In the past, many people touted the value of balsamic vinegar as curing everything malnutrition to cancer. Sure, some social media promoters continued to promote nutritional benefits that are not currently supported by clinical studies. In any event, I think it is same to say that balsamic vinegar does contain antioxidants and appears to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, it appears to be a great substitute for sugar and appears to stabilize blood glucose because it is low on the glycemic index.
While it would be inappropriate and perhaps misleading to hype the nutritional benefits of balsamic vinegar, I think it is fair to say that there appear to be no negative side effects or major nutritional concerns. Found below are several authoritative studies referring to the benefits of balsamic vinegar:
Balsamic Vinegar Nutrition Facts by the USDA
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, balsamic vinegar provides just 5 calories per teaspoon. This is far less than a 1-teaspoon serving of olive oil which has 45 calories. Swapping out oil or fatty dressing for balsamic vinegar reduces the number of calories from your diet. In fact, combining balsamic vinegar with a reduced level of olive oil has been used in Italian cooking for a number of years.
Effects on Balsamic Vinegar on Cholesterol
The most significant nutritional bonus of balsamic vinegar is the phytonutrients and flavonoids contained in the grapes. Flavonoids are antioxidants which help protect heart and brain health and serve to rid the body of cell-damaging free radicals. Consuming balsamic vinegar has also been correlated with improved blood sugar control. Studies conducted on rats have demonstrated an association of vinegar intake with the lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
Balsamic vinegar also appears beneficial for stabilizing your blood cholesterol levels. Healthy Eating reports that “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. This benefit minimizes the risk of damage to cells from the harmful cholesterol. Drizzling balsamic vinegar on your salad at lunch can be helpful in keeping your cholesterol within a healthy range.”
Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Pressure
Healthy Eating also cites the possible benefit of balsamic vinegar on blood pressure: “In 2006, researchers at Arizona State University looked into vinegar benefits on heart health and published their review in “Medscape General Medicine.” Since balsamic vinegar reduces atherosclerosis and hardening of arteries, it can also help normalize your blood pressure levels. 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. Systolic pressure is the number on top of your blood pressure reading and measures blood pressure during heartbeats. It is important to note that this research was conducted on rats. Balsamic vinegar may be beneficial for blood pressure in humans, but further research needs to be conducted.”
Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Glucose
Perhaps the most important benefits is that balsamic vinegar is very low on the glycemic index. High glycemic foods, like most factory-processed foods, can result in a sudden spike in your blood sugar. Low glycemic foods can generally keep sugar levels stable for a longer period of time. Even though balsamic vinegar is a low-glycemic food, it does contain sugar and should be monitored if you are diabetic.