Saturday, June 20, 2009

vinegar for your health

Vinegar is an acidic liquid that is made by fermentation. It is used in many different cultures primarily as a condiment or to preserve other foods. Vinegar is made up of acetic acid; natural vinegars may also contain additional acids such as citric acid. In addition to the vinegars that we are most familiar with, distilled, apple cider, balsamic or various wine vinegars, there are other types that include coconut, date, beer, and honey.

Vinegar has been around for centuries and has a wide variety of uses both in the home as well as in the diet. In the home many people are familiar with vinegar as a glass cleaner. However it can also be used for things like removing oily stains from carpet (1 t. liquid detergent, 1 t. vinegar, 1 pint warm water), cleaning your coffee maker, deodorizing the dispos-all, and many more tips. You can find other household uses for vinegar here.

In terms of health benefits vinegar has a number of different uses. One of my favorites is to use it as a fruit and veggie wash; according to this article from NPR a solution of three parts water to one part vinegar removed 98% of the bacteria from the outside of the fruit being tested. For headaches a compress soaked in a 50/50 solution of warm water and vinegar is reputed to be helpful in reducing or clearing the pain. Vinegar also makes a great gargle for a sore throat (1 t. vinegar in 8 oz water) and is widely believed to be helpful in easing the pain of sunburn; simply spritz vinegar from a spray bottle on the sunburn, being careful not to spray on broken skin.

Frequently vinegars are enhanced by adding herbs to them. The healing effects of the herbs combine with the benefits of the vinegar, for example tarragon is noted for helping with digestion and vinegar, being high in acetic acid, helps the body to absorb minerals. There is also the use of hibiscus vinegar which may help with allergy symptoms. Edible hibiscus (and not all of them are) is very high in quercetin which has helpful properties for those dealing with allergies. You can learn more about hibiscus and hibiscus vinegars here.

If you live locally, in the Houston area, you can purchase some delicious hibiscus vinegars (and teas) from Village Botanica. If you don't live locally you can purchase their products online. The direct link to the vinegars will be online for the summer season within the next week. If you do place an order, please mention my name, Mira Dessy, for a 10% discount on internet orders only.

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