Balsamic vinegar has quickly become one of our favorite flavors in dressings and sauces. Like other varieties of vinegars it also provides several health benefits. Traditional balsamic vinegar is made of Trebbiano grapes from Modena, Italy, where the product originated. The word balsamic denotes "balm," which translates from Italian as "healing" and "soothing" medicine.
Balsamic vinegar offers a number of health properties because it is derived from nutrient-rich grape juice. This fruit vinegar contains antioxidant polyphenols, which may help lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels in your body. Balsamic vinegar is abundant in potassium, and calcium. Additionally, it is fat-free and has small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin and iron. This vinegar is distinctively dark in color, unless it's white balsamic vinegar, and is bitter but sweet in taste.
The book "The Healing Powers of Vinegar" discusses the effects of acetic acid, a key compound found in balsamic vinegar and other varieties. Acetic acid helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrate foods as they are broken down in the body, helping to balance your blood sugar levels and reduce hunger. It also improves fat break-down for more energy. Hence, drinking about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar a day, along with a balanced daily diet can aid in weight loss.
A study at Arizona State University found that balsamic and other types of vinegar may help reduce the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes. According to the study, vinegar helps to balance blood sugar levels. This improves the ability of the hormone insulin to transport sugar into the cells where it can be burned for energy. Individuals with diabetes may find that drinking balsamic vinegar as a tonic, in addition to their prescribed treatment, helps to better control blood sugar levels.
Although vinegar is acidic, it has an alkalizing effect in the body. Drinking about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar may help relieve occasional heartburn or acid indigestion. Other uses for balsamic vinegar include easing chest congestion with a hot water and vinegar steam inhalation, and relieving a minor sore throat by gargling with hot water and honey.
- "The Healing Powers of Vinegar"; Cal Orey; 2000
- Arizona State University- Knowledge Enterprise Development, Research Stories: A Spoonful of Vinegar Helps the Sugar Go Down:rel="nofollow"
- The Vinegar Instituterel="nofollow"
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.