Balsamic vinegar has recently gained popularity and is most commonly used as a salad dressing. This flavorful vinegar is known to have a distinct flavour which is often described as complex, tart, and bold.
Recent studies have shown that balsamic vinegar has a number of health benefits – from aiding weight loss to improving an individual’s complexion.
Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar generally includes the following health benefits:
Promotes Blood Circulation
Studies have shown that consuming grapes may prevent cardiac disease as it prevents building up of platelets in blood vessels. Gourmet vinegar contains both grapes and polyphenols which promotes blood circulation.
Reduces Acid Reflux
Individuals who used balsamic vinegar found that it significantly reduced heartburn and acid reflux.
Congestion can be easily treated by consuming balsamic vinegar. Just mix a few drops of vinegar to steaming hot water and breathe in the vapour.
Recent research (although involving rats) suggested that adding balsamic vinegar regularly to your foods over time can aid in lowering high blood pressure.
Balsamic vinegar claims to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties – all of which make it ideal to treat wounds.
The probiotics present in balsamic vinegar make an individual feel ‘full’ for longer periods of time. This, in turn, results in the consumption of lesser calories throughout the day.
The antioxidants present in vinegar helps in blocking toxic cells that are responsible for raising cholesterol levels. Therefore, it aids in preventing heart diseases by reducing cholesterol.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Balsamic vinegar also contains acetic acid – an active compound that helps in promoting digestion and gut health along with supporting the overall immune function.
Reduces Blood Sugar
According to this review, an individual’s blood sugar spikes less drastically after a meal (if that meal contains balsamic vinegar).
Balsamic vinegar is rich in antioxidants, acetic acid, and antimicrobial compounds that over time help in improving complexion. Clear vinegars are generally applied to the skin to treat acne.
7 Lesser Known Facts about Balsamic Vinegar
- It contains minerals that prevent several bone diseases like osteoporosis, lower high cholesterol and blood pressure, treat fatigue and anaemia, and also prevent strokes.
- It contains enzymes for poor metabolism and digestive disorders.
- Aids in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches.
- It contains amino acids that help in slowing down the process of ageing.
- It is also a natural appetite suppressant.
- Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Applications of Balsamic Vinegar
Also known as ‘black gold’ it can be used for the following purposes apart from a salad dressing:
Top up strawberries with a few drops of intense velvety vinegar and make a strawberry-balsamic vinegar sauce for desserts such as Panna Cotta.
It is recommended that only real balsamic lovers try vanilla ice-cream topped with a few drops of vinegar.
Older balsamic vinegar is a gourmet’s dream come true when consumed with cheese.
Fish and Meat Finishing/Sauces
This one’s for you if you don’t have the time to prepare sauces. Older and intense balsamic vinegar doesn’t need to be reduced and several drops are sufficient for the last touch of meat or fish dishes.
Olive oil (extra virgin) combined with balsamic vinegar and topped with your favourite seasoning makes for a perfectly healthy snack. You can consume this dip with vegetables of your choice such as celery or carrots.
Do you know what you get when you combine olive oil, pepper, salt and balsamic vinegar? An excellent meat marinade!
How to Tell if it’s Real Balsamic Vinegar?
Authentic balsamic vinegar is expensive but that doesn’t mean you need a PhD to pick the right kind. Identifying premium balsamic vinegar is easier than picking vegetables. No kidding.
All you have to do is read the label on the bottle. If it contains only one balsamic ingredient i.e. grape must, then it’s real. On the other hand, if it contains any other ingredient such as brown sugar or caramel, you know it’s not what it claims to be.