Vinegar Vitality

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Not many people can palate drinking vinegar without screwing up their faces in disgust. But a little dose is good for you.

Drinking vinegar as a health benefit has been the norm since ancient days. In countries such as Korea and Japan drinking vinegar is popular and is a daily habit. Drinking vinegar supposedly aids weight loss, boosts your digestive system, imparts good complexion and gives you more energy. Visit any Korean or Japanese health shop or supermarket and you will see a host of vinegar flavours that you can drink from fruit ones to grain types.

What is vinegar?

Vinegar is a liquid that is produced from the fermentation of ethanol. The main ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid, which makes it sour and acidic. While there may be additions of other kinds of acid like tartaric acid and citric acid, the typical pH of vinegar ranges anywhere from 2 to 3.5, although the store-bought kind usually measures 2.4.

How is vinegar made?

The word vinegar comes from the Old French ‘vin aigre’ which means ‘sour wine’. Vinegar is made from the oxidation of ethanol in an alcoholic liquid such as wine, fermented fruit juice or beer. There are two processes of fermentation that differ by speed of production. While the fast fermentation process takes only hours to days, it requires the use of machinery to promote the oxygenation.

The slow fermentation process takes weeks to months and occurs naturally. At the same time, a non-toxic byproduct called mother of vinegar accumulates in the liquid which is also consumed for its health properties.

Natural flavours

There are numerous natural flavours of vinegar you can drink. In Japan, popular flavours include black vinegar, apple vinegar, moromi (a by-product of sake fermentation) vinegar, plum vinegar, wine vinegar, shiso (perilla leaf) vinegar, lemon vinegar, persimmon vinegar and millet vinegar. The Koreans love hongcho (red vinegar made from berries such as blueberry, raspberry etc), heuckcho (black vinegar), persimmon vinegar and sweet potato vinegar and pomegranate vinegar.

Drinking

Vinegar conoisseurs drink it straight like a tequila shot as they are used to the taste. For beginners it can be harse so mixing it with fruit juice, water and honey will help. Try various flavours and pick one you like. High quality, organic vinegar may be expensive so your budget comes into play. In any case it does not have to be organic and expensive as it is recommended you drink a small dose daily. Many Japanese drink vinegar by diluting about 20 millilitres with three parts water while the majority drink it straight. Mixing vinegar with fruit juice, syrups, honey and soda is also popular.

Health benefits

Weight loss is one of the main reasons for drinking vinegar. Vinegar also tones the skin, boosts energy, strengthens your digestive system, lowers high blood pressure, cures headaches, fights food cravings, helps in urinary tract infections and a host of other elements.

Vinegar Tea

2 tsp apple vinegar or other vinegar of your choice
1 tbsp honey
1 cup water
Ice cubes (optional)

Put the vinegar and honey into a mug. Boil the water and pour it into the mug. Mix well. If you like it cold add the ice cubes.

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