A pungent vinegar made from sour red wine, and historically favored by the French, red wine vinegar is good to have around if you're concerned about your waistline, worried about your blood sugar levels, would like to improve how your food tastes, or just want to expand your culinary repertoire.
Red wine vinegar may help you keep your blood sugar levels in check. According to a study conducted by Carol S. Johnston, PhD, RD, and Cindy A. Gaas, BS, vinegar eaten with a normal meal slowed the body's response to a carbohydrate-heavy meal. This worked for healthy individuals, and individuals with insulin resistance, a precursor to Type II diabetes. Johnston and Gaas reported that more research is needed to figure out exactly how this works.
Red wine vinegar is a good way to add flavor to foods without adding calories. One tbsp. of vinegar—more than you'd probably want to use on a salad—contains 3 calories and no fat, according to the Calorielab database. Compare that with Caesar salad dressing, which has 78 calories and 8.5g of fat per tbsp.
Red wine vinegar is acidic, and acid is particularly important in the culinary world. Acid is the only food additive other than salt which can actually make foods taste more like themselves, according to Thomas Keller, owner of French Landry Restaurant and author of the cookbook “Ad Hoc at Home.” Keller shared his culinary insights with Lynn Roseto Casper, host of NPR's weekend radio show “The Splendid Table” during the December 11, 2009 broadcast.
You can use red wine vinegar to punch up the flavor of your favorite healthy foods. For example, a vinaigrette for a salad will help pull out the flavor of tomatoes and bitter greens, so that you won't need high-fat cream-based salad dressings. You can also make red wine vinegar reduction to serve with chicken or steak, so that you won't need a butter-filled pan sauce.
If you enjoy cooking, red wine vinegar can add a whole new dimension to your dishes. The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends making seasoned vinegar at home, using herbs, fruits, and spices. CSU states that wine vinegar goes well with other robust flavors, such as garlic and tarragon. If you decide to use garlic, make sure to refrigerate your vinegar, or it may grow botulism spores, according to CSU.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.