Despite its recent popularity gain, vinegar is far from being a new health aid. In fact, using vinegar for its nutritional value has been around for thousands of years — primarily for medicinal and food preservation practices.
Fast forward to our juice and cleansing-craved society, and I’ll bet you’ve heard of the beneficial properties vinegar has. In fact, since its rediscovery, there have been many studies that have proven vinegar to have potent antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, and cancer-fighting properties.
With that in mind, it is important to know the difference between vinegars and what to look for when purchasing vinegars.
Look For Unfiltered & Organic Vinegar
The cloudy, murky sediment some vinegars have mean that it contains the “mother”. The mother contains strands of healthy enzymes and proteins that are great for your gut. When you see distilled vinegar, that means it has been processed to remove the mother. Since processed means less beneficial to your health, be sure to choose the vinegars labeled with “organic” and “unfiltered.”
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Apple cider vinegar’s recent popularity surge is for great reason: it has extremely advantageous health benefits. Apple cider vinegar has been proven to reduce weight, improve brain health, stabilize blood glucose levels, and some studies have shown that it is an effective protectant against cancer.
In addition to internal benefits, apple cider vinegar has also been proven as a great natural beauty product. Our hair has a normal pH balance of 4.5 to 5.5, however, many of the shampoos and conditioners we use disrupt the pH balance, leaving us with dry, brittle hair. Try doing an apple cider vinegar, rinse on your hair with 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water after shampooing.
Choose Balsamic Vinegar for Salads
Traditional Italian balsamic vinegar is made by pressing and distilling grapes until fermentation. The longer it ferments, the thicker and more flavorful it becomes.
Balsamic vinegar is low on calories, great for cholesterol, and stabilizes your blood glucose. However, be careful not to confuse balsamic vinegar with balsamic vinaigrette. Vinaigrette typically includes oil, sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic which can take away some health benefits.
Clean with White Wine Distilled Vinegar
When you see the crystal clear distilled vinegars at the grocery store, that means the mother was depleted when the vinegar went through the distillation process. Although this vinegar has no nutrition value, it has great antimicrobial properties, making it a great all-around cleaning agent. It can be used to clean countertops, windows, and even produce.
Keep in mind to not wash vinegar with porous fruits like berries.
Safety is Key
Too much of a good thing is a great thing, right? With vinegars, this is not the case.
Vinegar is highly acidic which, in excess, could damage your tooth enamel and/or the tissues in your mouth. Long-term excessive vinegar consumption can lead to low bone density and potassium levels.
In moderation, it is completely safe but remember that too much vinegar can have negative side effects.
As you can tell, vinegar is beneficial in more ways than one. However, keep in mind it is not a miracle or “cure-all” product and should not be substituted for a healthy, balanced diet.