If you have ever been in the produce section of a grocery store and started to feel an intense craving for vinegar, you are not alone.
Vinegar is one of those foods that many people seem to crave, but why?
The fact that your body craves something like this can be puzzling and make you feel out of sorts with yourself.
Once you find why you are doing it, then there will not be as much pressure on feeling bad about yourself all the time.
There are several explanations about why this might be, although please note this is a general post and should be read with a grain of salt. We will take a look at the two main reasons below, but please note that many reasons can explain a vinegar craving that are not listed here.
- The taste
- Candida, harmful stomach bacteria, and poor stomach health in general.
We’ll talk about the benefits of vinegar and address some common questions about craving salty foods like pickles too!
What Does It Mean When You Crave Vinegar?
Please keep in mind the top reasons you cave vinegar have more to do with things like genetics, cancer, and environmental influences. Notably, these things are out of control, so we’ll focus on the more simple, easier to understand reasons.
1 – Craving Taste
First off, why does your body crave vinegar at all? The taste is a primary reason.
The human body often craves a sour flavor to balance the flavors from something sweet or salty.
Think about fish and chips. It’s the added vinegar that gives a tart flavor to it.
Or think about ketchup on your fries or mayonnaise in your sandwich (If you live in the UK). Some people add vinegar to these, too.
When you are craving something like this, it is usually because of taste and not for any other reason.
So if you find yourself craving vinegar, make sure you are not going without other sources of tart flavors. Maybe there was no grapefruit juice available for breakfast!
You can also try orange juice if you’re craving something tart, or a fruit!
Or when you need some salt-free seasoning while cooking tofu scramble, think about adding something with vinegar, such as chopped pickles that were soaked in a vinegar brine, rather than more soy.
Many recipes also use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar, for example for salad dressings and marinades. These are made from wine, which is a natural acid.
Heck, many barbeque sauces use vinegar, too. And in ancient Rome they drank it mixed with honey to cure a sore throat!
Just think about your stereotypically ‘bad’ vinegar food, let’s say salt and vinegar chips. Don’t you usually crave the salt and vinegar chips because you’re tired of the regular chips?
Vinegar has been around for centuries in cooking and also as an ingredient in its own right. It really helps add a variety of flavors into food and you can easily be craving these flavors when you’re craving for vinegar.
And if you’re wondering about the health benefits, we’ll talk about those. But first let’s talk about the other less common reason you may crave vinegar.
2 – Candida and Stomach Bacteria
Candida is a type of fungus that can live in the human gut.
We now know that some people have too much Candida, and this will cause them to crave sugar which feeds it more!
This isn’t good because Candida eats away at your stomach lining and makes you feel bloated and sick.
It may also be why you’re feeling so tired all the time if it’s been destroying your nutrient absorption for some time.
The way to treat Candida overgrowth is with probiotics such as:
- Garlic cloves
- Apple cider vinegar
- Oregano oil
You could start by taking one teaspoon of each per day. Of course taking a tablespoon of pure vinegar won’t taste that good, but many people do swear by a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar after meals to help with digestion.
For me, I think apple cider vinegar is fine and can have definite health benefits.
But I am also very aware of the many claims that apple cider vinegar is a magic cure, and I just don’t think that’s true. While healthy, there is NO such thing as a ‘magic’ food that can magically solve all your digestive, blood sugar and weight loss problems!
Plus, apple cider vinegar won’t help you with the root causes of stomach bacteria!
The Causes of Bad Stomach Bacteria
If you’re having a persistent craving for vinegar it also could be due to bad stomach bacteria.
The root cause of bad stomach bacteria is stress and not having enough variety of foods in your diet, or a lack of probiotics.
We all have lots of stomach bacteria. But if you are too stressed, then your stomach can miss out on the good stomach bacteria while growing too much of the bad stomach bacteria.
Now everyone has some stress these days. But what really makes for a bad case of stomach bacteria is when you don’t eat an adequate amount of a variety of foods.
For example, you’ll want to have some meat and vegetables if you’re feeling stressed. Don’t just eat crackers, bagels and cereals all day long. Those are carbs and you aren’t getting any variety.
If you don’t eat enough variety, the bad stomach bacteria can take over your body! And stress will turn into a vicious cycle where it keeps hurting your stomach worse and worse.
The imbalance in the gut whether due to stress or bacteria is linked to many health problems including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and nausea.
If you’re stressed, also look out for other common signs like fatigue, gut inflammation, and stomach pains.
However, there are many other variables that impact low stomach acid and gut dysbiosis. In fact, as one person in the comment section notes
- Multiple kinds of cancer that can cause low stomach acid and gut dysbiosis.
- Simple endocrine disruptors can cause it.
- Infectious disease can cause it.
- Being elderly and having tissue and organs that are not functioning well any longer because of wear and tear can cause it.
- Being bottle-fed instead of breastfed as a baby can cause it.
- Natural disorders that we haven’t even discovered yet that are inborn or genetic can cause it.
Is It Good to Eat Vinegar?
You might also wonder if it’s good for you to eat vinegar, or drink too!
The answer is a resounding yes!
Remember, the most likely reason you’re craving vinegar is for the taste. Vinegar goes well with lots of dishes and it has many health benefits too!
- Use apple cider vinegar in salad dressings
- Drink a teaspoon of raw unpasteurized vinegar each day
- Add vinegars to dips for more flavor and health benefits
- Pop some apple cider vinegar gummies (if you aren’t a fan of the sharp vinegar taste)
- Rinse your mouth with an ounce of grain or white wine vinegar mixed with warm water when feeling inflammation, allergies, morning sickness or respiratory problems
- Vinegar can partially explain pickles cravings!
Here are some of the health benefits of vinegar:
- Helps keep blood sugar levels stable
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels, lowers high triglycerides
- Fights bad bacteria and Candida in the stomach (which is a common cause of acid reflux)
- Helps promote stomach acid and gut health
- Cures food poisoning from salmonella or E. coli by killing these off with its acidic properties
If you’re wondering how you can incorporate more vinegar into your diet here are some tips:
- On salads
- As an ingredient in marinades for meat dishes
- Sour cream sauce made with milk, yogurt, garlic and onion juice!
- And of course don’t forget about pickles! You can make your own cheap and tasty variety at home using cucumbers you buy locally
- You can also drink the pickle juice in containers too. I do this and enjoy it! Seriously!
We’ll talk about pickles down below but let’s also talk about if drinking vinegar is bad for you, which is another common question that comes up.
Is Drinking Vinegar Bad for You?
No! Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are present in vinegar which means that drinking it won’t harm your health.
Don’t think craving vinegar is a weird thing. We all get food cravings for pickles and other foods that contain vinegar in them.
Here are some safe ways you can drink vinegar:
- Add a dash to your water bottle
- Mix in with smoothies or salad dressings
- Drink apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water before and after eating
- Use it as an ingredient for many different recipes
If you’re worried about the taste, start off by adding a little bit at a time until you find your perfect balance.
Or just try a gummy 🙂
You can also add fruit juice or honey if the flavor isn’t palatable enough on its own.
Of course, there is definitely such a thing as drinking too much. If you’re constantly craving vinegar there is most likely some other issue going on here.
If you add vinegar into your diet and you still get powerful food cravings, then talk with your doctor. There could be something off with your blood sugar. Your doctor can run some blood glucose tests to give you more info.
For most people their craving for vinegar is because they are missing out on the complementary flavor that vinegar provides.
Get this flavor whether through wine vinegar, barbeque sauce or a dash of vinegar and this should help 🙂
Why do I crave vinegary foods?
There are many foods that are great with vinegar sprinkled on top
- Kabobs with roasted veggies with a dash of vinegar
- a perfect hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of vinegar and pepper
- homemade potato chips dipped in vinegar
- kale salad with a vinegar-based dressing
These are just some examples of delicious foods that are enhanced by the addition of vinegar.
But why do I sometimes find myself craving these vinegary foods?
The answer is most likely flavor!
Finally, let’s talk about pickles because pickles and vinegar often go hand in hand!
Why Do I Crave Vinegar Pickle Juice?
Pickles get made by adding cucumbers to vinegar – it’s a perfect combination!
I will sometimes take a swig of pickle juice even while there are still pickles in the jar! I usually find my craving for pickle juice gets satisfied after this 🙂
The acid in the pickle juice also has health benefits which include:
- boosting your immune system
- killing harmful bacteria and fungus that can cause infections or illness.
- containing electrolytes, potassium, calcium and magnesium too!
It’s possible you’re dehydrated too. Pickle juice contains many electrolytes so if you’re dehydrated it makes sense to crave pickles.
Vinegar Craving Meaning – Conclusion
When you crave vinegar, it may be a sign that your stomach is not in balance. It could also mean that there’s an underlying issue lurking somewhere else. For example,
When you’re stressed (or not eating enough variety) your stomach may grow bad bacteria and that can be why you crave vinegar.
Vinegar can help to restore the gut and improve digestion for those who are Candida-positive or have bacteria overgrowth issues.
Please keep in mind though, the main reason people crave vinegar has more to do with taste!
In fact, you might not be having enough variety in your diet so that’s why you’re craving a vinegar taste, to get more foods in your body!