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Balsamic vinegar – Nutritional value and Medicinal uses

Balsamic vinegar, thought to have originated from Italy, is a dark and immensely flavored vinegar made from grape must. It is believed to have a number of medicinal uses ranging from lowering cholesterol, aiding weight loss, reducing blood pressure, to aiding digestion. Balsamic vinegar is a very popular ingredient in dishes all over the world, with its use in salad dressing and marinades liked and appreciated by many.

According to the USDA, balsamic vinegar per 100 g contains no fat including saturated fat and trans fat. It contains 17 g of carbohydrates, 0.5 g of protein, 112 mg of potassium, and just 23 mg of sodium. It also contains magnesium and calcium in significant amounts.

balsamic-vinegar-medicinal

Below is a quick list of some of the medicinal uses / health benefits of Balsamic vinegar:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Aids weight loss
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Aids digestion
  • Skin friendly
  • Heals wounds

Lowers cholesterol

Balsamic vinegar has been proven to reduce blood cholesterol level. Among its therapeutic applications, its use in lowering cholesterol level is one of the most documented medicinal application. Thus, the consumption of this vinegar can be a wonderful addition to those willing to lower or maintain their cholesterol levels.

A research carried out in 2010 (1) showed how high-dose vinegar could cause significant reduction in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), oxidized-LDL (ox-LDL), total cholesterol (TC), malondialdehyde (MDA) and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) in comparison with hypercholesterolemic diet.

Another research carried out in 2010 (2) re-affirmed the effect of balsamic vinegar in cholesterol regulation. The study showed how the abundant polyphenol contents of this vinegar was able to inhibit LDL oxidation and oxidized LDL-induced foam cell formation by decreasing the expression of scavenger receptors.

Aids digestion

Balsamic vinegar contains acetic acid, which contains strains of some bacteria (probiotic). These probiotics have been found to aid digestion and promote gut health. Polyphenols present in this vinegar also stimulates the production of pepsin, which helps break down proteins into smaller amino acid components. In general, pepsin helps improve the body’s metabolism.

Reduce blood pressure

Some recent scientific claims have made it known that balsamic vinegar has the potential to reduce blood pressure. If you are one of those always looking to stay healthy – especially heart-wise, then adding this vinegar to your salads and marinades wouldn’t cost a thing. Just 1-2 tea spoons will do.

A study was carried out in the year 2001 (3) to check the anti-hypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on hypertensive rats. The results revealed significant reduction in the blood pressure of rats treated with acetic acid/vinegar.

Aids weight loss

Balsamic vinegar is very low in calories, with a tablespoon providing only about 14 calories. It also contain small amounts of carbohydrates with little or not fat content. If you are one of those keeping an eye on your weight, using this vinegar in your salad dressings in place of most popular oil-based dressing can help reduce the total amount of fat and calories you take, while still getting the desired flavor.

A research conducted in 2016 (4) evaluated some of the health benefits of the vinegar family. The rich composition of its polyphenols and some other active components were linked with its anti-obesity effect among others. Moreover, this vinegar is said to contain probiotics, which can create a feeling of satiety.

Whatever the case may be, there are many scientific publications online about the effects of vinegar against weight loss, and you have every reason to include it in your weight loss plans in order to attain your goals.

Heals wounds

This is an age-long folk healers practice. Balsamic vinegar has been used for many decades by such healers against many conditions, with wound and infections a popular application. Using this vinegar topically on wounds is believed to hasten the process of wound healing. Even the legendary Hippocrates (c. 420 BC) used vinegar to manage wounds.

Lowers blood sugar

There have been many researches on the antiglycemic effect of this vinegar surfacing online in recent years. A study worthy of mention was the one carried out by Carol S. Johnston, PhD, RD and Cindy A. Gaas, BS, where they evaluated the medicinal uses of vinegar, while keeping a focus on its antiglycemic effect. Most experiments showed promising results. It is believed that balsamic vinegar can improve a person’s sensitivity to insulin, thus, paving way for a better insulin absorption and reduced risk for diabetes.

About the author

Abbati

Abbati studied Biological sciences at Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!