Vinegar is a potent natural ingredient with a tart taste. Different forms of this sour liquid have been used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine. The ancient Egyptians used it — archeologists have uncovered urns dating back over 5,000 years that contained traces of vinegar! Countless other cultures have their own history with vinegar, from traditional Asian medicine to Bible passages about Roman soldiers.
Why the Hype Around Vinegar?
Vinegar comes from a variety of natural foods: grapes, apples, potatoes, rice, etc. The process involves letting the sugars ferment and then adding probiotic bacteria that create acetic acid. This acid is what gives different types of vinegar their characteristic flavor and most of their benefits.
What Is the Truth About Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?
Like many natural foods, ACV does have some great health benefits. That said, it’s not the miracle “liquid of life” some people think it is.
ACV Contains Probiotics: Partly True
Probiotics are having a moment right now, too, and with good reason. These positive bacteria can support digestive health and provide benefits for your immune system, heart, mood and energy levels.
Apple cider vinegar does contain a mixture of nutritious enzymes and probiotics called mother, but only cloudy, unfiltered ACV. If you prefer the look and taste of the filtered variety, that’s fine, but you’re not getting the probiotic benefits.
ACV Can Cure Cancer: False
Vinegar does have some effects on cancer cells, but for the acid to have any effect, doctors would have to pour it directly onto tumors. No trustworthy studies prove a link between drinking ACV and curing cancer.
Vinegar Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels: True
This is one benefit that many health professionals agree on. Drinking a small amount of ACV after meals can lower blood glucose levels pretty significantly. Vinegar isn’t going to replace diabetes medication, but it can help you manage your blood sugar more effectively.
ACV Can Lower Your Blood Pressure: Maybe
Scientists are still divided on this one. On one hand, several types of vinegar are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that support the circulatory system. Studies show that polyphenols can protect your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
On the other hand, there are no studies specifically showing that ACV has any effect on blood pressure. More research is needed to be sure either way.
Vinegar Can Help You Lose Weight: Probably Not
Some research supports the idea that drinking vinegar can help you lose a modest (really small) amount of weight. The only problem is that doctors think the reason it caused weight loss was really because it made the participants feel sick to their stomachs.
The truth is that there are better ways for you to boost your metabolism and feel full. For example, turmeric can calm hunger cravings naturally, letting you enjoy what you eat without going overboard.
How Can You Use ACV in Your Diet?
You don’t need to drink vinegar to get the benefits from it. You can also use ACV, red wine vinegar and other types of vinegar in your cooking. These tangy superstars add tons of flavor and freshness to food with zero sodium. They don’t have fat or cholesterol, and one tablespoon only has three calories! There’s definitely room for more vinegar in your life even though you’re not drinking it every day.