Why fitness pros are obsessed with apple cider vinegar

How It Helps: “Apple cider vinegar has a positive impact on gut health because it’s anti-microbial. It helps to break down bad bacteria and feed the good,” say New York City-based master trainer Josh Stolz.

“My digestion improved when I added it to my diet so I started recommending it to clients. One had chronic bad breath that may have been linked to an imbalanced digestive system, so I got her on a daily apple cider vinegar protocol and her breath, digestion, and skin improved within weeks.”

Consistent ingestion of apple cider vinegar has been tied to moderate weight loss as well.“Some studies suggest the acetic acid in it can boost satiety between meals so you may eat less,” says Brian St. Pierre, R.D., a fitness and nutrition coach with Precision Nutrition.

How To Try It: Stir a couple teaspoons into a glass of water and sip before meals. Another trick: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to seltzer water then add stevia to taste (optional). “It’s like drinking a non-alcoholic, non-caloric sparkling cider,” says Stolz, who advises keeping your daily ACV dose to 2 to 3 tablespoons max.

Some advocates favor the pungent tonic first thing in the morning, but pairing it with your starchy meals may be your best bet. “Research shows apple cider vinegar can help prevent blood sugar spikes because it interferes with starch and carbohydrate absorption,” says Stolz. Pros agree that reducing the glycemic response in the body is especially important if you’re diabetic or have insulin resistance, but anyone can benefit. Notes St. Pierre: Ingesting it with a higher carbohydrate meal can decrease post-meal blood glucose levels, which can also lower inflammation and protect blood vessel linings.

Yet another super-worthy stat: Apple cider vinegar enhances the nutrition of bone broth. “Add it to the bones, water, and seasonings—1/8 cup for 1 pound bones, ¼ for 2 pounds of bones, and so on—about a half an hour before boiling. This helps pull more minerals from the bones,” says Stolz.