Balsamic vinegar is one of the world’s oldest and best condiments. From historical records, we know that fermented grape must, the earliest version of balsamic vinegar known to man, was used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to sweeten their food. During the 14th century, the Italian House of Este—specifically Dukes of Ferrera, Modena, and Reggio—came to specialize in this sweet vinegar and made a considerable fortune from it!
We know it tastes wonderful; a single drop causes a heady combination of tart and sweet to explode on your palate. One taste of good balsamic vinegar, dark or white, and you’ll be hooked.
But did you know that in addition to its wonderful flavor balsamic vinegar is healthy for you in several ways that have been documented and tested? Read on for a list of this wonderful food’s health benefits.
We’ve heard the word antioxidants, and we know that they’re good for us, but what exactly do they do? Antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage caused by the oxidation process. Healthier cells run smoother and throw off their waste properly, leaving behind a cleaner system that functions well.
Balsamic vinegar, like red wine and grape juice, is high in polyphenol antioxidants. These antioxidants
- Help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol,
- Keep arterial plaque from forming,
- Help improve your blood pressure,
- Repair cell damage, and
- Help improve your immune system.
In your pancreas you have a group of cells called the islets of Langerhans. And in your islets of Langerhans, you have a particular cell type, beta-cells, that specialize in producing insulin. In other words, beta-cells are responsible for your pancreas doing its number one job: producing insulin to handle the sugars that come through your digestive system.
In 2012, a study showed that balsamic vinegar improves the function of beta-cells and raises the level of insulin they produce. Considering more than 100 million people in America have diabetes or pre-diabetes, this is a huge benefit to making balsamic vinegar part of your diet.
Balsamic vinegar can help with satiation and weight loss as well. All vinegars contain acetic acid, a compound that contains strains of active probiotics. Those probiotics help you feel full when you eat, plus they digest slower so you stay feeling full longer. As noted above, balsamic vinegar also aids beta-cells in producing insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar—often a key to successful weight loss.
And, on top of all that, balsamic vinegar is deliciously fat-free and low calorie.
Too Good to be True
You know that old saying, If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Well, in this case, that saying is absolutely wrong! Balsamic vinegar actually does all the healthy things we’ve discussed here and tastes amazing besides.
There’s a reason it’s been a sought after condiment for thousands of years. It’s a spectacular food that is worth every penny you put into it. Find a couple of favorite balsamic vinegar flavors—dark or white—and keep them around the house. They make marvelous additions to your favorite foods, drinks, and to your health.