Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar
"Balsamico," the Italian name for balsamic vinegar, is thought to be related to the word "balm," connoting a healing potion, according to a "New York Times" article from 1999. Centuries-old Italian writings on balsamico describe it as both a tonic and digestive, as well as a condiment, says "The Times." Today, balsamic vinegar is still used as a folk cure for certain ailments; according to The Vinegar Institute, 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar has been said to help relieve heartburn and indigestion.
Balsamic vinegar retains most of the nutrients present in the parent grapes and comprises nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium in adequate amounts. Thus, incorporating balsamic vinegar in the daily diet will benefit one immensely.
Low in Calories
With balsamic vinegar, a little goes a long way. Use 1 tablespoon or less when adding balsamic vinegar to salad dressings, sauces or even soups. A 1-tablespoon serving of balsamic vinegar has only 14 calories. The same size serving also contains a negligible amount of fat and less than 3 grams each of carbohydrates, including sugar. To keep your salads low-fat and low in calories, consider dressing your vegetables with only balsamic vinegar. You get the flavor punch with less fat and calories than if you used an oil-based salad dressing.
Normalizes Blood Pressure
According to a study published in “Medscape General Medicine” in 2006, researchers found that balsamic vinegar reduced the hardening of arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Because of this, balsamic vinegar also lowers and stabilizes blood pressure levels. Researchers in the study found that those who regularly consumed vinegar exhibited lower systolic blood pressure levels.
Stabilizes Cholesterol Levels
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol causes hardened, clogged and blocked arteries. In a 2010 study published in the “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology,” researchers found that the polyphenols in balsamic vinegar limited the ability of LDL cholesterol to oxidize. This reduced the amount of damage done by LDL cholesterol on your body’s cells.
Keeps Your Blood Glucose Levels Steady
Foods are categorized as low or high on the glycemic index, based on how drastic an effect they have on your blood sugar levels. Foods low on the glycemic index will not cause spikes in your blood glucose levels, limiting the likelihood that you will experience an energy rush and crash, such as what you might experience from eating large quantities of refined sugar or starches. Balsamic vinegar is low on the glycemic index.
Balsamic vinegar is rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that helps boost pepsin activity. Pepsin is an enzyme that is secreted into the stomach to aid in the digestion process. This enzyme works to break down proteins that are consumed and turn them into amino acids, which helps speed up your metabolism. The polyphenols found in balsamic vinegar help protect your body from various diseases and against damage to your cells.
The grapes that are used to create balsamic vinegar contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that works as an antioxidant. When combined with vitamin C, quercetin gives your immune system a boost in an effort to fight cancer and a variety of other infectious diseases. Quercetin is also effective in limiting inflammations.
If you are concerned with your weight and want to shed a few pounds, balsamic vinegar works as a secret weapon. Consuming balsamic vinegar keeps you full by increasing how long it takes for your stomach to empty. It also works as a natural appetite suppressant. By using balsamic vinegar as a marinade or salad dressing instead of other options, you consume fewer calories. The weight loss abilities of your body are also improved thanks to the potassium, iron and calcium found in balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar has a number of other benefits that make adding it to your diet a smart choice. Balsamic vinegar has a number of antiviral and antibacterial properties, allowing it to help heal wounds and infections. Balsamic vinegar can also help control diabetes, prevent fatigue and anemia, reduce cholesterol, strengthen bones and slow the signs of aging.