Types of Vinegar
- When discussing the health claims made for vinegar, the vinegar in question is usually apple cider vinegar. Enthusiasts will also specify that the best choice is unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Available in grocery stores and health food stores, unfiltered vinegar has a cloudy appearance. The cloudy appearance is what is called "mother," a stringy substance that looks a bit like floating cobwebs. Mother is a cellulose made up of Acetobacter. Mother is also what turns alcohol, like wine, into vinegar. Most supermarket vinegar is filtered and pasteurized, removing the mother and making the vinegar more visually appealing.
Benefits of Vinegar
- The scientific evidence is still mixed, but there is reason to believe that at least some of the health claims made about vinegar are valid. In 2006, a study in rats seemed to indicate that vinegar decreases cholesterol and other studies show that vinegar helps lower blood pressure. Another study looked at people who ate salads with oil and vinegar dressing five times a week. The research found that these people had lower rates of heart disease, as of yet, there is no proof that the vinegar was the cause.
One of the best-researched areas is the effects of vinegar on blood glucose levels. The studies seem to show that vinegar might lower the levels, which could be useful to diabetics. A study done in 2007 was small, but promising. Doctors looked at 11 people with type 2 diabetes and found they could lower blood glucose levels by 4 to 6 percent when taking two tablespoons of vinegar before going to bed.
One of the most popular reasons for eating vinegar is for weight loss. Although it wasn't new, the vinegar diet gained popularity in the 1950s, when Dr. D. C. Jarvis published "Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health." Apple cider vinegar is thought to boost the body's ability to burn fat and to decrease appetite and cravings.
How to use vinegar
- Vinegar is an unproven treatment, and so there are no official recommendations for its use. Dr. Jarvis recommended "two teaspoons full of honey and two teaspoons full of apple cider vinegar taken in a glass of water one or more times a day." For dieters, the traditional dosage is two to three teaspoons of vinegar in a glass of water three times a day, about 30 minutes before a meal. A fourth dose approximately two hours after dinner is optional to help curb evening snacking.
- Before beginning the vinegar health diet it is advisable to consult with your doctor. Long-term vinegar use can lower bone density and potassium levels, so people with osteoporosis or low potassium levels should absolutely consult their doctor before beginning the vinegar diet. Diabetics should also check with their doctor, since vinegar not only affects blood glucose levels, but it contains chromium, which can affect insulin levels.
Since apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic, dilute it with water or juice before swallowing. The acetic acid in vinegar could damage tooth enamel and can be irritating to the mouth and throat.