I’ve heard about apple cider vinegar for a long time. I think the first time I noticed it was not because of its uses in cooking – it can be used for things like marinades, salad dressings and homemade pickles – but for its touted weight loss benefits.
One study – a clinical trial of overweight Japanese adults in 2009 – looked at the effects of drinking apple cider vinegar on weight loss. When measured against people who were given a plain beverage to drink, the group that consumed the beverage to which one to two tablespoons of vinegar had been added lost two to four pounds after 12 weeks, while the comparison group lost none.
Researchers think that the vinegar may activate some genes that help break down fats. It may also, according to some other studies, have a favorable effect on the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Though the effect on weight loss is small, it can’t do you any harm. And any type of vinegar will have a similar effect, experts say, but apple cider vinegar was tested because it’s the easiest to consume, taste-wise.
But vinegar can be highly acidic and swallowed alone, can cause harm to your esophagus and tooth enamel.
Curious, I searched around the web to see what other things vinegar can be used for.
After all, the use of vinegar for medicinal remedies goes back centuries to treat everything from warts to jellyfish stings. Hippocrates used it as a cure for wounds, and Cleopatra used it as a love potion.
Here are some purported uses for apple cider vinegar:
- As a non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner
- To absorb stinky odors
- As a fertilizer or weed killer in your garden
- As a flea-repellant
- To treat dandruff
- As an astringent to fight acne
- As a substitute for deodorant
- To fade bruises
- To deodorize your feet
- To treat an upset stomach
- To cure hiccups
- As a gargle for a sore throat
- To help drain sinuses
- For an energy boost
- To banish bad breath
- For sunburn relief
- As a tooth whitener
- To treat poison ivy and bug bites
- As a fruit and veggie wash
- To decrease triglyceride levels (according to studies done on animals)
For all you skeptics out there, here’s a statement from a government study that sums up the value of vinegar used medicinally:
For more than 2000 years, vinegar has been used to flavor and preserve foods, heal wounds, fight infections, clean surfaces, and manage diabetes. Although vinegar is highly valued as a culinary agent, some varieties costing $100 per bottle, much scrutiny surrounds its medicinal use. Scientific investigations do not support the use of vinegar as an anti-infective agent, either topically or orally. Evidence linking vinegar use to reduced risk for hypertension and cancer is equivocal. However, many recent scientific investigations have documented that vinegar ingestion reduces the glucose response to a carbohydrate load in healthy adults and in individuals with diabetes. There is also some evidence that vinegar ingestion increases short-term satiety. Future investigations are needed to delineate the mechanism by which vinegar alters postprandial glycemia and to determine whether regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences glycemic control as indicated by reductions in hemoglobin A1c. Vinegar is widely available; it is affordable; and, as a remedy, it is appealing. But whether vinegar is a useful adjunct therapy for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes has yet to be determined.
If all this vinegar-talk is making you hungry, here’s a recipe I found for chicken, using apple cider vinegar: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15889/cider-vinegar-chicken/
Have you ever tried apple cider vinegar? I’m eyeing the bottle that sits in my pantry – untouched. Perhaps I’ll give it a whirl.