Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

The Great Vinegar Experiment Part 6: Vinegar and Your Health

by Danica Waters

With the vast amount of research and experimentation I’ve been doing with respect to the various uses for vinegar in the home, it was impossible for me to ignore the proposed health benefits that are said to accompany the regular use of vinegar in the diet.  While there’s a lot of folks who vehemently believe that vinegar can cure everything from arthritis to IBS to cancer, much of the data is unproven.  However, there are some important – and scientifically proven – things everyone should know about what regular use of vinegar can do to improve your state of overall health.

Supercharge your food. Vinegar contains high levels of acetic acid, which boosts the body’s ability to absorb important trace minerals from the food we eat.  This is especially important when it comes to calcium intake and the fight against osteoporosis; simply drizzling a small amount of vinegar (any kind) over dark leafy greens and other calcium-rich vegetables not only enhances their flavor but their nutritional impact, as well.

Regulate your blood sugar. By simply adding 1 tsp of vinegar to a glass of water, blood sugar levels can be regulated – quickly.  This is super-important when it comes to not only basic weight-loss, but also as a dietary aid for folks with type 2 diabetes.  While vinegar will not cure diabetes, it is an invaluable weapon  in the fight to keep it under control.  In a lengthy article posted on, Gayle Povis Alleman, M.S., R.D writes:.

“Vinegar has recently won attention for its potential to help people with type 2 diabetes get a better handle on their disease. Improved control could help them delay or prevent such complications as blindness, impotence, and a loss of feeling in the extremities that may necessitate amputation. Also, because people with diabetes are at increased risk for other serious health problems, such as heart disease, improved control of their diabetes could potentially help to ward off these associated conditions, as well.


With type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become resistant to the action of the hormone insulin. The body normally releases insulin into the bloodstream in response to a meal. Insulin’s job is to help the body’s cells take in the glucose, or sugar, from the carbohydrates in food, so they can use it for energy. But when the body’s cells become insulin resistant, the sugar from food begins to build up in the blood, even while the cells themselves are starving for it. (High levels of insulin tend to build up in the blood, too, because the body releases more and more insulin to try to transport the large amounts of sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells.)

Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage nerves throughout the body and otherwise cause irreversible harm. So one major goal of diabetes treatment is to normalize blood sugar levels and keep them in a healthier range as much as possible. And that’s where vinegar appears to help.

It seems that vinegar may be able to inactivate some of the digestive enzymes that break the carbohydrates from food into sugar, thus slowing the absorption of sugar from a meal into the bloodstream. Slowing sugar absorption gives the insulin-resistant body more time to pull sugar out of the blood and thus helps prevent the blood sugar level from rising so high. Blunting the sudden jump in blood sugar that would usually occur after a meal also lessens the amount of insulin the body needs to release at one time to remove the sugar from the blood.

A study cited in 2004 in the American Diabetes Association’s publication Diabetes Care indicates that vinegar holds real promise for helping people with diabetes. In the study, 21 people with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance (a prediabetes condition) and eight control subjects were each given a solution containing five teaspoons of vinegar, five teaspoons of water, and one teaspoon of saccharin two minutes before ingesting a high-carbohydrate meal. The blood sugar and insulin levels of the participants were measured before the meal and 30 minutes and 60 minutes after the meal.

Vinegar increased overall insulin sensitivity 34 percent in the study participants who were insulin-resistant and 19 percent in those with type 2 diabetes. That means their bodies actually became more receptive to insulin, allowing the hormone to do its job of getting sugar out of the blood and into the cells. Both blood sugar and blood insulin levels were lower than normal in the insulin-resistant participants, which is more good news. Surprisingly, the control group (who had neither diabetes nor a prediabetic condition but were given the vinegar solution) also experienced a reduction in insulin levels in the blood. These findings are significant because, in addition to the nerve damage caused by perpetually elevated blood sugar levels, several chronic conditions, including heart disease, have been linked to excess insulin in the blood over prolonged periods of time.

More studies certainly need to be done to confirm the extent of vinegar’s benefits for type 2 diabetes patients and those at risk of developing this increasingly common disease. But for now, people with type 2 diabetes might be wise to talk with their doctors or dietitians about consuming more vinegar.



This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Other great articles that include health and beauty tips include Discovery Health: Uses for VinegarWeb MD:  Apple Cider Vinegar, and’s article on vinegar and Swimmer’s Ear.

While white distilled vinegar is the preferred choice for home cleaning purposes, it’s not as tasty as some of its more exotic cousins.  Apple cider vinegar seems to be the vinegar of choice if adding to a glass of water for digestive and other purposes; malt vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic and  wine vinegars tend to be tastier additions to food.  Great ways to use vinegar as a substitute for high-fat ingredients or sodium include:

– Instead of using high-calorie tartar sauce on your batter-fried fish, use malt vinegar!  It’s great drizzled over french fries, as well, and the enhanced flavor from the vinegar will automatically reduce the amount of sodium and sugar you’d normally be taking in if you used ketchup and salt.

– Drizzle fresh strawberries with a high-quality balsamic vinegar;  the flavors will pop, and you won’t need as much (if any) sugar!

– Steamed vegetables are fantastic when they’re drizzled with a little rice vinegar!  Try some on a bit of steamed cabbage – you’ll think you died and went to heaven.

– Drizzle hot-pepper infused vinegars  over your next batch of steamed or wilted collard greens.  Your body will thank you for it.

Here’s to health!


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Posted in Allspice Chronicles and Danica Waters and Gluten-Free and Home Remedies and Increased Mineral Absorption and Natural Housekeeping and Home Remedies and Natural Regulation of Blood Sugar and vinegar by danica on June 20th, 2011 at 10:15 am.

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