The “natural” health craze is slowly cycling through various products, and currently, vinegar is enjoying a time in the spotlight. If you have heard the hype, then you are probably asking yourself whether or not vinegar can do everything that people claim it can. In this guide, we explain whether or not vinegar is good for you and then offer tips for incorporating vinegar into your diet.
Is Vinegar Good for You?
Due to its no or low-calorie count and lack of sodium, vinegar can be a great way to add flavor to a meal. If you are watching your weight and/or your sodium intake, keeping some flavored vinegars on hand is an excellent way to add some tang to your meals.
Many health blogs and self-styled gurus have hyped up other benefits of vinegar, including weight loss and “detoxing.” Unfortunately, in some cases, these claims are ahead of the science. While consuming vinegar did help volunteers in a small Japanese study lose a tiny amount of weight, they quickly gained it back. Detoxing via your diet — whether it is with juice, vinegar or another substance — also does not have evidence to support it (plus, your liver already removes toxins from your body).
However, there is evidence that vinegar can help regulate blood sugar levels after a meal. According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes Research, when people with Type 2 diabetes consume 30 milliliters of vinegar mixed with 20 milliliters of water before a meal, their blood glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels were lower for up to five hours after the meal than when they consumed a placebo. Their forearm muscles had a greater uptake of glucose from the blood, which also helps with blood sugar regulation.
Another 2015 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with impaired glucose tolerance who consumed vinegar before a meal had enhanced blood flow and glucose intake in their muscles as well as reduced insulin and triglyceride levels in the blood for up to five hours after the meal.
Hopefully, more research will come out in the future that can further clarify the benefits of vinegar and what it can and cannot do for our health. In the meantime, you can keep using vinegar in your cooking with the knowledge that it is not doing anything harmful to your body and that it is making your food taste great.
How to Incorporate Vinegar into Your Diet
There are some dos and do nots for making sure that you are getting the most out of your vinegar consumption. First of all, you should not do shots of pure vinegar. The acidic pH can erode teeth enamel and irritate your gastrointestinal tract. Instead, dilute it in some water or juice before drinking. Vinegar is fine to consume straight with food.
Vinegar is a staple ingredient of salad dressing and can be used to easily make your own dressing at home for less expense and fewer calories than a grocery store version. If you do not want to mess with mixing up dressing, then you can simply pour some flavored vinegar on your salad and call it a day. Vinegar also makes a fantastic marinade for meat and adds major flavor without packing on the calories. Adding a splash of flavored vinegar to a drink (alcoholic or otherwise) will add a bright, tangy note.
If you are new to cooking with vinegars, then experiment with different types to get a feel for their flavor profiles and to determine your taste preferences. For instance, balsamic vinegar is a robust, fruit-forward vinegar that pairs well with meats, cheeses and summer fruits such as peaches. On the other hand, champagne vinegar is lighter in both taste and color, making it a great complement to more delicate flavors such as seafood, greens and even cocktails. If you have only worked with plain white vinegar, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the flavorful possibilities of other vinegars.
At Brightland, we offer high-quality flavored vinegars to suit many different cooking needs. Shop our convenient online store and have our vinegars and olive oils delivered straight to your home. All of our products contain no fillers or artificial preservatives, and our vinegars are made on a nutrient-dense, family-run farm on California’s Central Coast. Order today and experience the flavor difference.