THE VINEGAR SHOWDOWN: BLACK VINEGAR VS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

We?ve heard about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) very often: From mothers and grandmothers who swear by the stuff, or from TV, health magazines, and all over the Internet. Apple Cider Vinegar, or its abbreviated term ?ACV?, is a wildly popular superfood that has been dubbed the ?weight loss tonic? since the 1820s in the western world.

Say the words ?Apple Cider Vinegar? and people will nod sagely at its incredible health benefits, but a lesser-known vinegar, which is commonly consumed in the Asian regions, doesn?t always have the same effect. Black Vinegar, or ?BV?, is a Japanese and Chinese derived tonic that upon mentioning its name, has more people than not reacting to it as the ?vinegar to cook with?. Its counterpart, the white vinegar, is a distilled vinegar that has a sharper taste than black vinegar, and some people enjoy using it as a household cleaner.

Why the disparity? While black vinegar is slowly gaining popularity in the Asian regions as a superfood (and not just in terms of cooking!), ACV remains the preferred choice that people flock to when it comes to picking a natural health tonic. But is ACV really better than BV? Or does BV have more secret benefits that we don?t know about? Let?s break it down and find out!

WHY CONSUME APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)

There?s no question that there is a myriad of health benefits in every tablespoon of ACV you take twice a day – one when you wake up, and another after dinner or at bedtime. Remember to mix it with water (about 200g) or else the acid will hurt your esophagus! The benefits of ACV are largely due to its ?mother?.

How is ACV derived? Firstly, yeast is added to apple juice. This breaks down the sugars in the apple juice and turns them into alcohol. The term ?mother? is used to describe the bacterial process in which alcohol gets converted to acetic acid. ?Mothers? are essential (both literally and figuratively) to turn the mixture into vinegar. It gives the ACV a cloudy appearance as well, so don?t fret when you see a glass jar of cloudy ACV – it?s actually a sign that the ?mother? is doing a great job. The ?mother? contains healthy strains of bacteria (probiotics) and enzymes, which help to break down food.

Taking ACV will help to improve overall digestion, carbohydrate metabolism and slow down the process of absorbing glucose. It contains antioxidant enzymes as well, which promote antioxidant effects to combat premature aging. ACV helps to lower the blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also protects the blood cells, kidney and liver functions, as well as relieves bloating, gas, and heartburn. One study showed that participants who took Apple Cider Vinegar consistently for 12 weeks saw a significant decline in overall body weight, triglycerides, and abdominal fats. It?s not only because of the digestive enzymes that help to break down food but also because taking ACV with water makes one feel fuller and less hungry. We suppose ?mother? really does know best!

WHY CONSUME BLACK VINEGAR (BV)

With a curriculum vitae like that, will Black Vinegar be able to match up? You?ll be surprised to know that BV matches up to all that and more. Although both BV and ACV have around the same amount of high antioxidant activity levels, BV has a greater range of health benefits thanks to its higher number of amino acids, polyphenols, minerals, and other organic acids. An interesting study found out that BV contains something that ACV does not – and this aids in the slowing down of fat cells from being created. It may be the phenolic compounds in BV. Phenols are aromatic compounds that are also found in wine. If ACV combats weight loss through making one feel fuller and by introducing more enzymes to help break down food faster, BV apparently combats weight loss and obesity by stalling the fat-making process!

How is BV derived? Firstly, we?d like to explain that there are multiple ways of tackling BV production. The Chinese and Japanese have different methods of preparing BV – not to mention the subsets of the kinds of vinegar that result from tiny variations in the ?recipe? like the type of grains used or the amount of time taken for the fermentation process.

The Chinese use starchy contents, like cereal or wheat. Converting the ?large? starch to glucose sugars require the process of saccharification (which also uses enzymes called amylases) to break them down. For example, the Shanxi Vinegar, which is very popular in China, uses wheat bran, barley, sorghum (a type of cereal), and pea. They are crushed, mashed, then steamed. Steaming helps to accelerate their saccharification process involving amylases. Yeasts and then molds are added to the mixture for alcoholic fermentation – similar to the Japanese?s use of koji in kurozu.

Japanese vinegar, or kurozu, is made using a traditional method that has lasted for over 200 years. Steamed brown rice, koji (type of fungus), and underground spring water are used. No additives or colouring are put in. These ingredients are then placed into aman jars (ceramic) that are black so as to absorb the warmth of the sun more readily. This entire process is regulated very strictly with Japanese technology – the labs monitor and control the levels of ingredients used, as well as the fermentation process. The length of aging time can vary, and at Kakuidas, our kurozu is aged for three years. Kurozu is able to relieve stress and body fatigue by breaking down lactic acid buildup. It helps to detoxify the liver, boosts metabolism, facilitates better blood circulation, and promotes digestion. Drinking it often can strengthen one?s immune system and protect it against bacterial infection. Also, having it after a carb-heavy meal helps to stabilise the blood glucose level spikes that one is wont to get.

ACV VS BV: WHO?S THE WINNER?

Frankly, if you ask us, there are no losers per se. Whether you pick one or the other, you will benefit from their healthful properties.

Both are high in antioxidant compounds and can slow down the aging process. Both are able to help in digestion, the liver, metabolism, and strengthen the immune system.

However, black vinegar contains a higher number of amino acids, polyphenols, minerals, and other organic acids. The polyphenols also aid in the slowing of fat cell production, and this can indirectly combat obesity better.

So, if we had to choose, we?d go with the facts: Black vinegar is slightly better, it wins!