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Food Review/Advice


The sour wineApple Cider Vinegar

It’s best to have
it concentratedand to shot it back like Whisky!

Science says no

Most medical critics claim there is not enough scientific evidence to justify all the claims made about the health promoting properties of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). However, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and that this type of vinegar isn’t beneficial.

Anecdotally,  it is also difficult to assess the therapeutic benefits of this ‘tonic’.  It all  depends on the quality of the product consumed, and how the product is taken (e.g. the concentration of the dose, when it is taken, how often & for how long). These factors are also dependent on why the person is taking or using ACV in the first place — for general health, for specific health concerns, or simply for taste.

Why we love ACV

Many people consider it to be a health tonic. They claim that:

01—It promotes digestion

02—It alkalises and detoxifies the body

03—It regulates blood sugar levels
and aids weight loss

04—It reduces high blood pressure
and cholesterol

05—It reduces pain

e.g. muscle soreness and arthritis

06—It improves the appearance of the skin

e.g. age spots and pimples

07—It assists with allergies and colds

What does ACV do?

It enhances digestion by activating the body’s enzymatic functions, and by powerfully increasing digestive secretions. This leads to better food breakdown and better nutrient absorption. Nutrients heal the body — regardless of the ailment. This could explain the long list of potential cures that are claimed for this sour wine!



How does it work?

Apple cider vinegar contains:

Acetic acid
which gives it its sour taste and pungent smell

Note: the actual nutrient content of ACV (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals and pectin) cannot be easily established. Fortunately, this doesn’t actually matter. You don’t take ACV to get nourishment from the product. You take ACV so you can get the nutrients from your food!

What to look for in an ACV

If you’re currently imbibing ACV, or you’ve been thinking about it, here are some of the words that should feature on the label on your bottle of sour wine:





‘The Mother’

Oh! And obviously ‘apple’, ‘cider’, and ‘vinegar’ should probably appear on the bottle as well!

Alternatively you could just look at the contents. If it’s the ‘good stuff’ it will appear brown and murky — delightful, huh?

Note: Use the clear (cheaper!) vinegars for all your cleaning and some beauty requirements.

Beauty Tip

Personally, I don’t use ACV on my skin, as I think it smells like feet, or maybe, used socks? I can never decide! However, I do use it as a ‘clarifying agent’ for my hair.  I use the supermarket variety (the good ol’ D.Y.C brand!)  I dilute 8 caps of ACV into 500 ml of water and rinse my hair with this (basically I pour it over my head), whenever it’s too oily, or ‘dandruffy’ (usually when I’ve consumed too much sugar or alcohol)

It works a treat. It essentially ‘resets’ my hair. It makes it super clean and leaves it silky soft.  Following this, I wash my hair twice, as the vinegar leaves your hair smelling stinky.

Note: only use this treatment as required, otherwise it can have too much of a ‘stripping’ effect on your hair.

Read the instructions
but don't follow them

On the back label of your ACV, it tells you to dilute your ACV in a glass of water, and to sweeten it with honey. This is not how I advise you take it for your digestive health. The manufacturers of vinegar are generally not health experts — but they are really good marketers! They know they have a product that unless you dilute it and sweeten it, tastes super-sour.  Who would drink it if they didn’t encourage you to mask the flavour!

Note: some manufacturers also encourage you to have more than 30 ml per dosage, as you’ll then go through it more quickly and have to buy more!

It’s supposeD to ‘put hairs on your chest’
ACV is better concentrated, because it will then promote concentrated digestive secretions. If you have this sour wine diluted in a glass of water, it will also dilute the digestive secretions that you are trying to strengthen.

It’s not meant to taste good
Don’t add sweetener to your ACV. To promote digestion you need it to taste sour – that’s the whole point! The ‘sour’ is what encourages your digestive enzymes and secretions to kick in.

How to take ACV to promote your digestive function:

If you have digestive issues this is how you should take it:

When To Take IT
Taken 15-20mins before a main meal

how much to use
(and how long to take it for)

Take 1 tsp to 2 Tbsp as required, but no more than 3x daily

Note: In most cases, you shouldn’t need to use a digestive aid every day, let alone  3x daily . And certainly not for any length of time (over three months)!  If this is the case, then I would advise you to seek the help of a qualified, experienced, and registered Naturopath or Medical Herbalist.

How to make IT

Combine it in a 1:4 ratio with filtered water e.g. 15 ml of ACV to 60 ml filtered water (cold or warm)

Note:  warm water can make ACV taste slightly sweeter.

How to take
Shot it back like whisky!



The benefits of taking it this way:

You avoid lengthy contact with your teeth
(ACV is highly acidic and you should be wary of your tooth enamel)

You don’t have to add any sweeteners to it
(it’s not supposed to be a palatable drinkie poo…)

You wake up your digestion


There are now so many wonderful natural cleaning products on the market that I don’t feel the need to apply the smell of feet/used socks to my household surfaces.


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Unless you have an actual digestive issue (e.g bloating or burping) or a metabolic concern (e.g high blood pressure, or poor blood sugar regulation1), then simply enjoy ACV as a flavouring on your salad dressings and in your marinades. You could also drizzle it over your fish and cooked greens to enhance the taste and to gently encourage absorption of nutrients.


If you require your ACV more diluted than a 1:4 ratio, or you need to add a sweetener to it then maybe ACV is not for you.

Note: As with anything, you could convince yourself that you like or need this. You can do this in much the same way as you can convince yourself that cigarettes or alcohol are a good idea. I don’t encourage this type of perserverance! Please listen to your body’s first impression on the matter.

All things in moderation

Exercise moderation with your ACV consumption, otherwise you can put yourself out of balance (e.g. pH or mineral-wise2), or you could cause a food intolerance (to apples in this case)

Vary your digestive aids. Try Aloe Vera, bitter liquid herbs or lemon in water (same dilutions as ACV). Or simply have a green salad before meals! All of these things can help to improve your digestive processes.

Note: you may want to consider that certain types of foods, and/or the way that you eat them, can contribute to your digestive & metabolic concerns.

Apple Cider Vinegar works most effectively when it doesn’t taste very nice!

Do you want to read more from me about certain foods & drinks?

Please click this link for a selection of my blog-posts 🤗

A word of caution
when using ACV

Please discontinue the use of ACV in the event of any of the following:

If it makes you feel nauseous, hurts the back of your mouth/ throat, or it gives you a stomach ache/irritation, heart burn/reflux, itching, swelling, a rash or anything else.

If you try it for Migraines, Candida or Acid Reflux and it makes your condition worse.

If it makes your skin breakout, or gives you headaches, constipation or diarrhoea.3

If you get unpleasant symptoms from using ACV on an empty gut, or from using it first thing in the morning.

If you have a digestive issue with apples, or have an intolerance to apples.

If you don’t like ACV!



Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice OOMPH, in Grey Lynn (Auckland, New Zealand). Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 13 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

Book online to see Lisa at OOMPH.

Lisa sees clients from all over New Zealand either in person or via SKYPE.

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