If you spend any time reading about health and wellness and home remedies, you will doubtless have come across countless articles about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. It has become one of the most popular of all home remedies and is used for a diverse range of complaints from acne and warts to weight loss and high blood pressure.
So what is the difference between apple cider vinegar and white vinegar?
There are many different kinds of vinegar available for purchase. Their uses vary from cooking and pickling to cleaning and health. Apart from apple cider and white vinegar, there are several other types that are commonly used.
- Malt vinegar originated in England and is produced from grains – typically barley. It is still the most popular type of vinegar to use on British staples like fish and chips.
- Coconut vinegar is very popular in much of Asia and is made by fermenting coconut juices.
- Cane vinegar is also very popular in certain parts of South east Asia.
The two most widely used kinds of vinegar are white vinegar which is mainly used for cooking and cleaning purposes and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is certainly suitable for culinary use but it has become increasingly popular in recent years for its purported health benefits.
How is Vinegar Made?
Vinegar is produced by means of the same process that is used to distill wine. It will come as no surprise that the word vinegar comes from the French language – ‘vin aigre’ meaning ‘sour wine’.The main difference is that acetic acid is produced when making vinegar as a result of a more concentrated fermentation process.
Vinegar has traditionally been produces slowly over the course of many weeks but modern methods using machinery and bacterial cultures have quickened the fermentation process.
The Difference Between Apple Cider Vinegar and White Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar and ordinary white vinegar are produced in a very similar way but there are some important differences.
Ordinary white vinegar is actually a clear vinegar. It gets produced in the same way as other types of vinegar but is usually derived from the vinegars themselves.
White vinegar has a very sour taste owing to its high acidity. Because of these high acidity levels, white vinegar is not as popular in the kitchen. It is however used for pickling and baking and to preserve meats. It is also popular for cleaning and is used to clean stains, windows, glass and even to sterilize laboratory tools.
Apple cider vinegar or ACV is made by fermenting apple cider. Like other types of vinegar, ACV is fermented first into alcohol. It then gets processed further to increase the acetic acid levels which turns it into a vinegar.
Unlike white vinegar, ACV has a light yellow to brown color and is often sold unfiltered without being pasteurized. The better quality apple cider vinegars are distributed with a substance called ‘the mother of vinegar’. This residue appears on the bottom of your container and is the part of the vinegar which contains the bulk of its health benefits including antioxidant, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Apple cider vinegar possesses several different acids believed to be beneficial to your health. These include malic acid, formic acid and lactic acid. Because it is made from apples, apple cider vinegar also contains various polyphenols with antioxidant properties.
Vinegars of any kind are far from nutritional powerhouses but apple cider vinegar has a slightly higher mineral and vitamin content than white vinegar. To benefit from these nutrients, you would have to consume your ACV in huge amounts. You would need to drink around a cupful of ACV a day to benefit from its nutrients. That would provide around 12% of your daily recommended dose of manganese but would still only offer trace amounts of any other nutrients. Both types of vinegar are low in calorific content with a tablespoon containing roughly 3 calories.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
The main difference between the two vinegars is in terms of their health benefits. While white vinegar may have some beneficial uses, apple cider vinegar has earned a reputation as a diverse home treatment for a very wide range of health issues.
The recent surge in popularity of apple cider vinegar might lead you to think it is a fairly new product but there is absolutely nothing new about it. In fact apples have been used to make vinegar for centuries and it has long been used for medicinal reasons. Hippocrates is said to have prescribed it combined with honey for a range of ailments. While many of the medicinal claims rely on anecdotal evidence, there has been some recent research to back up some of these lofty claims.
Some of the main uses of apple cider vinegar include the following:
Apple cider vinegar is regarded as a tonic for the liver and the lymphatic system and many feel it helps to detox the body naturally. It can help to balance out the pH levels in the body and stimulate lymphatic drainage and bowel movements.
2) For the Skin
Vinegar has natural astringent properties that help to tighten the skin while apple cider vinegar also contains excellent antibacterial properties. It can help cleanse the pores and destroy bacteria in the skin. Many people use ACV as a natural treatment for acne. It is best to dilute your apple cider vinegar before applying it to your face as the acid content may cause irritation.
3) For the Hair
You can use apple cider vinegar to condition your hair and give it a great looking shine. It can also be used to treat scalp conditions like dandruff.
Mix a tablespoon of ACV with a cup or so of water and put it on your hair after you have shampooed. You can do this several times a week and should notice the difference.
4) For Blood Pressure
Several studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood pressure. More research is needed and experts are unsure why it works. It may combat hypertension because of its acetic acid or because it has blood-thinning properties.
5) For Weight Loss
There is a very limited amount of research into the weight loss potential of apple cider vinegar but it is worth mentioning. Research suggest that eating a tablespoon or two of ACV with or before your meal helps to satiate your appetite and reduce cravings for sugar. This leads to people eating fewer calories and may result in weight loss in the long term.
To read our article about apple cider vinegar for weight loss, click on this link.
6) To Whiten the Teeth
You can also use apple cider vinegar as a natural whitener for your teeth. The natural acids in the vinegar help remove stubborn stains when used regularly. Simply apply some apple cider vinegar to your teeth with a finger and rub for a few minutes.
7) To Balance Blood Sugar
The acetic acids in vinegar help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin response and makes it suitable for diabetics.
8) As a Digestive Aid
Apple cider can hep calm the digestive system and is especially useful for acid reflux or heartburn. It helps to balance the pH levels in the gut and can also increase your supply of good bacteria or probiotics.
9) For Candida
Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar two or three times a day can help treat candida especially when used as part of a candida diet.
To sum up, both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar have certain health benefits but good quality apple cider vinegar has far more therapeutic value than the white variety and has become one of the most popular natural remedies in the world.