Health and Balsamic Vinegar

After making a huge splash from the culinary landscape over the last few decades, balsamic vinegar has become a popular and adored ingredient all around the world. From chefs utilizing it in complex dishes to individuals taking it for the many holistic properties, balsamic vinegar is a lot more than your average kitchen ingredient.

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

Dating back over 1,000 years into Modena, Italy, where balsamic vinegar was originally used as a tonic and contributed to people importance as a token of honor, it has become wildly popular around the world because of its distinctively bold flavor profiles and touch of sweetness.

Though most often famous for its use in salad dressings, balsamic vinegar can be used in everything from marinades to soups.

Classified as a wine vinegar (even though it is not made from wine), balsamic vinegar is actually generated from sweet grape pressings before they're given the chance to ferment into wine. After experiencing a transformative journey through the manufacturing process, balsamic vinegar becomes the darkly colored, concentrated syrup that we know it as today.

How is Balsamic Vinegar Made?

Similar to wine and other craft-intensive goods, balsamic vinegar typically undergoes the same general manufacturing procedure. Where they differ is in the quality of the grapes used, kinds of aging barrels, and the amount of time aged. In fact, the amount of time aged is one of the greatest contributing factors to both taste and price. It is for this reason that some traditional balsamic vinegars can go for as much as $250 an ounce, while others can be bought for as little as $5 for a 12-ounce bottle.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from Lambrusco or Trebbiano grape pressings that are sweet in flavor. Once the pressings are collected, they're boiled down into a concentrated syrup and left to ferment naturally for a few weeks. When the vinegar has fermented, it is transferred into wooden barrels to commence the remainder of the 12-year aging process. While this is the minimum amount of time for traditional balsamic vinegar, others may only be aged for a few months, or for as long as 100 years ago

Throughout the aging process, the balsamic vinegar is transferred into barrels crafted from different wood so it can take on special flavor profiles. Once the aging process is done and most of the liquid has evaporated, the final concentrated product undergoes inspection before being carefully bottled and prepared for enjoyment.

Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar1. It Is a Healthy Alternative for Diabetics

Because diabetics have to watch the kinds of food they eat because of differing glycemic reactions, it can greatly restrict the choices they have at home and at restaurants. Balsamic vinegar is classified as a low glycemic food and has actually been proven to help prevent blood sugar spikes after eating. One study found that insulin-resistant test areas experienced blood sugar plateaus for as long as five hours after swallowing balsamic vinegar with their meal.

This is great for anyone who have diabetes because it adds a lot of flavor and just comes in at around 14 calories per tablespoon and less than 3 grams of carbohydrates. With just a couple of portions of balsamic vinegar, you can enhance meals by adding a tiny diversity and assist your own body's blood sugar response stay balanced from meal to meal.

It Can Assist With Cholesterol Levels

With more and more people suffering from elevated cholesterol levels each year, a great deal of the balsamic vinegar research has been focused on its own cholesterol-fighting properties and ability to help individuals maintain healthy levels.

The abundance of antioxidants, polyphenols, in particular, have been demonstrated to inhibit LDL oxidation and prevent poisonous cells from raising LDL levels. Though not enough to be a standalone treatment, balsamic vinegar has been recognized as a great addition to any efforts to reduce cholesterol.

Another study also found that balsamic vinegar may help reduce atherosclerosis risk factors when consumed on a regular basis because of its natural cholesterol lowering properties. As one of the leading factors that contribute to the growth of atherosclerosis, balsamic vinegar is great for the ones that are far more at risk or wanting to take preventative measures.

Digestive and Immune System Health

When you consume food, the job of digestion falls to the stomach acids and bacteria present in the gut. If your digestive system is in bad shape, not only are you going to have a harder time digesting foods, but you'll also be depriving your body of all the nourishment because of decreased absorption.

Some of the main active chemicals found in balsamic vinegar is acetic acid, which is known to contain probiotic strains that keep the human body's digestive system in good health.

Because it can help to create a healthy atmosphere for good bacteria in the gut, your immune system is also likely to get a boost, better preparing it to fight off illnesses. Lastly, balsamic vinegar can also influence the activity of pepsin, an enzyme that helps with the breakdown of protein so that it can be absorbed by the body easier.

Weight Loss Aid

Representing an industry that generates over $60 billion annually in the United States alone, weight loss is a popular subject of discussion. Vinegars have been known for their weight loss properties, and balsamic vinegar offers its own unique benefits as well. The range of probiotic chemicals within balsamic vinegar can actually assist with the feeling of fullness, preventing the impulse to overeat at lunch or indulge in a late night snack.

It's also worth mentioning that balsamic vinegar gives you the freedom to add more flavor to your meals without the use of high-calorie, unhealthy alternatives such as butter, mayonnaise, and animal fats. Experiment with different cuisines and dishes to find fascinating way