Never mind making your fish and chips taste better, vinegar – the centuries-old kitchen ingredient – could help fight an inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed.
According to the Chinese study, vinegar appeared to reduce inflammation by suppressing proteins and the processes that trigger inflammation.
The researchers gave vinegar and its main ingredient – acetic acid – to mice who had symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
The results showed both vinegar and acetic acid significantly reduced the symptoms of ulcerative colitis in the mice.
Interestingly, after looking at the animals’ stools, the team discovered mice treated with vinegar for a month before the colitis was induced by scientists had higher levels of friendly bacteria in their gut, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Both of which are thought to be beneficial strains of bacteria for the mice with ulcerative colitis.
The research team also revealed the common kitchen ingredient reduced a type of cell death that is triggered by stress.
The research was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and led by Jilin University in Changchun.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include recurring diarrhoea that main contain mucus, blood or pus, tummy pain and the need to frequently empty your bowels.
It is thought 145,000 people in the UK suffer from the painful condition.