Used primarily as a condiment, balsamic vinegar can be drizzled on salads, berries, and pasta dishes to increase not only the flavor but also the nutritional value of any meal. It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols that are incredibly good for your health, and it’s low in sodium and has no fat.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from the reduction of a white grape which originates from Modena in Italy. Its use dates back as far as 1046 A.D and it is highly valued by gourmet chefs for its velvety color and rich flavor today. It ages in wooden barrels for 3-12 years and ranges in fluidity and taste accordingly.
Here are 12 health benefits of balsamic vinegar:
1..Promotes fat loss
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains only 14 calories and no fat, which makes it the perfect addition to any meal for maximizing flavor while minimizing empty calories. It’s also a great source of calcium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, which has been proven to boost metabolism and increase fat loss. Some studies have also suggested that balsamic vinegar can promote the feeling of satiation by subtly suppressing appetite, which leads to natural weight loss.
2. Improves digestion
Balsamic vinegar activates the production of pepsin in the digestive tract, which is an enzyme that helps to break protein down into absorbable amino acids. In Italy, it is also commonly used as a digestive aid to reduce cramps, flatulence, and indigestion, and can be taken mixed with a bit of water or directly in one spoonful. The polyphenols in balsamic vinegar also help to improve the absorption efficiency of the intestine, which helps to maximize the nutritional benefit of every meal.
3. Keeps the immune system strong
Because balsamic vinegar is made from grapes, it is full of antioxidants and polyphenols, which has been proven to reduce free-radical damage and strengthen the immune system. It also contains a bioflavonoid known as quercetin which helps to fight immune deficiencies.
4. Lowers cholesterol
In a 2010 study, researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Environmental Science for Human Life discovered that the polyphenols in balsamic vinegar reduced the amount of damage that cholesterol, particularly the bad kind, could do to the cardiovascular system. These polyphenols were proven to inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which helps to prevent arteries from clogging and hardening. The findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.
5. Reduces the Risk of Hypertension
In 2006, researchers at Arizona State University conducted a study on laboratory rats to see whether balsamic vinegar had any effect on blood pressure. The perfect balance of magnesium, potassium, and sodium proved to be an effective elixir for reducing blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) can cause heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the world.
“Since balsamic vinegar reduces atherosclerosis and hardening of arteries, it can also help normalize your blood pressure levels,” researchers said. The findings were published in the Medscape General Medicine review.
6. Prevents cancer
Balsamic vinegar is packed with powerful antioxidants that have been proven to reduce the oxidation of healthy cells, which helps to inhibit the development and growth of cancer cells. The polyphenols protect
tissues and cells in the body from free-radical damage as well as repairing any unhealthy cells that form.
7. Balances blood sugar
Balsamic vinegar is a low glycaemic index (GI) condiment, which helps to prevent blood sugar spikes and imbalances. Research has shown that balsamic vinegar can also help to improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics, which reduces symptoms and allows for easier management of blood sugar balance. It does, however, contain some sugar and should be used in moderation in diabetic cases.
Compounds known as pepsin and acetic acid in balsamic vinegar have proven to be vital for maintaining strong and healthy bones because it improves the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. Balsamic vinegar contains highly absorbable calcium, which helps to keep the skeletal system healthy and reduces the risk of fractures, joint pain, and arthritis.
Balsamic vinegar has both anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, which makes it an excellent remedy for treating wounds and infections. The high acid content helps to inhibit fungal growth and yeast infections, which helps to relieve the symptoms and heal the body from within.
Italians have believed in the anti-aging power of balsamic vinegar for centuries, using it to maintain healthy skin and hair while simultaneously boosting energy. Research has shown that balsamic vinegar contains catechins and antioxidants that help to slow the process of aging by keeping cells healthy, vibrant, and young. The intense burst of polyphenols and quercetin helps to reduce the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and hair loss. It also contains a small amount of sugar and electrolytes, which helps to subtly increase energy and rids the body of excess toxins.
11. Treats heartburn and acid reflux
Heartburn and acid reflux are caused by having too little acid in your stomach, which produces a burning sensation in the lower area of the chest and esophagus. Adding one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to a glass of water before and after a meal will help to increase the amount of acid in the stomach, which will prevent or reduce the symptoms of heartburn/acid reflux.
12. Mineral rich
For a condiment, balsamic vinegar is extremely rich in minerals, containing small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, copper, and manganese. Minerals are an important part of a healthy diet because they assist the proper functioning of every bodily function and help to keep cells and tissues in a healthy condition. Adding balsamic vinegar to any meal or drinking a tablespoon of it with water before any meal with help to increase the number of minerals in your diet without any extra effort.