Will Drinking Vinegar Actually Boost Your Health?
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by Rachel Grumman Bender
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard about the much-touted health benefits of vinegar—in particular, apple cider vinegar. The ancient condiment—the earliest known use of vinegar dates back more than 10,000 years and has been used as both food and medicine—is enjoying a real resurgence lately. “Cleansing diets and juicing have become so popular, and I think that’s created the recent buzz around vinegar,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian and author of “Read It Before You Eat It.”
As with any trend, it’s easy to get lost in the hype and start believing that vinegar is a miracle medicine (it isn’t). In fact, one of the most popular claims—that drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar before a meal helps curb appetite and burn fat—has little scientific support, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So we did some digging and found some valid, science-back benefits to vinegar that are worth sharing. In fact, research shows that vinegars contain antioxidants, which slow premature aging and reduce the risk of cancer, for example.
Here are a few more ways vinegar can give your health a boost:
Vinegar improves blood sugar levels. Drinking apple cider vinegar before a high-carbohydrate meal improves insulin sensitivity—slowing the rate of blood sugar levels rising—in people who are insulin resistant (a prediabetes condition) or have type 2 diabetes, according to a 2004 study. The researchers note that vinegar may possess physiological effects similar to the anti-diabetes medications acarbose and metformin.
It protects your heart health. Balsamic vinegar prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is believed to contribute to atherosclerosis—a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries, blocking blood flow and in some cases, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke, according to a 2010 study.