Balsamic vinegar is a popular ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, and other foods. It is has a distinctive flavor that is described as bold, tart, and complex. It is a very dark, concentrated, and intensely flavored vinegar originating in Modena, Italy some 900 years ago, made entirely or partially from grape juice.
It is simmered to make a concentrate, allowed to ferment, mature for a minimum of 12 years in barrels of progressively decreasing size, made from different woods in order to impart different flavors. The outcome is a dark, rich and syrupy vinegar to be used very sparingly.
It contains very few calories, is low in sugar, and is fat-free. There are potential health benefits associated with balsamic vinegar. It needs additional research to understand the benefits, but you can feel good about making balsamic vinegar a part of a healthful diet. Here are some health benefits of this popular vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar helps regulate blood sugar when taken as part of a meal. One review found that balsamic vinegar has an antiglycemic impact when consumed, meaning a person's blood sugar will spike drastically after a meal. Balsamic vinegar may help lower cholesterol due to its antioxidants that help block toxic cells in the body that can raise cholesterol levels.
Acetic acid in balsamic vinegar contains strains of probiotics that aid digestion. It can help encourage good gut health and digestion when supporting overall immune function. The probiotics can also make a person feel full longer. Some research indicates that individuals may have fewer calories throughout the day when they add vinegar for their morning meal.
Other health claims have been made for balsamic. Some research suggested that regularly adding balsamic vinegar to foods could help reduce high blood pressure over time. It can also treat congestion by simply adding a few drops of vinegar to steaming water and breathe at the vapor. It can help reduce acid reflux or heartburn. It may promote blood circulation as balsamic vinegar is derived from grapes that may help prevent cardiac disease by preventing platelet build-up in blood vessels.