Any salad dressing with apple cider vinegar as a base ingredient will taste great.
If you ask me, I would take vinaigrette over a thousand islands dressing any day because it tastes better and has less fat. Not a lot of people know that this condiment is more than just a salad dressing, though.
This versatile ingredient has been used throughout history as an energy drink, digestive aid, expectorant, clotting agent, cleaning agent, disinfectant and during Biblical times people drank it as a wine on special occasions.
A brief history lesson:
Nobody knows exactly who discovered vinegar or when it was discovered but legend states that vinegar was discovered over 5,000 years ago by the Babylonians when the grapes they left unattended fermented into wine; this eventually led to the discovery vinegar.
Hippocrates, who was considered the “Father of Western Medicine” discovered its healing properties over 2,000 years ago when he would use raw apple cider vinegar to sanitize wounds. He would also use a mixture of vinegar and honey to treat coughs and colds.
During the civil war and World War I, a grim period where topical wound solutions aren’t widely available, soldiers would improvise and use vinegar to disinfect and treat wounds.
Let’s look at the health benefits one by one.
- Increases the body’s ability to absorb minerals because it is rich in acetic acid
The acetic acid bacteria found in apple cider vinegar is the byproduct of the fermentation process. This bacteria looks like strands of fiber that float around inside the liquid. It is otherwise known as the “mother” (1).
Some vinegar manufacturers filter this out to make their product crystal clear but a lot of health experts say that the “mother” is a vital part of vinegar because it contains live enzymes and trace minerals responsible for a lot of the health benefits you’ll read below (2).
- A cancer fighter
Cancer is the leading cause of death in America with over half a million casualties in 2014. Vinegar can help lower that number.
There were two tests done on people. One was done in China and scientists found that people who consumed a diet rich in vinegar and vegetable reduced their risk to contract oesophageal cancer (6), however a separate study done in Serbia showed that people who consumed vinegar are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer (7).
Hippocrates might be the first person recorded history to use apple cider vinegar as a disinfectant before any scientific research was done. Research proves that he was right to some extent as vinegar has been proven to kill certain types of bacteria like E.coli and S.aureus.
- Lowers bad cholesterol
Bad cholesterol is a silent killer that when left undetected can lead to cardiac arrest because it clogs the arteries. Vinegar can help reverse this because it contains chlorogenic acid that prevents the accumulation and crystallization of LDL in the bloodstream but take note that the research was done on rats which may not have the same effect on us (10).
- Helps prevent diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics
One of the causes of diabetes is postprandial glycemia which in layman terms is the elevated blood sugar levels that occur in the body after a meal.
For people who are at risk of diabetes, drinking vinegar juice that contains 49 grams of water, 20 grams of vinegar and a teaspoon of saccharine after meals can lower postprandial glycemia levels by 35% (11).
If you happen to have diabetes, the same recipe above has helped type-2 diabetics improve insulin sensitivity by 34% and improve blood glucose levels by 25% (12).
- Reduces bacteria present on teeth
In a study done on 100 teeth in a lab (take note these are not live teeth inside a person) that was exposed to the bacteria E. faecalis. ACV was able to reduce the bacteria amount but not completely remove it (13).
- Helps shed pounds
Two studies, one on mice and another on 175 obese people show that vinegar has properties that help shed weight. Take it with a grain of salt because in the latter study, people lost only between 1 to 2 pounds (15, 16).
- Sooths acid reflux and heartburn
Acid reflux is a condition where your stomach produces too little acid. Symptoms include a burning sensation behind the breastbone which is near the heart hence the term “heartburn.” Health experts like Dr. Mercola recommend drinking a mixture of one tablespoon of ACV with a glass of water to treat acid reflux (17).
- Removes excess candida and prevents a “leaky gut”
Candida is a fungus that helps with digestion, an excess of this fungus is bad for the gut because it can eat through the wall of the intestine causing a “leaky gut.” One way to get rid of excess candida is to drink a tonic made from ACV, water and honey (18).
Author: Garrick Dee Tan
Editor: Catherine Monkman