Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been used for centuries in cooking and medicinally. Hippocrates is believed to have prescribed ACV for a variety of ailments. The only way to get the health benefits from ACV is to use the raw and unpasteurized version which keeps the beneficial enzymes and trace minerals intact. Raw apple cider vinegar contains strands of enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. This part is referred to as the "mother". Many people believe the "mother" is responsible for its health benefits. You can see it as darker cloudy strings in the bottom of the bottle. ACV is good for you in many ways, but here are just three of them. 1. It balances blood sugar. ACV has been shown to have numerous benefits for improving insulin function and blood sugar levels. This is the benefit with the most scientific data. • 1 tablespoon of ACV in water before meals increases insulin sensitivity and significantly lowers blood sugar spikes during meals. It has an anti-glycemic effect. • 2 tablespoons of ACV in water before bed reduces fasting blood sugar levels and may help you sleep better. 2. It reduces cravings. The blood sugar balancing aspect of ACV can reduce cravings for sweets. If you’re having a sugar craving, drink 8 ounces of water with 1 tablespoon ACV and your craving should go away. 3. It balances pH and boosts stomach acid. Even though acetic acid, the major component in apple cider vinegar is acidic outside the body, like lemon water, it has an alkalizing effect on your body. Most people eat so many acidifying foods, we need this to balance our body’s pH level out. The acetic acid in ACV has been clinically shown to boost stomach acid production in people with low HCL production. It can increase the body's absorption of important minerals from the foods we eat also. How do you use Apple Cider Vinegar? I like to make a lemon, sea salt, apple cider vinegar drink in the morning before my early morning workout or upon rising just to wake me up. Gives me the electrolytes I need to keep going without filling me up. I also like to use it with olive oil or flax seed oil as an easy salad dressing. Or, it can be the base of dressing and you add other ingredients to make your dressing like garlic and Italian seasoning or pureed tomatoes or peppers for more of a French dressing. Sometimes when I know I might have a less than healthy meal soon, I drink 1-2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water between meals to improve digestion and keep my pH levels balanced for better health in my whole body. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is a good raw with mother version. It contains all of the enzymes and beneficial bacteria found in vinegar that are destroyed during pasteurization. A couple precautions, don’t use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also consult your doctor if you have diabetes and on medications. While apple cider vinegar is not a miracle cure, it is a wonderful tonic for better health.