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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Joan

Vinegar is an inexpensive, easily available condiment popular in many cultures—for good reason. It is not only tasty, but has multiple health benefits.

Health Benefits of Vinegar

Vinegar enhances arterial function and cardiovascular health by allowing arteries to dilate fully through enzyme activity that synthesizes nitric oxide.  It also appears to enhance blood sugar disposal by reducing insulin resistance, which helps reduce the risk of and manage diabetes.  A tablespoon of vinegar a day taken within an hour of a meal has been shown to reduce blood sugars and insulin spikes.

Vinegar may assist in weight control because it is a dilute solution of acetic acid, which takes energy for our body to metabolize, activating the enzyme AMPK. This enzyme can amp up energy production, which may result in weight loss. In addition, vinegar appears to slow down the speed at which food leaves the stomach, keeping us feeling full (satiety).

Studies have shown that vinegar intake over time may also decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Optimal Dose of Vinegar

Although as many as six tablespoons a day of vinegar were not associated with any side effects, two tablespoons per day are recommended. Vinegar should not be ingested straight as it may burn the esophagus and cause intractable hiccups.  

Image Credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr. This image has been modified.

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