Few kitchen compounds can boast benefits as varied as vinegar’s. Whether you use it in the garden to kill weeds, in the house to clean windows and countertops, or in your culinary adventures, you just can’t go wrong.
Blood Sugar Control
This inexpensive staple also has a solid and respected place in folk medicine, with references dating back to Hippocrates. And today, the health benefits of vinegar are finally being recognized in the medical literature—especially in the area of blood sugar control.
Several small studies have been conducted over in the past couple of decades on the effects of vinegar on postprandial (after-meal) blood sugar and insulin levels, which returns to baseline in healthy people one to two hours after eating but remains elevated in individuals with diabetes.
In 2017, researchers reviewed the results of all these studies and found that consuming vinegar before high-carbohydrate, starchy meals modulates the post-meal rise in blood sugar and insulin. Although it is unlikely that vinegar can replace other proven therapies such as weight loss, exercise, diet changes, and targeted supplements, the study concluded, “...[vinegar] could be considered as an adjunctive tool for improving glycemic control.”
In another study looking at the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, researchers found that two tablespoons (mixed with water and a noncaloric sweetener) reduced glucose and insulin response when taken just before a high-carbohydrate meal consisting of a bagel and orange juice.
In fact, vinegar worked just as well as diabetes drugs and reduced the usual blood sugar surge in people with diabetes and insulin resistance by 25 percent and 50 percent, respectively, while improving insulin sensitivity by 19 percent and 34 percent.
Facilitates Weight Loss
Vinegar also appears to have modest effects on weight loss. In a clinical trial conducted in Japan, overweight men and women were divided into three groups. Groups one and two drank beverages containing 15 or 30 mL (1 or 2 tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar with breakfast and dinner, while group three got a placebo drink.
After 12 weeks, the first two groups had significantly greater decreases in weight (more than 4.4 pounds), body mass index (BMI), body fat ratio, and triglycerides compared to the placebo group. Although results were somewhat better in the participants who took the higher dose of vinegar, the researchers concluded that one tablespoon per day was enough to achieve benefits.
Patients and Subscribers Share Benefits of Vinegar
There hasn’t been much research on vinegar’s therapeutic effects beyond blood sugar and weight loss. Nevertheless, its popularity as a home remedy has endured. Here are some of the health benefits of vinegar that some former patients have shared over the years.
No More Zantac
John had stomach troubles most of his life. Despite numerous GI workups, including a series of tests costing $2,000, his doctor could find nothing to explain these problems but prescribed Zantac, a drug that reduces stomach acid. John was less than enthusiastic about taking Zantac every day, so when a friend suggested vinegar, which he had read about in the newsletter, John decided to give it a try. After one week of drinking one teaspoon of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of raw honey in warm water once a day, his heartburn and stomach problems were alleviated. He reported that he hasn’t had to take Zantac since.
Relief From Angina
Bob D., a patient treated for heart disease, gives a lot of credit for his rapid and remarkable elimination of angina to his “vinegar cocktails.” He mixed a whiskey shot glass of vinegar with molasses and grapefruit juice and downed it twice a day. Though he was pursuing several other therapies for his chest pain at the same time, Bob feels that the vinegar had a decided effect.
Note: John and Bob weren’t drinking straight vinegar. It’s far too acidic and needs to be diluted before it is consumed. To reap the health benefits of vinegar—without adding a lot of unnecessary calories and sugar—dilute with water and add a healthy sweetener or mix it with extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings to make a delicious salad dressing.
Painful Plantar Warts…Gone
Julie reported that topical apple cider vinegar eradicated her painful plantar warts. Every night, she soaked a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and taped it over the warts with duct tape. In the morning, the warts would appear white and she’d gently scrape away the top layer. After about a week, they began to disappear.
More Topical Benefits of Vinegar
There are other topical applications as well. To help clear up fungal infections, dab a little vinegar on the affected area a few times a day. For swimmer’s ear, combine equal parts of vinegar and water and rinse the ear with this mixture once or twice daily.
Vinegar can also help with dandruff. Simply apply it directly to the scalp after shampooing, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse thoroughly. And when used as a hair rinse (one part vinegar to two to three parts water), this inexpensive compound reportedly makes the hair shiny and tangle-free. Finally, to take the sting out of a bug bite, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it over the bite overnight.
Additional Vinegar Household Hacks
For medicinal/therapeutic uses I recommend apple cider vinegar. However, white vinegar has benefits too, particularly when it comes to housecleaning.
Subscriber Katherine B. from Texas recently shared her household uses for vinegar. “When my microwave gets dirty, I pour 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar into a coffee cup and microwave it for 1–2 minutes. As it boils and vaporizes, it softens the cooked-on food, which can be easily wiped off. I also put about half a cup in the fabric softener dispenser of my washing machine (instead of harsher chemicals) to remove soap residue and odors. And for cleaning the dishwasher, place a glass filled with 1–2 cups of vinegar upright on the top shelf of an otherwise empty dishwasher and run it through the normal cycle.”
Cleaning window and mirrors, descaling coffeemakers, removing mineral buildup from taps and faucets…there seems to be no end to the household uses of inexpensive white vinegar.
So there you have it. From health benefits to household use, vinegar really can do it all.