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Vinegar and Health

Written By Culinary Pen on Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 4:46:00 PM

Obviously food is linked to health, but there's always been that "other" realm, where healthy foods become "health foods." I never pay much attention to them, but they're always in the background of the food world. But today one of them finally made sense: vinegar.

I was finishing my morning coffee and reading Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. Deep in the chapter on chicken care was a section on antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all biotics, good and bad. So the author recommended avoiding them and encouraging the growth of good microflora and probiotics in your chickens. She then explained that old farmers would put apple cider vinegar into their chicken's water to help their health. This is because harmful bacteria thrive in the pH range of 7-9, while probiotic bacteria live best in a pH of 5-7. So the vinegar would lower the pH in the chicken's body, making it less susceptible to the growth of pathogens.

It's amazing to find out the science behind all those old vinegar remedies and cures. Vinegar itself isn't a cure, it just encourages an environment that's both hostile to bad bacterial and beneficial to probiotic bacteria.

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Matt F said...

This reminded of an NPR story where they included a vinegar soaked roasted chicken recipe. The story is really about Chef Boyardee, and it's pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

The history and usage of vinegar is an amazing story. I once saw a cable TV show (History channel?) about the restoration of a WWII fighter recovered from a watery grave. As part of the restoration process, metal parts were soaked in vinegar -- which is a benign solvent. I've cleaned metal parts with a soaking in vinegar. And on Wiki, the uses for vinegar include: culinary, medical, cleaning, agricultural & horticultural.