Many are concerned about nutrition and good health habits, often looking for something extra to help.

Vinegar has been said to have many benefits, from weight loss to glowing skin, but is it truly a magic elixir? A nutrition specialist explains useful information about vinegar.

So before you add it to your diet, you need to understand what the active ingredient in vinegar is.

"All vinegar is made from wine or apple cider and fermented by bacteria. So there's not a whole lot of extra steps in there. The bacteria ferment the sugars and make acidic acid. If you include it in a healthy meal pattern, it's great, but it's not a magic bullet,” says Eileen Fitzpatrick, DrPH, and chair of the Nutrition Science Department at Sage Colleges.

Vinegar has been touted as a health aid since the 1800s says, Fitzpatrick. While apple cider vinegar is capturing most of the attention nowadays, Fitzpatrick says to select the vinegar you prefer. The benefits are the same across the board.

One such benefit: It's moderately effective in controlling blood sugar levels.

"There's some evidence that the acidic acid interferes with the enzyme that breaks down starch in the gut, which make it a little more like fiber and that may be why you don't get that rise in blood sugar after a starchy meal," says Fitzpatrick.

A salad dressed with oil and vinegar, eaten with that starchy meal, is what Fitzpatrick recommends. This way you're also adding more vegetables to your diet.

Vinegar consumption may also help, although minimally, with weight loss.

"It was a Japanese study, and it did show that 2 to 4 pounds of weight loss over 12 weeks," says Fitzpatrick.

Because vinegar is an acid, don't take it straight. One to two tablespoons in eight ounces of water once a day is sufficient, and you need to drink it along with a starchy meal for blood sugar control.

Which brings us back to Fitzpatrick's recommendation; use vinegar on a salad and choose the type you prefer.

"I think there's no point in doing it unless it tastes good," says Fitzpatrick.

Versatile vinegar is useful for cleaning and disinfecting too. Many use it for preserving food because it’s thought to kill E. coli.

So if it doesn’t fit into your taste palette, there are many other benefits beyond a healthy diet.