. MindGreenBody indicates that research suggests that ACV helps reduce mucus and sinus infection, thus being an aid to allergy sufferers. Step In2 My Green World suggests a mixture of 4 oz. of water, 1/4 cup organic ACV, and honey to taste; drink three times a day when experiencing allergy symptoms. But, they also remind people to check with their own doctor before using the DIY remedy for the first time, as it is possible it could interact with other medications or drugs.
  • Eliminate flea infestations. This time of the year is also a good time to get familiar with how to help your pet with the fleas that will no doubt cling to him and dig in every time he ventures outdoors. Mix one part ACV with one part water, and rub onto your pet, particularly affected areas. Do this every day, saturating the pet’s coat, for a week. The fleas will flee!
  • Weight loss. This is probably the most popular reason for drinking ACV straight! But, if you cannot take it straight, mix two teaspoons of ACV with water and drink—however much water you need to get it down. You can drink it all at once, or you can sip on it throughout the day. MindGreenBody references a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, which indicated participants consuming acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides; acetic acid is a main ingredient of ACV.

One final ACV suggestion: Last year, we used ACV as part of a trap for pesky fruit flies. Just take a wide-mouth jar, add a few inches of ACV, and you have a trap fruit flies will love--and so will you, because it actually does work! It does not look terribly appealing as dead fruit flies start accumulating in the ACV, but, hey, it works.

So, should you use ACV with “mother” or a pasteurized, filtered version? That is up to you. But, it is clear that ACV should absolutely be in your pantry, “mother” or otherwise!

Oh, and a word of caution: If you have never drank ACV, be careful! Some people claim to love it and the "kick" they get from just knocking it back straight; others, like myself, feel that it is too strong--absolutely takes my breath away if I try to just "shoot" it--and, therefore, diluting it with water is a must. Give it a little sip first--don't just slam it back without knowing what it tastes like to you!

Read more about Scarlett Johansson's ACV beauty routine on Huffington Post.

Image: Pinterest/Step In2 My Green World

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