What Is Balsamic Vinegar: Health Benefits And Possible Side Effects

Written by Aparna Mallampalli

Salad dressings with vinegar add a unique flavor. Fruit vinegar is the most preferred among these as it has a tangy and sweet flavor. One such fruit vinegar that is fast becoming popular is balsamic vinegar. This vinegar is produced from fermented grapes. It has an intense dark color and is mostly used in Italian cuisine for its unique flavor as a dressing and a condiment. Here, we discuss the health benefits of balsamic vinegar, its preparation, recipes, and more. Take a look.

What Is Balsamic Vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is an intensely flavored vinegar prepared by cooking grapes. The vinegar is fermented both aerobically and anaerobically. It is very dark and is mostly used for salad dressings. Read on to know more about the nutrition facts and health benefits of balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains the following nutrients:

  •  Calories: 15
  •  Protein: 0 gram
  •  Fat: 0 gram
  •  Carbohydrates: 2.7 grams
  •  Fiber: 0 gram
  •  Potassium: 18 milligrams

Continue reading to know more about the health benefits of balsamic vinegar.

Health Benefits Of Balsamic Vinegar

1. May Help Decrease LDL Cholesterol

Balsamic vinegar was found to effectively inhibit the accumulation of lipids and significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides. In addition, it was also shown to improve the HDL cholesterol ratio. However, excess consumption should be strictly avoided to avoid any undesirable side effects.

2. May Protect From Oxidative Damage

A study has shown that balsamic vinegar is rich in antioxidants. Research states that antioxidants have many beneficial effects on one’s overall health. They are especially known to combat the effect of oxidative damage by free radicals, which are linked to many diseases. Antioxidants are also proven to have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.

3. May Help Manage Blood Glucose Levels

Research has shown that fruit-based vinegar may decrease blood glucose levels to some extent. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear. You may still use balsamic vinegar to manage your sugar levels after consulting your doctor.

4. May Help Manage Obesity

Vinegar is particularly known for its acetic acid content. Research has shown that acetic acid in vinegar may have an anti-obesity effect. Some studies have shown that fermented foods like vinegar exhibit anti-obesity effects by altering the gut microbiota composition. They also were found to reduce food intake, lipid deposition, and body weight.

Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that acetic acid inhibits fat storage and also promotes fat loss. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear and more research is warranted in this regard.

5. May Help Promote Skin Health

Anecdotal evidence suggests that balsamic vinegar may promote skin health. This vinegar has antioxidants proven to promote skin health. They have many beneficial effects on the skin and help reduce the signs of photodamage and skin aging. However, balsamic vinegar is not recommended to be directly applied to the skin. Its high acidity may cause reactions in some. You may want to dilute it with water before using.

While it has important health benefits, balsamic vinegar may have a strong taste. But slight modifications can enhance its flavor and minimize its pungent taste. Continue reading to know how to prepare it at home.

How To Prepare Balsamic Vinaigrette At Home

While balsamic vinegar can be used directly as a salad dressing, you can also try out balsamic vinaigrette (what it is called after the modifications). The vinaigrette typically contains some added sugars and oils that enhance its flavor. Here is how you can prepare balsamic vinaigrette at home.

What You Need

  •  ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  •  ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  ½ teaspoon of salt
  •  ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Method

  •  Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a glass jar.
  •  Add the salt and ground black pepper.
  •  Tighten the lid and shake vigorously.
  •  You can dip a piece of lettuce into the vinaigrette and check the taste.
  •  Adjust the salt, pepper, or the proportion of oil and vinegar as per your requirement.
  •  The oil and vinegar will separate after some time.
  •  Try to recombine every time before dressing your salad.

Balsamic vinegar can be added to any salad or recipe because of its unique taste. Check out some tasty recipes using balsamic vinegar.

Easy And Tasty Recipes With Balsamic Vinegar

1. Salad Dressing Recipe

Salad Dressing Recipe

shutterstock

What You Need

  •  4 pieces chargrilled pumpkin
  •  100 grams mozzarella cheese
  •  1 bunch spinach
  •  50 grams pumpkin seeds
  •  ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  3 crushed garlic cloves
  •  Salt and pepper

Method

  •  Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a glass jar. Shake vigorously.
  •  Add the crushed garlic and shake the mix once. Keep it aside.
  •  Add the chargrilled pumpkin pieces, spinach, and mozzarella cheese in a large mixing bowl.
  •  Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and mix gently.
  •  Pour the mixture of balsamic vinegar dressing and mix gently.
  •  Consume immediately without storing it.
  •  You can additionally add lettuce and leafy greens to this salad.

1. Balsamic Glaze

What You Need

  •  1 cup balsamic vinegar
  •  Honey or maple syrup

Method

  1.  Add the balsamic vinegar and honey in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
  2.  Place this mixture on medium heat and mix it.
  3.  Bring it to a boil until there are bubbles in the mixture.
  4.  Keep mixing continuously until there is a slight glaze in the mixture.
  5.  Turn the flame to medium heat and let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the vinegar is reduced to half.
  6.  If perfectly cooked, it will form a thick coat on the cooking spoon.
  7.  Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container after cooling completely.
  8.  This mix can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
  9.  You also can add sugar or any other sweetener of your choice.
  10.  You can add this balsamic glaze to salads, ice creams, or even juices for a sweet and tangy twist.

3. Balsamic Dijon Dressing

What You Need

  •  1 cup chopped red leaf lettuce
  •  1 cup iceberg lettuce
  •  5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  •  3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  •  4 crushed garlic cloves
  •  1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1.  Add the chopped lettuce in a mixing bowl.
  2.  Sprinkle some salt and mix gently. Keep it aside.
  3.  Add the Dijon mustard, crushed garlic, black pepper, and salt in a glass jar.
  4.  Shake the jar vigorously until the ingredients are mixed completely.
  5.  Add the balsamic vinegar and mix until it forms a semi-solid paste.
  6.  Add this dressing to the bowl of chopped lettuce.
  7.  Mix gently for a uniform taste.
  8.  Consume the salad immediately without storing it.
  9.  The Dijon mustard dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.
  10.  Do not freeze the dressing.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Keto?

Balsamic vinegar can be easily added to most keto recipes. It can serve as a tasty dressing for keto salads and sautéed vegetables. It is very low in calories and is suitable for the keto diet. Natural balsamic vinegar is free of any preservatives and is very low in natural sugar. However, few contain artificial colors and sugars to mimic the appearance and taste of natural balsamic vinegar. Hence, do check for any artificial colorants or sugars before making a purchase.

Continue reading to know about the possible risks of balsamic vinegar.

Does Balsamic Vinegar Pose Any Health Risks?

Balsamic vinegar is possibly safe unless one is allergic to it. When consumed in limited quantities, it serves as a tasty addition to your salads. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that few may experience the following side effects with balsamic vinegar:

  •  Throat Irritation: Intake of raw balsamic vinegar may irritate the throat.
  •  Stomach Pain: The acetic acid in balsamic vinegar may cause stomach pain in some.
  •  Flatulence: Balsamic vinegar may also cause flatulence in some individuals. However, it generally subsides within a few hours.
  • Tingling Sensation Or Swelling Of The Tongue: The acetic acid in the vinegar may irritate the tongue and cause reddish or white raised patches. At times, one may also experience a tingling sensation on the tongue that generally subsides in a day or two.
  • Heartburn: The low pH value of balsamic vinegar may trigger heartburn after consumption. Hence, people with GERD should try to avoid its intake in any form.

Most of these side effects are generally mild and usually subside within a day or two. Hydrate adequately to manage the symptoms. However, if symptoms persist even after 3 days, consult your doctor without further delay.

Conclusion

Balsamic vinegar can be a tasty addition to your salads or recipes. However, its acidic nature may cause a few undesirable side effects in some. Hence, regular consumption is not advised. As only minimal research supports its health benefits, it is recommended to include it in your diet only in moderation. Consult your doctor for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to consume balsamic vinegar every day?

No, it is not recommended to consume the vinegar every day. You may take it thrice a week, and in limited quantities. But if you are consuming it in excess or in a raw form, it may cause throat irritation or gastrointestinal discomfort. Also, if you are allergic to balsamic vinegar, replace it with other substitutes like lemon juice mixed with molasses.

Balsamic vinegar Vs. apple cider vinegar – which is healthier?

Balsamic vinegar is believed to be healthier than apple cider vinegar, possibly because of its nutritional profile.

Is balsamic vinegar anti-inflammatory?

The antioxidants in balsamic vinegar may have anti-inflammatory properties and are also believed to have many beneficial effects. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

7 Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Vinegar Metabolomics: An Explorative Study of Commercial Balsamic Vinegars Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5041121/
  2. Vinegar Functions on Health: Constituents Sources and Formation Mechanisms
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12228
  3. Free radicals antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  4. Diabetes Control: Is Vinegar a Promising Candidate to Help Achieve Targets?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5954571/
  5. Varieties production composition and health benefits of vinegar: A review
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814616318076?via%3Dihub
  6. Anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects of synthetic acetic acid vinegar and Nipa vinegar on high-fat-diet-induced obese mice
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06235-7
  7. Antioxidants in dermatology
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5514576/

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Aparna is a professor-turned-content writer with over 5 years of experience in life sciences. Her passion for writing and interest in the healthcare and wellness industry pushed her toward a career in content writing. She has a master’s in Microbiology and aims to use her knowledge of life sciences to break down complex information into easily understandable content for the readers. When she’s not working, Aparna loves cooking and collecting keychains.