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Saturday, April 24, 2010

StitcheS™ | The Blogzine for Everyday People

Get Fit and Healthy With Fruit VinegarsVinegar is customarily used for food preservation and as flavoring or condiment. More recently, vinegars made from various fruits with distinctive sensory appeal have emerged in the marketplace. Aside from acetic acid, fruit vinegars can contain citric, malic, lactic, succinic, fumaric and tartaric acids and may also include some disease-fighting phytochemicals, such as polyphenols.

A number of these polyphenols are naturally present in the fruit itself or produced as a result of the fermentation process. The polyphenols present in the finish products depend on the source material, which will dictate their type, quantity, quality and the corresponding health benefits.

Polyphenols have been demonstrated to exhibit positive effects on certain types of cancers, heart disease and a multitude of inflammatory disorders. While the exact mechanism of these effects is somewhat unknown, the health promoting activities are always attributed to the ability of polyphenols to act as antioxidants.

As mentioned earlier, we have to be aware, though, that the antioxidant activity varies with fruit types and depends on the chemical nature of the polyphenols present, not at all times their amount, as some of them are more potent than other kinds.

“What does this put across then?”

If traditionally, fruit vinegars were only considered as food ingredient or as delicate flavor enhancer, these new findings and information suggest that they can also be regarded as potential functional foods. This further implies that specialty vinegars supply functions beyond basic nutrition and a compelling reason why we see other fruits finding their way into vinegar, as well.

“Can we really get fit and healthy with fruit vinegars?”

“Of course, YES!” All you have to do is proceed reading this article to learn more.

To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist -- the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's VINEGAR.                         ~Oscar Wilde        


Apple. The health benefits of apple cider are infinite. Among the important ones are: skin revitalizer, prevents proliferation of harmful bacteria, good in preventing respiratory infections, sore throats and in the reduction of nasal discharges. It is also used as tonic to improve blood circulation. The large and complex fiber, pectin, in apple has been proven as one of the principal agents in reducing high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), acting as sequestrant by forming a pectin-cholesterol complex that is subsequently excreted as waste. Malic acid, the major organic acid found in apples relieves painful joint pains due to arthritis by dissolving excessive deposits of uric acid. The various enzymes produced during fermentation process make cider a wonderful agent in speeding up metabolism, which in turn results to keeping the weight under control. The chief polyphenolic substance found in apples or in apple cider is catechin, it is well established as a cyclooxygenase enzyme activity inhibitor. Cyclooxygenase enzyme is responsible for the synthesis of prostaglandin, which produces inflammation, pain and fever and stimulates inflammatory responses in the body. According to various studies in Japan, apple polyphenols also help the body stave off body fats but do not keep away strength and endurance. Scientists who embarked on these undertakings believed that the ability of apple polyphenols to decrease oxidative damage to muscle may have led to the boost in strength. Aside from aiding the digestion and decreasing the levels of LDL in the body, this is perhaps one of the reasons why apple cider is considered as an amazing natural alternative used in weight management programs.

Blueberry. Blueberry vinegar is not only quite pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds but also packed with health powerhouses. These healthy benefits are attributed to the high level of antioxidants believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. In fact, what you may not know is that blueberries are recognized as the fruit with the highest level of antioxidants, a finding substantiated in the study conducted by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Antioxidants can also help keep your skin looking young and healthy. You will be able to lose “more” weight, as well, if you regularly consume or add blueberry vinegar in your diet and food preparations, since it does contain high levels of both antioxidants and fiber, which are both often credited for aiding in weight loss. It is, likewise, often times called an immune system booster for the simple reason that it holds a hefty amount of Vitamin C. Even more compelling are the brain protective and memory boosting effects associated with the anthocyanins found in it. Anthocyanin, a natural compound linked with many health benefits, is in the blue pigment found in blueberries.

Grape. Aside from excellent flavor that it gives your salads, meals and soups, grape vinegar helps to protect your health with untocyanine. Untocyanine, especially existing in red grape vinegar, is important in helping the human body fight against infections and also in the over all improvement of the immune system. Resveratrol, another natural active component found in red grape skin and possibly in red grape fruit vinegar, is believed to aid in raking off those unwanted fats. Cholesterol reduction, protecting the body against osteoporosis, gum health and returning body temperature to normal in diseases with fever are among other remarkable uses of grape vinegar. If a tablespoon of honey is mixed with two dessertspoons of grape vinegar and added into mineral water and drunk before breakfast, it accelerates reduction of body fat. Consequently, it provides weight control, just as the other previous fruit vinegar types.

There you have it folks! We have just learned that these three (3) most common fruit vinegars can help us get fit and healthy.

Other fruits are finding their way into vinegar too; apricot, black currant, and cherry are among the newest varieties. Tropical fruits such as pineapple, orange, mango, star fruit, bilimbi, lychee, sapodilla and even tomato are also promising and potential candidates for fruit vinegar making.

OK, let us have this as our take-home message from this article…

Next time you plan to cook with vinegar as one of your ingredients, try replacing your traditional white vinegar with fruit vinegar to obtain some of these notable health benefits from this wonderful cooking agent.

Occasionally, I use fruit vinegar as my cooking vinegar just to let my palate experience the exciting taste of "adobo" done with a twist.

Photo Credits: Fruit Vinegar

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