Full disclosure, I’ve been a longtime, die-hard fan of Jennifer Aniston. Since first seeing her in the role of Rachel Green on Friends, I’ve been fascinated by her style, hair (duh), and incredibly healthy lifestyle. So, when I heard that one of her wellness rituals involved daily shots of raw apple cider vinegar, I decided to drink it for a week. If ACV is indeed the secret recipe for Aniston’s flawless mane, skin, and general flawlessness, I’ll have what she’s having.
Now, ACV’s unsavory flavor and overwhelming acidic effect is not lost on me. In fact, the very idea of sipping the potent stuff made my stomach turn at first. Why would anyone sip it raw, I thought? Well, according to nutritionist Cara Clark of Clara Clark Nutrition, a score of people work past ACV’s unappealing taste mainly because the benefits outweigh it tenfold. “Some primary benefits would include: better digestion, anti-bacterial even for acne purposes, helps regulate blood sugar and potentially improve type 2 diabetes symptoms, weight loss, and regulated cholesterol levels,” says Clark. “Apple cider vinegar has similar benefits to probiotics.”
No wonder Aniston is such an avid fan. According to a 2017 interview with Amy Sedaris for Harper’s Bazaar, the actor said she takes a shot of ACV every morning. Now exactly how she takes the bold elixir was not explained, but it should be said that there are a few ways to make the stuff go down more pleasantly (as opposed to just sipping it straight — yikes). For my foray into the ACV world, I decided to mix a couple tablespoons with hot water, lemon, and a bit of honey. I did my research and found that this little diluted concoction allows you to get the benefits of ACV as well as a host of others. “I’m all for diluting the ACV for a couple of reasons,” says Clark. “One, you’ll be inclined to continue it if you can handle the taste. Besides, honey and lemon offer dozens of health benefits in and of themselves.” My particular morning cocktail allowed me to take in additional antioxidant and digestive benefits that can come with a little lemon-infused water, and didn’t make me gag with every sip. In fact, I acquired a taste for the drink and found myself enjoying it!
I’ve also heard of people taking ACV in the evening as opposed to morning, but decided to stick to the latter because, that’s right, it's the Aniston way. "Morning is the best time to take ACV, but some people can’t quite stomach it first thing,” says Clark. “I would suggest before any meal in that case." There you go.
Wondering how my little experiment actually shook out? Well, to be honest, I didn’t have lightning bolt results. This is probably due to the fact that I only tried it for a week. However, I did see some changes in my body and skin after seven days that made me curious and interested in continuing the morning ritual. See what I discovered, ahead.
One of the leading benefits of regular ACV consumption is improved digestion. While I didn't really see much change here, I did notice my tummy — which is sensitive to bloating — felt more settled and less bloat-y (not a word, but you get the picture). Also, for the sake of being completely transparent, I should note that I have issues with regularity, which I found improved a bit in the week I was drinking ACV regularly.
I am a regular coffee drinker. In fact, I'm one of those fanatics who needs a cup or two (or more) to be fully functional in the morning. That said, there were a couple mornings within this experimental week in which I only had time to make my ACV cocktail before heading out for to start my day. And while I expected catastrophe, I noticed my energy levels were surprisingly high for a coffee-less start. Now, this could very well be from the lemon juice inclusion (which is said to improve mood and energy levels) but, either way, it was a welcome result.
The week I took on my ACV experiment my face was going through a bout of hormonal acne. I had a couple stubborn breakouts that just wouldn't shrink in size. A few days into my experiment, I noticed the blemish that had been the bane of my existence for over a week finally starting to fade (slowly but surely).
Final ACV Takeaways
While my overall findings from my apple cider vinegar rendezvous were not earth-shattering, I do understand why Aniston swears by the stuff. I think consistency, coupled with a healthy diet and lifestyle, could activate the magical elixir for more long-term effects.
"I would recommend it especially to people who are trying to build a stronger immune system," says Clark. "By improving weight, digestion and all the other benefits, especially its ability to take down pathogens, your immune health is sure to improve with regular consumption. Along with a healthy and balanced meal structure like I teach my followers at @caraclarknutrition, you should definitely take advantage of the other benefits."
That said, ACV is a potent, acidic substance and, according to Clark, it can do a real number on your body if not taken correctly. "It could potentially wear out your stomach lining if you use it too much," says Clark. "No more than one to two tablespoons diluted with water is what’s generally recommended."