Balsamic Vinegar Benefits, Nutrition Facts, And Side Effects

Use it to lend a delectable complexity to your salads and enjoy all its health benefits.

Reviewed by Nilofar Pendhari, Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Written by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Payal Karnik, MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Balsamic vinegar is fast getting popular as a salad dressing. While the tangy and sweet flavor is one reason, the health benefits of balsamic vinegar could be another. This fruit vinegar is made from fermented grapes and has an intense dark color. It is primarily used in Italian cuisine for its unique flavor as a condiment and a dressing. Keep reading to know about the health benefits of balsamic vinegar, its preparation methods, recipes and more.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Balsamic Vinegar

What Is It?
It is a dark, flavored, concentrated solution made of crushed grape juice, seed, and stems.

What Are Its Benefits?
It may protect from oxidative damage, lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar, reduce weight, and promote skin health.

Who Can Consume It?
All can safely consume it.

How Often?
You can consume 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar every day.

Caution
Avoid consumption if you feel irritation in your throat and tongue, stomach ache, or heartburn.

What Is Balsamic Vinegar?

Close up of a hand pouring balsamic vinegar over tomatoes salad
Image: Shutterstock

Balsamic vinegar is an intensely flavored vinegar that is 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.

protip_icon Trivia
Balsamic vinegar originated in Modena, Italy. It was first mentioned in history in 1046 when a bottle is said to have been given as a gift to Franconian Emperor Enrico III.

Balsamic Vinegar Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 15 kcal
  •  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 (bad cholesterol) levels and triglyceridesi  XThese are the lipids (fats) that are present in your blood and are either produced by your body or obtained from your diet. . In addition, it was also shown to improve the HDL – LDL 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

Woman on scales depicting weight loss due to the health benefits of balsamic vinegar
Image: Shutterstock

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 microbiotai  XThese are the microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses that dwell in the digestive tracts of animals. 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

Consuming balsamic vinegar can keep skin healthy.
Image: Shutterstock

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 act as a flavor enhancer and has various culinary uses.

Kris Keppeler, a blogger, had her perception of vinegar transformed during a three-week stay in Italy when balsamic vinegar became a culinary revelation. She writes, “Balsamic vinegar in Italy is like ketchup here in the US. People put it on everything (i).” Amazed by its versatility, she discovered its compatibility with fruits and salads. Kris’s love for balsamic vinegar led her to create a low-calorie, flavorful salad dressing, enhancing greens with a tangy, sweet twist.

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.

protip_icon Trivia
The age of vinegar is broken down into three categories: young (3 to 5 years of maturation), middle (6 to 12 years), and extremely old (12 years to 150 years).

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 with balsamic vinegar
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  •  4 pieces chargrilledi  XIt refers to cooking food on a charcoal grill at a high temperature till it slightly burns and turns black. 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.

2. 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.

4. Caprese Salad

Caprese salad
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Slice the ripe tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella cheese into rounds of approximately the same thickness.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves in an alternating pattern on a serving platter.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil all over the salad.
  4. Season with a pinch of salt and a dash of freshly ground black pepper for added flavor.
  5. Serve and enjoy your delicious caprese salad.

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?

Woman experiencing throat irritation due to the side effects of balsamic vinegar
Image: Shutterstock

So, is Balsamic vinegar safe for you? Well, it is generally 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 flatulencei  XIt is a medical term for the release of gas from the digestive system through the anus, and it is also referred to as farting. 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.

The health benefits of balsamic vinegar are slowly gaining popularity. This unique vinegar is known for the tangy taste it adds to dishes. Balsamic vinegar helps in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels, protects from oxidative damage, helps manage obesity and blood glucose levels, and promotes skin health. You can prepare balsamic vinegarette at home with simple ingredients and use it as a salad dressing. Although this vinegar is generally safe, some people may experience throat irritation, stomach pain, heartburn, or a tingling sensation on the tongue after consuming it. Hence, caution is advised. Try out any of the recipes mentioned above with balsamic vinegar to add it to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is balsamic vinegar a superfood?

Yes, balsamic vinegar can be termed a superfood. This fruit vinegar offers an array of health benefits when included as a part of the diet.

Is balsamic vinegar good for your liver?

Yes, balsamic vinegar is good for the liver as it exhibits detoxifying properties. In addition, it also helps treat hepatitisi  XA liver inflammatory disorder that can be brought on by excessive alcohol intake, toxins, some drugs, and specific medical conditions. , infections, and jaundice.

Does balsamic vinegar damage teeth?

Yes, balsamic vinegar may damage teeth if not taken with caution. It can erode the dental enamel as it is acidic in nature.

Can I mix balsamic vinegar with water and drink it?

Yes, balsamic vinegar can be added to hot water for consumption. For a glass of hot water, 10 ml of this vinegar is considered ideal.

Key Takeaways

  • Balsamic vinegar not only adds flavor to your Mediterranean dishes but can also be beneficial for your health.
  • Natural balsamic vinegar is free of preservatives and low in natural sugar.
  • So, you can easily include it in various weight loss diet options.
  • You can also make balsamic vinegar at home to avoid artificial colorants and added sugar.

Learn about the amazing health benefits of balsamic vinegar! From reducing cholesterol to aiding digestion, check out the video below to know more about this powerhouse ingredient.

Personal Experience: Source

i. Discovering the benefits and joys of balsamic vinegar and how to use it to give your salads a snap https://medium.com/@kriskeppeler/discovering-the-benefits-and-joys-of-balsamic-vinegar-and-how-to-use-it-to-give-your-salads-a-snap-96c98b248b6e

References

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://idp.nature.com/authorize?response_type=cookie&client_id=grover&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Farticles%2Fs41598-017-06235-7
  7. Antioxidants in dermatology
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5514576/
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
The following two tabs change content below.

Latest Articles