Whether you are a fan of the tart and bitter taste of it or not, vinegar is a kitchen staple. From fish and chips to salad dressing, the use of vinegar in one of its many varieties has permeated nearly every culture, and its uses are not just limited to the kitchen. And much like human history is long and varied, so is that of vinegar, a history that has evolved alongside our own.
Vinegar is truly one of nature’s greatest gifts, and while one may not think of it as such given its many varieties, it most certainly is a natural product. Have you ever enjoyed a bottle of wine, only to forget to put the cork back in when you were done? If so, you may have noticed a familiar scent the following morning coming from the bottle. That is because any alcoholic beverage, be it made from grapes, apples, dates, rice or just plain white sugar, once exposed to air, it will naturally turn into vinegar. This is a result of the ever-present bacteria in the air around us that converts alcohol in the cider, wine and beer into acetic acid, which gives vinegar that characteristic sharp sour taste.
The first recorded history of vinegar dates back to around 5000 BC, when the ancient Babylonians began to use the fruit of the date palm to make wine and vinegar, and the latter for the two was used as a preserving or pickling agent. Traces of vinegar have been found in ancient Egyptian urns that date back to 3000 BC, and in China, texts mention the use of vinegar from rice dating back to 1200 BC.
Even during biblical times, vinegar was used to flavor foods, as a revitalizing tonic, and as medicine. In fact, the use of vinegar is even mentioned in both the old and new testaments – “after working hard gleaning barley in the fields, Ruth was invited by Boaz to eat bread and dip it in vinegar. (Ruth 2:14).”
Around 400 BC in ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, would regularly prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of maladies including cough, cold, upset stomach and headaches. And while the application of vinegar for medicinal reasons is profound – a subject that we will delve into in more detail shortly – the uses of it continued to be diverse.
While it may not be the most forthcoming connection, vinegar played an important role in military front. Diluted vinegar has been used as a strengthening and energizing tonic by the military throughout the ages. Roman soldiers called this refreshing drink “posca”, and used it regularly as did the Japanese samurai. The addition of vinegar to drinking water had the additional benefit of killing any infectious agents that might have been present. Furthermore, antiseptic nature of vinegar was used to clean and disinfect soldiers wounds in order to speak up the healing process, and this practice carried over as recently as the American Civil War, where apple cider vinegar was used to this effect.
Vinegar, and more specifically, apple cider vinegar, has made appearances throughout history and always for the better. And while in our modern times some of the uses of apple cider vinegar have changed, it too has done so for the better, for with the advancement of science we now have a greater understanding of the benefits it possesses.
So what are these life changing benefits of apple cider vinegar? Glad you asked because here are 10 of them.
Generally speaking, most people tend to be more acidic than alkaline, and one of the first steps towards better healthy is to achieve a body that is more alkaline. The acid-alkaline balance is essential because so many of the body’s functions occur only at a certain level of either acidity or alkalinity, thus, the body is constantly trying to achieve a state of equilibrium. Even the smallest change in pH can have a profound and often damaging effect on the body and its functions.
Many of the enzymes and chemical reactions that take place inside us work best when the body is at a particular pH level, and research proves that when a person is more acidic than alkaline they will often have a lack of energy and a higher occurrence of infection.
It is commonplace to think of apple cider vinegar (or ACV as you will see it referred to throughout this article) is acidic, however, when consumed it actually become alkaline. Avoiding processed foods, sugar, alcohol and carbohydrates will help keep your body more alkaline and in turn, you will reap the rewards of more energy and less illness.