Are you wondering when to drink apple cider vinegar to best harness its health benefits?
What is apple cider vinegar?
Used in food and beauty since the time of ancient Greece, apple cider vinegar is still hugely popular today.1
These days, apple cider vinegar (often shortened to ACV) is widely used for its health benefits, which are said to include weight loss, better digestion and boosted immunity.
ACV is made from fermented apples with yeast and bacteria that naturally forms during the fermentation process. When the sugars from the apples ferment, acetic acid is created. It’s this substance which is thought to hold health benefits.2
Why drink apple cider vinegar?
It may seem strange to think of drinking vinegar as we’re so used to just using vinegar as a salad dressing or even over chips.
But in fact, drinking apple cider vinegar is said to bring better health, from helping with digestion to supporting your immune system and much more.
These benefits are part of what makes apple cider vinegar so popular, and as a result, you might have heard people extolling the virtues of a daily shot of ACV.
However, you may be thinking how much should I drink? And when?
And, perhaps most importantly, how to drink apple cider vinegar? Can you drink apple cider vinegar straight?
Luckily, we’ll tell you all you need to know below.
How much apple cider vinegar should you take per day?
Most of the studies surrounding apple cider vinegar recommend that you don’t exceed more than 2 tablespoons of ACV per day.
The best way to start taking apple cider vinegar is to start small!
Try ½ tablespoon at first and slowly work your way up to 2.
Can you drink apple cider vinegar straight?
Due to its high acidity, you shouldn’t drink apple cider vinegar straight.
Drinking apple cider vinegar straight could damage your teeth and your throat.
So, it’s always best to dilute your apple cider vinegar with water or mix it into a drink or dressing.
When should you drink apple cider vinegar?
You might be wondering when to include apple cider vinegar into your routine.
Should you be taking it in the morning as part of your morning routine, or should you be taking it at night before you go to bed?
Find out below!
Drinking apple cider vinegar in the morning
Some people recommend you drink apple cider vinegar in the morning when you wake up before you’ve eaten or drunk anything.
The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar in the morning can include the following:
- Fresher breath
- A boost for the digestive system
What’s the evidence?
Drinking apple cider vinegar can be an effective way of neutralising bad breath. It’s anti-microbial and kills the bacteria which thrive in your mouth overnight and cause that nasty morning breath.3
Drinking apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning is also thought to have a ‘detoxifying’ effect on the digestive system when the stomach is empty of food.4
ACV is thought to contain traces of pectin, a type of soluble fibre which apples are rich in.5
Pectin acts as a natural laxative, however, the scientific evidence around the laxative effects of ACV is lacking.6
What’s our verdict?
If you want to drink a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning, there shouldn’t be any harm in doing so. You could experience better digestion and fresher breath throughout the day.
If you’re wondering how to drink apple cider vinegar in the morning due to the strong taste – it’s easily masked with a squeeze of lemon juice or even added to warm herbal tea.
Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can cause erosion of tooth enamel and the lining of your oesophagus, so always dilute it.
Drinking apple cider vinegar after meals
Should you be drinking apple cider vinegar after meals? If so – why?
- To aid digestion
What’s the evidence?
The cloudy substance at the bottom of bottles of unfiltered apple cider vinegar is known as ‘The Mother’. This is a collection of strands of bacteria and enzymes which act as a prebiotic.
Prebiotics encourage the growth of friendly bacteria and help you maintain a healthy gut flora (known as a microbiome).11
You could drink diluted apple cider vinegar after a meal, but we think it’s best to drink it before a meal (as above).
The reason for this is that there are proven benefits to drinking it before a meal (namely, the blood sugar balancing effect) and drinking it before a meal would have no adverse impact on any prebiotic qualities.
To get a mid-meal fix, add apple cider vinegar to cooking. It is excellent in dressings, sauces, and marinades, just as you’d use white wine vinegar.
Drinking apple cider vinegar before bed
It’s hardly as soothing as a cup of chamomile tea, but could it be even better for you? Should you drink apple cider vinegar before bed?
- It might help lower blood sugar overnight
- It could help stop leg cramps
What’s the evidence?
Ingesting ACV before you go to sleep might help you wake up with stable blood sugar.
A study published in the Diabetes Care journal found that taking vinegar at bedtime moderates glucose concentration when you wake up.12
Low potassium levels in the body can lead to muscle cramps. Many people suffer from these at night, so drinking potassium-rich apple cider vinegar could help keep cramps at bay.
What’s our verdict?
If you’re concerned about blood sugar levels or if you experience night-time muscle cramps, you could take two tablespoons of ACV before bed to help balance them overnight.13
However, be aware that due to the acidic nature of ACV, doing so might cause acid reflux in those prone to indigestion, heartburn, or GERD, in which cases you should avoid apple cider vinegar.
Again, be sure not to drink it straight, as it can damage your tooth enamel and the delicate lining of the oesophagus. Instead, why not add your ACV to a cup of calming chamomile tea, being sure to rinse your mouth afterwards?
Read more: 9 health benefits of apple cider vinegar
8 wonderful ways to take apple cider vinegar:
Making apple cider vinegar part of your daily routine has never been easier.
From drinking apple cider vinegar and honey for a sweet twist, to water with apple cider vinegar and even apple cider vinegar gummies, there are so many ways to make apple cider vinegar part of your lifestyle.
You don’t just have to drink it either, there are some other delicious ways to incorporate ACV.
Here are 8 of our favourite ways to take apple cider vinegar as part of your diet below!
- Apple cider vinegar and honey with lemon
We’ve learned that taking apple cider vinegar straight isn’t great for you. So, why not try mixing ACV into a delicious drink?
Mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey creates a tasty, sweet drink.
You could even add a pinch of cinnamon for extra flavour or add more honey to make it sweeter!
(Make it a teaspoon of Manuka honey and it’ll be even better!)
- Water with apple cider vinegar
A simple, but effective, way to take your daily dose of apple cider vinegar is to simply mix your ACV into a glass of water.
You can add anywhere up to 2 teaspoons into your water but remember to start small if you’re just starting to introduce apple cider vinegar to your diet.
- Take an apple cider vinegar gummy!
Maybe the most efficient and easiest way to introduce apple cider vinegar into your routine is to take apple cider vinegar gummies.
These pre-made gummies contain a carefully measured dose of apple cider vinegar, so there’s no messy measuring for you to do.
Another bonus, these gummies often have other vitamins added to them, so they’ll benefit you in other ways too.
They also often don’t have too much of a taste, so if the thought of consuming vinegar feels weird to you, this could be the best way to take apple cider vinegar.
- Add apple cider vinegar to a salad dressing
Quick and easy, an apple cider vinegar salad dressing is a tasty way to not only take your daily dose of ACV but also add a bit flavour to your favourite salad.
Our favourite salad dressing recipe is super simple. You’ll only need 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of any cooking oil, one crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper.
Simply mix it all together and drizzle over your salad!
- Take it as a shot!
Perhaps a bit different to the shots you might take at the weekend, taking apple cider vinegar as a small shot, particularly in the morning, can really kickstart your day.
All you need is some water, lemon juice, honey, turmeric, and apple cider vinegar.
Mix a squeeze of lemon, 1 teaspoon of honey (2 if you want it a bit sweeter), ¼ of a teaspoon of turmeric, and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a small cup of water and (if you have enough) separate the mix out into small shots.
Once you’re more familiar with apple cider vinegar, you can work your way up to 2 tablespoons.
- Mix into your favourite recipes
If you’re keen to start cooking with apple cider vinegar, there are some easy ways to add ACV to some of your favourite recipes.
For instance, if you’re a fan of chutney or jam, you can add a tablespoon or two to your favourite recipe for a hint of acidity.
You can even try adding apple cider vinegar to cooking sauces or even stews.
Check out our apple cider vinegar recipes for more!
- In a pickle!
For a more mellow, sweet taste when pickling your favourite vegetables, swap out regular vinegar for apple cider vinegar!
ACV is a much less harsh alternative to other vinegar types, so when using apple cider in your pickles, they will be slightly less sour.
You can even add herbs and spices to your pickle for a unique taste that’s completely your own.
- Add it to your tea
Green tea contains some great nutrients that have a so many benefits for your health and well-being – combine that with a splash of apple cider vinegar and well, your tea will really pack a punch!
Simply brew your green tea as normal and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Give it a stir and voila!
For a sweeter taste, you can even mix in a teaspoon of honey or a squeeze of lemon.
What's even better is that you can drink your green tea and apple cider vinegar cold or hot! If you want to drink it cold, pop it in the fridge to chill and add some ice to your glass when you’re ready to drink!
The final say
Not only is apple cider vinegar a great all-around ingredient for your health and well-being, but there are so many ways you can introduce it to your diet.
As a drink, a salad dressing or even in a gummy form, you can make the most of all the great benefits of apple cider vinegar with very little effort.
But, as a great ingredient in face masks and even in foot soaks, a bottle (or two) in your kitchen cupboard will undoubtedly never go to waste.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 01 November 2022