Nu­tri­tion: Drop­ping Acid The hid­den ben­e­fits of vine­gar

Vine­gar: The ev­ery­day item with a health punch

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Rosie Schwartz Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based con­sult­ing di­eti­tian in pri­vate prac­tice and au­thor of The En­light­ened Eater’s Whole Foods Guide (Vik­ing Canada). Go to for more.

SOME SAY con­sum­ing vine­gar will ei­ther pro­vide you with mirac­u­lous ben­e­fits, like mak­ing you svelte in a flash or even pro­mot­ing hair growth, while oth­ers down­play the buzz as noth­ing more than a cook­ing in­gre­di­ent. The folk­lore it­self sur­round­ing vine­gar goes back thousands of years with its use first as a nat­u­ral preser­va­tive. Its medic­i­nal roles can be traced back to the days of Hip­pocrates while Cleopa­tra was said to have in­cor­po­rated it into a love po­tion for Marc Antony. In the here and now, sci­en­tific re­search shows that con­sum­ing vine­gar is linked to a num­ber of key health perks.

Vine­gar can add healthy flavour – not empty calo­ries – to your food Since it’s the acetic acid in vine­gar that’s re­spon­si­ble for al­most all the health ben­e­fits, there’s a whole range of tasty acetic acid of­fer­ings in­clud­ing bal­samic, rice, red and white wine and even cham­pagne vine­gar. While salad dress­ing is a typ­i­cal way for many to in­clude vine­gar, there are nu­mer­ous other sim­ple meth­ods to add vine­gar to your meal. Vine­gar can perk up the taste of all kinds of soups such as len­til or mine­strone, as well as vegetable dishes or meat stews – even a shot stirred into low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice can do the trick. A gen­er­ous splash of wine vine­gar in rata­touille or beef stew or toss­ing roasted veg­eta­bles in a bal­samic-ex­tra vir­gin olive oil combo would be tempt­ing even if it weren’t good for you.

Vine­gar may aid in blood sugar reg­u­la­tion and help fight heart dis­ease and di­a­betes If you’re over the age of 45 and one of the es­ti­mated 3.1 mil­lion Cana­di­ans with di­a­betes or one of the es­ti­mated 5.7 mil­lion with pre­di­a­betes (ac­cord­ing to Di­a­betes Canada fig­ures), take note: con­sid­er­ing poor blood sugar reg­u­la­tion and heart dis­ease can part­ner to­gether, in­clud­ing vine­gar on your menu may very well be heart-smart. El­e­vated blood sugar lev­els can go hand in hand with higher read­ings of artery-clog­ging triglyc­erides, a type of fat in the blood, boost­ing the risk for heart dis­ease.

In a re­cent re­view, pub­lished in the jour­nal Di­a­betes Re­search and Clin­i­cal Prac­tice, sci­en­tists an­a­lyzed vine­gar’s ef­fect on blood sugar read­ings and in­sulin ac­tion in sev­eral dif­fer­ent stud­ies. (In­sulin is the hor­mone re­spon­si­ble for blood sugar reg­u­la­tion but sev­eral fac­tors, such as in­creas­ing age and ex­cess ab­dom­i­nal fat, can neg­a­tively im­pact your body’s in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity, up­ping your risk for pre­di­a­betes and ul­ti­mately, di­a­betes.) In order to as­sess the big pic­ture, the sci­en­tists in­clud- ed in­ves­ti­ga­tions of dif­fer­ent types of vine­gars with healthy sub­jects in ad­di­tion to those with pre­di­a­betes and di­a­betes. Not only was the vine­gar as­so­ci­ated with lower blood sugar read­ings fol­low­ing meals, but also with re­duced in­sulin lev­els.

Vine­gar may help with di­ges­tion, ap­petite man­age­ment and weight con­trol It seems like vine­gar may also have an im­pact on the hor­mones that con­trib­ute to ap­petite con­trol by de­lay­ing their ef­fects in the gas­troin­testi­nal tract. These ap­petite hor­mones, such as ghre­lin, are a hot topic of re­search, as sci­en­tists in­ves­ti­gate ways to halt our ex­pand­ing waist­lines. Dr. Su­manto Hal­dar of the Sin­ga­pore In­sti­tute for Clin­i­cal Sciences says, “Vine­gar’s ef­fec­tive­ness is greater when con­sumed as part of a solid mixed meal, due to the longer length of time of ex­po­sure of its ac­tive in­gre­di­ent, acetic acid, within the in­tes­tine.” Vine­gar slows down the rate at which a meal is di­gested, po­ten­tially lead­ing to a greater sense of sati­ety and fewer calo­ries be­ing con­sumed.

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