Move over probiotics and omega 3-fatty acids, it is vinegar season now. For the last few years, many experts have been touting the health benefits. Besides being used to tenderize meat and add flavor to food, a shot of vinegar every day supposedly provides numerous health benefits. So what about this current fad is true?
Shot Of Vinegar, Anyone?
So, It’s Been Around Awhile
Interestingly, vinegar has been around for centuries. The ancient Greeks used fruit-derived versions of it to treat open wounds, cough, indigestion and constipation. Today it is used to lower blood glucose levels, decrease blood cholesterol, manage acid reflux, lose weight, and treat skin infections. There are many people who drink a shot first thing in the morning in the belief that it can act like a probiotic and enhance the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.
Vinegar is available in many flavors and colors. Today one can buy fruity and herbal-infused drinks to the hot acrid kind for cooking. Fermenting certain fruits and grains is the process of creating it. During the fermenting process various substances are produced. These are substances that have potent antibacterial and antioxidant activity. Anti-cancer properties are known to be found in Japanese Soya bean vinegar.
Where Is The Hype Coming From?
While this typical cooking liquid does have some health benefits, the reality is that the majority of its benefit have been hyped up by the manufacturers simply to sell it. However, there is some good evidence that vinegar can interact with starch digesting enzymes and keep blood sugars down. Several studies have shown that regular consumption of about two teaspoons can help lower blood sugars in type 2 diabetics. Other studies show that it can also clear triglycerides and cholesterol from the blood in diabetic patients.
Vinegar has been shown to prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. Oxidation of low-density lipoproteins is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and plaque build up.
What Are The Health Benefits?
There are many anecdotal reports indicating that vinegar can help one lose weight. However, this doesn’t happen if you continue to sit on the couch. Vinegar helps you lose weight provided you also eat a healthy diet and perform some type of exercise. The weight loss caused by taking a shot everyday averages 1-2 pounds a month, which may not seem a lot but over 12 months, it amounts to nearly 20-24 pounds in weight loss.
Vinegar is loaded with polyphenols which have anti-cancer fighting properties. Laboratory research reveals that in small animals, it may prevent the growth of cancer cells but there are no clinical studies in humans. It is important to know that vinegar doesn’t cure cancer but if taken regularly it may prevent some cancers. The subject of cancer is very complex and there are many other factors that play a role.
Vinegar is not a superfood but more like a supplement. Salads, vegetables and all type of meat and seafood go great with it. Because there are so many products on the market it does get confusing as which make/brand the consumer should ingest. Nutritionists state that one should go with an apple cider flavor; it is less acidic, is more palatable and easier to consume.
Types of Vinegar
Pasteurized is an additional type of vinegar available. However, these products may not be a good choice. Heat during pasteurization often destroys the probiotics and important enzymes in vinegar- so you do not derive the health benefits. The more fruity flavored vinegar tend to have more antioxidant activity. However, they are also more acidic and tend to cause stomach upset and even damage your enamel and gums. If you are going to be drinking this magic bullet regularly then you should dilute it with water or some other beverage.
In the end, there is no major difference between the type you can consume for good health. However, one has to be realistic; vinegar is not a magic bullet. It has been around for centuries and people who have been consuming this supplement still get sick and die. One should never rely on just one supplement for good health. Instead, the focus should be on eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. It is a supplement and not a substitute for any prescription medications.