Vinegar is said to have been discovered around 5000 BC, when unattended grape juice turned into wine and then vinegar. Originally used as a food preservative, vinegar’s medicinal uses soon came to light.
Hippocrates used vinegar to manage wounds, while medical practitioners in the 1700s used it to treat everything from poison ivy and croup to stomach aches. Vinegar was even used to treat diabetes.1
Vinegar, which means “sour wine” in French, can be made from virtually any carbohydrate that can be fermented, including grapes, dates, coconut, potatoes, beets, and, of course, apples.
Traditionally, vinegar is made through a long, slow fermentation process, leaving it rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties.
As reported in Medscape General Medicine:2
“The slow methods are generally used for the production of the traditional wine vinegars, and the culture of acetic acid bacteria grows on the surface of the liquid and fermentation proceeds slowly over the course of weeks or months.
The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a non-toxic slime composed of yeast and acetic acid bacteria, known as the mother of vinegar.”
“Mother” of vinegar, a cobweb-like amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar, indicates your vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming, but the “murky” kind is best, especially if you’re planning to consume it.
Vinegar is not only useful for cooking, it’s useful for health purposes, cleaning, garden care, hygiene, and much more. In fact, a jug of vinegar is easily one of the most economical and versatile remedies around. I recommend keeping it in your home at all times.
HEALTH USES FOR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
There are no hard and fast rules concerning taking vinegar internally. Some people take one to two teaspoons a day, mixed in a glass of water, before meals or in the morning, and report benefits from doing so. The risk of taking small amounts of vinegar is low, and research suggests it may have some real health benefits.
Vinegar is said to be anti-glycemic and has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. It’s thought that the acetic acid in vinegar may lower blood sugar by preventing the complete digestion of complex carbohydrates, which is accomplished either by accelerating gastric emptying or increasing the uptake of glucose by bodily tissues.3
One theory is that vinegar might inactivate some of the digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugar, thus slowing the conversion of complex carbohydrate into sugar from a meal into your bloodstream.This gives your body more time to pull sugar out of your blood, preventing your sugar levels from spiking.
Quite a bit of research supports the use of vinegar as a diabetic treatment as well.One study found that vinegar treatment improved insulin sensitivity in 19 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes and 34 percent of those with pre-diabetes.4 Yet another study found taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes by up to 6 percent by the morning.5
2. Heart Health
Vinegar supports heart health in multiple ways. As explained in theJournal of Food Science:6
“Polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, which is present in high levels in apple cider vinegar, could inhibit oxidation of LDLs and improve health by preventing cardiovascular diseases.”
One study showed that vinegar could lower cholesterol in laboratory rats,7 while another study on rats found their blood pressure could be lowered by the acetic acid in vinegar.8 Vinegar has also been found to decrease triglyceride levels and VLDL levels (the damaging form of cholesterol) in animal studies.9