Are you familiar with good old healthy Vinegars? Well, I did not know so much about Vinegar before writing this post. Vinegar is much more than the simple ingredient that you add to make your meals appetizing. There is an entire family of vinegar with grandpa, siblings, and cousins. Well, I would not be able to give you all the details about this big family. But, I have something for you that you can do with kinds of vinegar. Yes, with me it is always about health. So, this post will enlighten you about the healthy side of the vinegar and how you can benefit out of them. What are we waiting for? Let’s begin.
Who is this Vinegar, by the way?
Technically, I should use ‘what’ instead of ‘who’ but using ‘who’ adds some drama. So, vinegar is a liquid that is sour in taste. It is prepared through the process of fermentation. There are different types of vinegar available. Depending on the type, the ingredient is fermented to turn into vinegar. Generally, cider, beer, rice, barley, apple or wine is fermented for vinegar. Interestingly, the word Vinegar is derived from French. Vin Aigre is old French and means sour wine.
Different Varieties of Vinegar
Remember I told you that there is a big family of vinegar waiting to include them in your meals and lifestyle. Herein I have some members who were eager to meet you.
1. White vinegar
The most popular member of the family, white vinegar is prepared both in laboratories and test kitchens. It is quite harsh in taste. Interestingly, it is used for cleaning purpose as well.
2. Black Vinegar
Based out of China, Black Vinegar has a smoky flavour. Prepared out of sorghum, it is used as a sour component in Chinese dishes and also as a dipping sauce.
3. Coconut Vinegar
Yes, even coconut palm is used to prepare vinegar. Popular in some parts of Southeast Asia, this vinegar is white in colour and has a sharp taste.
4. Wine Vinegar
Quite flavorful in taste, wine vinegar is another common one. It is prepared using white wine or even red wine. Just like wine, this vinegar is aged for around two years to get good flavour.
5. Champagne Vinegar
The name says it all. Champagne Vinegar is lighter in taste and prepared from (no points for guessing) Champagne. Mellow in taste, this vinegar is used for dressings and at times, even for condiments.
6. Malt Vinegar
Dark Brown in colour and unique in taste, malt vinegar is prepared by sprouting barley kernels. This vinegar is generally prepared for pickles.
7. Beer Vinegar
Slightly golden in colour and sharp in taste, beer vinegar is prepared in different breweries, which bring about a change in taste.
8. Raisin Vinegar
Slightly brown in colour, raisin vinegar has a mild taste. With Turkey, its home, this vinegar is particularly used in salad dressings.
9. Cane Vinegar
Light yellow in colour, cane vinegar is prepared out of sugar cane and tastes similar to rice vinegar. It is generally used in Indian households to flavour the pickles.
Why Include Vinegar in your Diet
Vinegar is very good for your health when you make the right choice. Based on your lifestyle, choose a variety that is packed with nutrients that your body requires. The recent popularity of vinegar is due to the bad-mouthing of salt. People are avoiding salt due to its ill-effects and vinegar, thus, has become a saviour. Some chefs even substitute vinegar for unhealthy substitutes like butter or oil as toppings. The other benefits that vinegar offers are:-
- Vinegar is brimming with antioxidants
- The components in vinegar aid weight loss
- Vinegar controls the level of blood sugar
- An antimicrobial, vinegar keeps you away from infections
- Vinegar is good for allergies as well
- Vinegar helps reduce heartburn
- Consumption of Vinegar prevents kidney stones
- Alzheimer’s Disease patients can benefit from vinegar
- Vinegar prevents urinary tract infections
Top Five Healthy Vinegars
These five kinds of vinegar are quite good for your health. Include them in your regular meals and improve your health quotient.
1. Balsamic Vinegar
Just like wines, Balsamic Vinegar has culture ingrained in its every sip. There are customs that revolve around this vinegar. Born in Italy, Balsamic Vinegar is prepared by veteran craftsmen by choosing the choicest of Trebbiano grapes grown near Modena in Italy and watching it patiently turn into vinegar after processes. Earlier, Balsamic vinegar was aged in casks for more than six years and at times, as long as twenty-five years to get the right taste and texture. Hence, balsamic vinegar might burn a hole in your pocket, being the expensive variant.
What are the health benefits of Balsamic Vinegar?
- The presence of acetic acid in Balsamic vinegar helps enhance the health of your gut
- If you are looking for an immunity booster, balsamic vinegar can be the end of your search
- This variety of vinegar helps in healthy digestion of meals, also making you feel fuller
- Full of antioxidants, balsamic vinegar prevents clogging of arteries
- With no fat in it, balsamic vinegar aids your weight loss drive
- Use balsamic vinegar to prevent the rise in blood sugar levels after meals
- Antimicrobial compounds in balsamic vinegar are good for your skin. Include in your diet and/or apply on your skin for a clear and bright complexion
How to consume balsamic vinegar?
Balsamic Vinegar is quite ideal for salad dressings or even seasoning the meals. You can also add balsamic vinegar to finish the soups and sauces for enhancing their flavour. You will be surprised to know that balsamic vinegar tastes great when drizzled on ice-creams. Balsamic vinegar can be also be used for marinating tofu or mushrooms. Many people are also fond of combining balsamic vinegar with soda and even cocktail at times.
2. Rice Vinegar
Rice and vinegar sound quite interesting, isn’t it! And when it is rice, it has got to have some connection with Asia. Yes, this vinegar comes from the land of the rising sun, Japan. And no points for guessing that this vinegar is used for preparing the quintessential Japanese dish, Sushi. If you are wondering how vinegar could be made out of rice, then you might be surprised to know that even rice has some amount of sugar in it. Rice vinegar is prepared from this sugar present in rice. It is aged for years and then sieved to get the right colour and taste. Rice vinegar is mild in taste, clear in colour and has a subtle taste that does not dominate the flavour of the actual dish. Rice vinegar goes well with cloves or even ginger. It is available in clear, black and red variants, with each having a different taste.
What are the health benefits of Rice Vinegar
- Amino Acids in Rice Vinegar keeps you energetic and prevents sluggishness
- Consuming rice vinegar boosts your digestive health due to the presence of amino acids
- It helps absorb more nutrients from the meals that you consume
- Brown rice vinegar is an antiseptic and is used in preparing medicines
- Rice Vinegar fights the free radicals and helps boost immunity
- It prevents the build-up of cholesterol in our body and enhances heart health
- Rice Vinegar helps meet your weight-loss goals by shedding extra flab in your body
How to consume rice vinegar
Rice Vinegar can be added to salad dressings. It enhances the flavour of stir-fry preparations. Many people prefer sprinkling it on fruits as well. If you come across red rice vinegar, then add them to your soups or even noodles. Whereas, if you have black rice vinegar in your pantry, use it as a dip.
3. Pomegranate Vinegar
Prepared from the very beneficial fruit, pomegranate, this vinegar has become popular because of its varied benefits. Just like the fruit, pomegranate vinegar too is loaded with nutrients.
What are the health benefits of Pomegranate Vinegar
- Helps enhance health by aiding mineral absorption from foods
- Pomegranate Vinegar has the ability to lower blood pressure levels and cholesterol
- It can even prevent heart ailments and strokes on consumption
- The acetic acid in pomegranate vinegar aids digestion of meals
- Presence of flavonoids and antioxidants enhances memory
- It even controls free radicals and prevents depression
- If you are lactose intolerant, add pomegranate vinegar to alternative calcium sources to help absorb calcium easily.
- It is believed that pomegranate vinegar is quite beneficial for HIV patients
- It might work as a remedy for hypertension and clogged arteries as well
How to consume pomegranate vinegar
Drizzle pomegranate vinegar on your salads for a twist of taste. Pomegranate vinegar helps enhance the flavour of meals when used as a seasoning. Many even add pomegranate vinegar to make dips tangy in taste.
4. Apple cider vinegar
One of the most common vinegar, apple cider vinegar has a fruity taste. To make this vinegar, apples are first crushed. First, they are exposed to yeast and then bacteria are added. This way, first sugar is fermented and then the alcohol. Low in calories, this vinegar is quite popular for its range of benefits.
What are the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Combine your weight loss regime with apple cider vinegar to lose excess fat
- Apple Cider Vinegar keeps you full for a longer period and curbs the craving
- Acetic Acid in this vinegar destroys bacteria in the body as well
- When included in the diet, this vinegar can lower sugar levels in the blood
- It is also proved that it lowers cholesterol levels and enhances heart health
- Apple Cider Vinegar is said to provide relief from the symptoms of acid reflux
- Consuming it regularly boosts the immunity and improves intestinal flora
- It can prove to be a great detoxifying drink that cleanses the body
- Minimize issues of bad breath by gargling with apple cider vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar balances the pH levels of your skin and treats acne
- Presence of potassium prevents the problem of leg cramps
How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
To make the most of apple cider vinegar, choose the one that is raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized. Mix one-two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and consume it on an empty stomach every morning. This sweet yet tangy vinegar is great as salad dressings. It can also be used as dips to enhance the flavor. You can even use it as a gargling solution, apply on the skin or use as a natural conditioner for your hair.
5. Red Wine Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar is obviously prepared out of Red Wine. The Wine is fermented and aged for years to get the right taste and texture. For the perfect flavour, it needs to be aged for more than two years. The longer the wine ages, the better is the taste. After ageing, the red wine vinegar is bottled up for use.
What are the health benefits of Red Wine Vinegar
- Full of antioxidants, red wine vinegar slows down the process of ageing.
- Presence of acetic acid helps suppress appetite and keeps you feeling full
- Packed with minerals, iron, potassium and vitamins, red wine vinegar reduces cell damage
- Free from calories, sugar and fat, it slows down the absorption of sugar from meals
- Red wine vinegar promotes the absorption of calcium from food
- This vinegar flushes toxins out of your body and cleanses the urinary tract
- When consumed, it even helps in eliminating yeast present in the digestive tract
- It helps improve the digestion when consumed between meals
- Red wine vinegar is also great for cosmetic use to enhance skin and hair health
How to consume red wine vinegar
Quite popular and versatile, red wine vinegar is apt for both internal consumption and external application. While it is drizzled on salad dressings and mixed with sauces for an aromatic flavour, it is also used for pickling and preparing slow-cooked food. Red wine vinegar is often reduced in sauce preparations. Further, people have been using red wine vinegar for healthy skin. It can be applied to the skin to heal irritations and balance the acid level. This vinegar happens to cool the skin as well. If you are worried about your dull hair, use red wine vinegar as natural hair-wash.
How to Store Vinegar
Vinegar should be stored in a glass container to avoid the acidic reaction. It needs to be kept in a cool and dark place. Vinegar can even be refrigerated; in fact, the fruit ones should always be kept in the fridge. The lid should be tightly closed to keep the flavour intact.
So, how was the post? Interesting, wasn’t it! Every variety of vinegar has a story to tell. The way it was fermented, aged and brought to your pantry. They are subtle yet strong at the same time. Make some space for vinegar in your kitchen and see how the taste of your meals gets a lift!