Vinegar is basically sour wine. The use of vinegar dates back to centuries. Vinegar can be used for a variety of purposes and also for its health benefits. Vinegar is made by the fermentation of natural sugars into alcohol and then to vinegar. Thus, the process of formation of vinegar is a long one. Usually, vinegar is made from molasses, fruits, berries, beer and even honey. Traditionally, vinegar was available in four varieties, namely distilled white vinegar, cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar and wine vinegar. Today, there are several other types of vinegars which are also available like balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar, rice vinegar and many other flavoured vinegars.
Uses of vinegar
Vinegar has been used for its therapeutic properties since ages. Today, in addition to being used for its health benefits, vinegar is even used for cooking purposes also. Vinegar is added to several dishes of many cuisines to enhance the flavor of the dish. This is because vinegar itself has a tangy flavor. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent because of its anti- microbial properties. Vinegar is acidic in nature and self preserving. This means that vinegar has a long shelf life and is even used in preservation of other foods, especially pickles and vegetables. Vinegar can also be used as a hair care product. The use of vinegar helps to treat problems like dry and itchy scalp and dandruff. Vinegar can also be used to remove pesticides and bacteria from fruits and vegetables that we consume.
Health benefits of vinegar
Vinegar is produced from a long fermentation process and so is rich in acetic acid, gallic acid, epicatechin, caffeic acid, catechin and several other antioxidants that give it anti- bacterial, anti- inflammatory and anti- microbial properties.
- Promotes heart health: Vinegar contains chlorogenic acid which lowers the cholesterol levels and thus improves cardiovascular health. It also helps in lowering the blood pressure as it contains acetic acid. Thus vinegar protects from various coronary diseases.
- Aids in weight loss: Vinegar has an anti- obesity effect. Consumption of vinegar increases satiety and reduces the amount of food that is consumed thus aiding is weight loss and weight control.
- Prevents cancer: Vinegar contains antioxidants that inhibit the production of free radicals that promote leukemia cells. Thus, vinegar is said to prevent against various types of cancer including colon, lung, breast, prostate, bladder and esophagus.
- Fights against diabetes: Vinegar is anti- glycemic. Vinegar contains acetic acid that lowers the blood sugar level as it prevents the digestion of carbohydrates or lengthens the process of digestion. This in turn ensures that carbohydrates are converted to sugar at a slow pace and this helps in controlling sugar levels in the blood stream.
- Prevents heartburn and acid reflux: Heartburn and acid reflux can occur if the level of acid in the stomach is low. Consumption of vinegar can help to maintain a balanced level of acid in the stomach and thus prevents acid reflux and heartburn from taking place.
- Heals burns and injuries: Vinegar contains a cobweb type amino acid based substance that has anti-bacterial properties that help to heal burns and injuries. The acetic acid in vinegar can also help to relieve muscle injuries and inflammation.
- Promotes brain health: The consumption of vinegar improves the cognitive functions of the humans. Acetic acid found in vinegar produce precursors called sphingolipids that help are the building blocks of the brain tissues.
- Maintains cholesterol levels: Vinegar contains acetic acid that lowers the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. This helps in lowering bad cholesterol and improving good cholesterol thus maintaining the level of cholesterol.
- Relieves pain of arthritis: Vinegar has antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties that help to relieve the pain of arthritis.
- Relieves stomach problems: Vinegar help to relieve several stomach problems. Vinegar is said to have antibiotic properties that helps to relieve diarrhoea. Vinegar also contains pectin that helps to relieve intestinal spasms. Vinegar also prevents dysbiosis and aids in digestion.
- Improves immunity: The consumption of vinegar can increase the body's consumption of other minerals and nutrients from other foods. This ensures that the body gets the required nutrients and thus boosts the immunity. This is because of the high acetic acid content of vinegar.
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