Cauliflower Moment: Balsamic is more than just a dip for my bread…it is a potent blood pressure and sugar stabilizer…that just happens to taste good on bread, too!
We never would have guessed that balsamic vinegar was first of all delicious! (that we discovered at our first balsamic tasting of the REAL stuff) and second of all amazingly good for our blood, glucose levels, cholesterol and weight loss! (that we discovered after curiosity set in). In our previous article we reviewed how to locate and identify REAL Balsamic Vinegar. In this article we will tell you why the cost is worth it…
What are the health benefits?
Balsamic vinegar offers a number of health benefits because it is derived from nutrient-rich grape juice. Balsamic vinegar is abundant in potassium, and calcium. Additionally it has small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin and iron. Here’s a list of all the other ways it makes us healthier…
Balsamic vinegar is beneficial for stabilizing your blood cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, is the harmful cholesterol that blocks arteries, causing hardening and clogging. Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Environmental Science for Human Life looked into effects of balsamic vinegar on cholesterol. In 2010, researchers published their findings in the “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.” In the study, researchers observed that polyphenols from balsamic vinegar inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Balsamic vinegar inhibited LDL oxidation and macrophage accumulation to a greater extent than rice wine vinegar. This reduced the amount of damage done by LDL cholesterol on your body’s cells. Drizzling balsamic vinegar on your salad at lunch can be helpful in keeping your cholesterol within a healthy range.
In 2006, researchers at Arizona State University looked into vinegar benefits on heart health and published their review in “Medscape General Medicine. Researchers explain that regular vinegar consumption has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure by as much as 20 millimeters of mercury, or 20 mmHg. Balsamic vinegar reduced the hardening of arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, and the hardening of arteries thus normalizing blood pressure levels.
Balsamic vinegar is low on the glycemic index and thus keeps you feeling full longer without causing any insulin spikes. 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. 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.
According to studies reviewed in “The Healing Powers of Vinegar”, the acetic acid found in balsamic vinegar helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrate foods as they are broken down in the body, helps to balance your blood sugar levels and reduce hunger. In a double-blind Japanese experiment, three groups of obese people drank a 500 ml drink (about a pint) containing either 30 ml (about 1 tablespoon) of vinegar, 15 ml, or no vinegar daily for 12 weeks. Those whose drinks contained vinegar had lower BMI, less visceral fat, and lost more weight than those whose drinks didn’t contain vinegar.
Read more: Vinegar: Secret to Fast Weight Loss Best news yet? It also improves fat break-down for more energy. Drinking about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar a day, along with a balanced daily diet can aid in weight loss.
Balsamic vinegar is great for body’s digestion. It boosts the activity of pepsin, an enzyme that breaks protein down into smaller amino acids that can be more easily absorbed by the body which improves the bodies metabolism. Acetic acid found in balsamic vinegar inhibits the activity of several carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, including amylase, sucrase, maltase and lactase. As a result, when vinegar is present in the intestines, some sugars and starches temporarily pass through without being digested, so they have less of an impact on blood sugar and body fat accumulation.
Rich in minerals, balsamic vinegar contains 7 percent of the recommended daily requirement of calcium, 10 percent iron, 8 percent magnesium, 5 percent phosphorus, 8 percent potassium and 17 percent manganese.
Quercetin and Vitamin C, included in the grapes forming balsamic vinegar, strengthen your immune system and fight cancer and other infections. Balsamic vinegar also has the antioxidants Polyphenol and Melanoidin that help protect against cancer due to minimizing damage from free radicals.
8. Relieves heartburn and indigestion:
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.
9. Relieves chest congestion/ sore throat:
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 balsamic, warm water and honey.
Polyphenol is an antioxidant found in concentrated amounts in balsamic vinegar. This antioxidant improves the immune system and guards against harmful free radicals which can damage cells in the body. Another element found in balsamic vinegar is a bioflovanoid, called quercetin, which also has antioxidant properties and helps fight immunity deficiencies. A third element is Melanoidin. It has been known to help free radical scavenging as well as chelating excess iron ions from the blood.
How do we use it?
- Dressings: Check out our recipe section for many options for ways to use it as dressings on salads or vegetables
- Drinks: What? Yes. It makes amazing drinks. Our favorite is mixing the Fig or Traditional Balsamic with Pellegrino water (you can also add a few drops of Stevia if you like a sweeter drink)
- Marinades: So good on chicken, steak and salmon. Adds more than just taste, too! Cooking marinaded meats cuts the carcinogenic properties (AGES) that charring develops on meats.
- Ketchup: So good mixed in with your favorite ketchup. Adds a zing of flavor that enhances the foods.
- Straight Up: After meals this is a great way to cleanse your pallet and settle your stomach. It not only tastes amazing when you buy the real thing, but it also helps digest foods and balances your blood sugar!