By Tori Dominski
Long before modern medicinal research proved its benefits, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) heralded vinegar as a food that was preferable and good for us. In small amounts, it can be taken as a digestive cleansing agent, as an aid for those living with diabetes (it can increase sensitivity to insulin and facilitate its release into the body), and can be useful in many other ways. Again, Prophet Muhammad informed us hundreds of years ago about the goodness of vinegar before any tests or studies were conducted by medical professionals!
Is vinegar sunnah? As reported by Jabir: “I entered the house of the Prophet with him and there was some bread and vinegar. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Eat; what a good condiment is vinegar.’” (Sunan an- Nasa’i 3796)
There are many uses for vinegar as remedies or supplements for specific ailments, but this list is inconclusive and not always backed by scientific research or studies. Here, we will focus on what has been documented and researched. Perhaps the newest and most well-known is the benefits it has for people with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes makes it difficult for a person’s cells to accept insulin (a hormone) that helps absorb and process the sugar from the foods they eat into energy. When the cells do not accept the insulin, sugar becomes saturated in the bloodstream and this can, over time, lead to nerve damage. However, a small amount of vinegar (5 teaspoons mixed with water) taken by individuals with type 2 diabetes a couple minutes before a meal seemed to make the cells more accepting of the insulin and lowered the previously high amounts present in their bloodstreams before. Apple cider vinegar is probably the best known for its benefits as many companies have promoted it for weight loss.
Thanks to its high acid content, vinegar also can help women and the lactose-intolerant to absorb more calicium from calicium-abundant dark greens without putting dairy products into their systems.
Despite its benefits, you should ingest it in large amounts due to its previously mentioned high acidity. Drinking large amounts could cause heartburn to intensify and could also damage the enamel of the teeth. It is best to mix or dilute the ideal amount of 1 to 3 teaspoons of vinegar by mixing them with a slightly greater amount of water. Capsules are available at many drugstores and supermarkets for those who want the benefits without drinking. Since absorption begins in the mouth, unfortunately some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar will be lost to those taking capsules alone.
The ease with which you can add it to your diet is amazing, alhamdulillah. It is a better low-calorie alternative to mayonnaise for flavor in several dishes. You can also add some on vegetables and salad for taste instead of relying on other dressings with unnecessary fats and calories. So generally, for anything you would like to dip or drizzle over another food, vinegar could be a much healthier option!
The sunnah of vinegar is a simple yet very beneficial habit to adopt. If you have any medical conditions or questions about adding it into your diet, please consult a doctor, inshaa’Allah, before making any changes to ensure that there will be no interactions with your condition or medications you are currently taking. Otherwise – happy eating!