Raw apple cider vinegar, or RACV, has been shown in some studies to help with weight loss and help control blood sugar levels. Apple juice ferments when yeast turns the fruit sugar to alcohol, and then a specific type of bacteria turns that alcohol into acetic acid. RACV also contains antioxidants called polyphenols.
I start my day with hydration, so I added a tablespoon to my morning pint of water. You can add a squeeze of lemon and even a dash of cinnamon or maple syrup if you’d like more flavor. Since RACV has a long shelf life, it’s a great option to keep on hand for when you run out of sauerkraut or to toss in your salad.
Tips to try
With a little forethought, it’s not hard to make fermented foods part of your routine. There’s no daily recommended dose, so you can experiment to find what’s right for you.
Keep your cool. The jar of sauerkraut you find in the condiment aisle and the miso packets you find with the other soups require canning and dehydration processes that kill the live bacteria. Look for sauerkraut in brine (not vinegar) and miso paste near the tofu.
It seems like common sense, but you’ll want to keep those good bugs alive. Stirring some kimchi or sauerkraut into your sauteed veggies or warming it up in the same pan as your chicken sausages might sound great, but you’ll lose the beneficial bacteria before they reach your gut.
Start slow and small. You might find that kombucha or sauerkraut is your new favorite taste sensation, but don’t overdo it. Like many beverages, a bottle might contain more than one serving. And it’s easy to keep sipping or heap that salty crunchiness on and get too much of a good thing—with a fair amount of discomfort.
Grow your own. If you enjoy the product, you can find instructions, recipes and cultures available to order online to start and maintain your own source of good bacteria. Like a sourdough starter, kombucha “SCOBY” (or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and kefir “grains” are nurtured by aficionados, and because they are living cultures, they grow or can be extended. Don’t be surprised if a coworker, parent of your child’s classmate or a friend’s friend might want to give you their extra culture and some tips on maintaining it.