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The Health Benefits of Vinegar

The Health Benefits of Vinegar

By RMHP

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Can Vinegar Really Improve Your Health?

You may have heard that apple cider vinegar provides a number of health benefits, but are these statements valid? Here's what you should know about the potential health benefits of vinegar, along with some tips for avoiding potential problems.

What Is it?

Apple cider vinegar starts out as apple juice, however, the yeast it contains consumes the sugars in the juice and leaves alcohol in its place. This process, called fermentation, leads bacteria to convert the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives the vinegar its strong smell and sour taste. Vinegar is used as a preservative as well as an ingredient in baking, cooking, and salad dressings.

Vinegar is not only used for baking, but has also been used for centuries as an old home remedy. In fact, the ancient Greeks used to treat wounds with it. In recent years, people have begun exploring apple cider vinegar as a method for improving heart health, losing weight, and even treating dandruff, varicose veins, and sore throats. While there is little scientific evidence to support these claims, it doesn't mean vinegar can't offer some real health benefits.

What Are the Benefits?

There is a substantial amount of misinformation on the internet regarding plain vinegar and apple cider vinegar, with some of the misinformation actually putting your health at risk. First off, vinegar will not cure cancer, eliminate varicose veins, or control your high blood pressure. That said, there is some evidence that apple cider vinegar could offer specific health benefits:

  • One randomized clinical trial appearing in the Journal of Functional Food showed that apple cider vinegar might help with weight loss by lowering appetite. Bear in mind, though, that subjects in the study also ate a calorie-restricted diet and exercised regularly.
  • Another study by the American Diabetes Association found that apple cider vinegar significantly lowered post-meal blood glucose levels in diabetic subjects. The research indicated that, while it shouldn't be viewed as a replacement for any medications, vinegar could be a safe addition to a diabetes treatment plan for patients without kidney damage.
  • The cloud of bacteria and yeast in apple cider vinegar could have probiotic benefits, however, there isn't currently enough research to back up this claim. If you are looking to use vinegar for this or other health reasons, you can try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons to tea or water.

Things to Consider

Be sure to talk to your doctor before using vinegar as a health supplement. Preexisting health issues could make it hard for you to tolerate the high amounts of acid. It’s important to note that vinegar is not appropriate for people who suffer from chronic kidney disease. You should also check with your doctor to make sure taking apple cider vinegar won't prevent any medications you are taking from working as well. This includes laxatives, diuretics and medications for diabetes and heart disease.

Before consuming apple cider vinegar, you should know that, because of its high acidity, it could erode your teeth and intensify acid reflux. That said, many people reduce the effects of acid-related issues by diluting the vinegar with water. Contact your doctor with any questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.

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