Whittle your woes with the health benefits of vinegar

July 2017

By Naini Setalvad

The good old vinegar is making a strong comeback as a superfood with immense health benefits, says Naini Setalvad

We are well acquainted with the sour, pungent liquid that gives a purplish-pink colour to the onions served in Punjabi restaurants. People happily partake of it because of the tangy sour flavour it gives to raw onions. Known as vinegar, it is a staple ingredient of salad dressings, pickles and stir-fries, especially in Asian cooking. Usually considered a Western European import to India, vinegar finds mention in the Buddhist scripts, and in the writings of surgeon Sushruta from around 6th century B.C. It was re- introduced in India by the Portuguese. The Goans have a long history with vinegar. Goan dishes with European influences such as Vindaloo and Xacuti are prepared with coconut vinegar, which was brought to Goa by the Portuguese. We often underestimate this edible acid and its health benefits, thinking it to be a mere flavouring agent.Vinegar is a diluted form of acetic acid, often used as a condiment or as a preservative. Vinegars are of many types depending on their source. Here are a few vinegars and their health benefits.


Coconut vinegar

This vinegar is made by fermenting the coconut sap. It is a Goan staple with Portuguese roots. This vinegar is full of nutrients as coconut trees are typically grown in extremely nutrient-rich (often volcanic) soil. The ‘sap’ that is produced by tapping the coconut blossoms is packed with Vitamins B and C, minerals, probiotics and fiber. Also coconut alkalizes our body. Our body requires 20 essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein and 17 of them are found in coconut sap!

Jamun (Black Plum) vinegar

Black plum (Jamun) vinegar is a popular condiment found in North Indian homes.

The bitter and sweet taste of this fleshy fruit is simply delightful. Mostly, it is used for treating stomach pain and possesses diuretic (causing urination), anti-scorbutic (preventing or curing scurvy), and carminative (flatulence relieving) properties. The vinegar made from Black Plum treats enlarged spleen. It also cures diarrhoea and problems related to urine retention. The polyphenolic compounds present in the black plum are effective against heart diseases, cancer, asthma, diabetes and arthritis. The vinegar of black plum is also
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