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Kate Gardner

The health benefits associated with drinking vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, is old news; Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr and Megan Fox have been doing it for years, after all.  But the trend looks set to really take this autumn by storm, due to some notable developments in the food industry.

Until now, the only way to reap the benefits of vinegar drinking has been to stoically down a barely palatable homemade concoction of vinegar and water.  If you’ve ever done it, you can attest to the fact that it’s hardly a pleasant or tasty experience. It looks as though this may be changing, though, with various beverage brands now bringing out lines of much tastier ‘vinegar water’. It doesn’t sound particularly catchy, but these commercially produced drinks, new in 2016 from big brands like BluePrint, Suja and Kevita to name a few, are blended with things like juice and stevia to make them more drinkable, while maintaining the goodness of the eye-watering homemade brews. Some restaurants and cafes are even catching on too, serving their own blended vinegar drinks.

So why should you get behind this trend?  Firstly, there are the age-old health benefits of the vinegar itself. Just one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV to those in the know) taken on an empty stomach helps stimulate digestion, which not only helps to beat bloating but also promotes weight loss by significantly reducing both appetite and body fat, according to studies done in Japan and South Carolina. Vinegar is also said to clear out the lungs and respiratory tract by breaking down any build up of mucus. In another piece of research carried out at Arizona State University, Type 2 diabetics saw a 4- to 6- % reduction in blood sugar levels as a result of regularly consuming ACV. It even contains malic acid, which improves heart hearth by clearing blocked arteries, lymph nodes and organ tissues.

As a highly alkaline product, vinegar is held in particularly high esteem by followers of the alkaline diet, which aims to keep the body’s pH balance between 7.35 and 7.45. The belief behind this way of eating is that keeping the body as alkaline as possible – by eschewing acidic foods like wheat and dairy – can improve energy levels, memory loss, and clear up problems like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and, you know, ageing.  Alkaline foods are easier to digest and break down, meaning the body can more easily absorb vitamins and minerals. Even if you’re not a follower of this particular creed, however, vinegar’s alkalising effect on the body is particularly useful to those who suffer from acid reflux.

The new vinegar drinks that look set to be the next kombucha are more beneficial than just their vinegar, though. Suja, a leading brand of organic HPP beverages which has just expanded its product line to include vinegar drinks, contain over 4 million probiotic cultures per bottle, meaning your gut would seriously thank you even without the vinegar. Equally, many of the drinks have other healing herbs like turmeric, ginger and cayenne added to them, not only aiding absorption of the drink’s goodness but also bringing health benefits of their own.

Be wary, though: just like any other food that brands itself as ‘healthy’, it’s important to be vigilant when checking the labels. After all, what’s the point downing vinegar if it’s packed with over 25g of sugar or laced with other additives?

The main advantage of the new wellness drinks? You no longer have to stomach the less than appetising homemade vinegar blend. And at only 30 - 40 calories a bottle, it’s worth a try at least.

Kate Gardner

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