The Mediterranean diet is immensely popular with both weight watchers and doctors, as it's proven to be a tasty way to lower your risk of heart disease. The unheralded spice of the diet, one that is understandably easily forgotten amidst all that olive oil and red wine, is balsamic vinegar.
In fact, many of the disease-fighting qualities of the Mediterranean diet are encapsulated in balsamic vinegar, which is used as a substitute for salt in the diet, and as a spice and salad dressing throughout the world.
Balsamic vinegar (the “balsamic” references its curative qualities, and not the wood sap) can fight cancer, just like the diet it spices up. The grapes that are used in the formation of balsamic vinegar contain quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid with antioxidant properties. Along with having Vitamin C, the antioxidant also strengthens your immune system thereby making it easy for you to fight infections inflammations, and, yes, even cancer.
Used as a salad dressing on its own, balsamic vinegar contains calories that only come from the grapes’ sugar content. This makes ita good weight control substitute. Balsamic vinegar is also known to keep you feeling full and for longer. Therefore, you will eat less food hence controlling your weight.
Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants which eliminate the free radicals known to destroy your cell membranes, DNA and proteins through a process known as oxidative stress. This process has been linked to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, aging, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, cognitive decline, and eye conditions like macular degeneration.
When you substitute balsamic vinegar for a dressing that has high cholesterol levels, you are doing your whole cardiovascular system a favor. Less fat is deposited in your blood vessels, and the condiment's lower sodium means reduced blood pressure and enhanced heart health.
The minerals acetic and pepsin, which balsamic vinegar contains in abundant supply, helps improve the absorption of magnesium and calcium into your body. These two minerals are important in the formation of strong and healthy bones.
Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which stimulate the pepsin enzyme activity in your body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins into amino acids. Moreover, they assist your intestines to more efficiently absorb amino acids. Expedited absorption of amino acids makes it easy for your body to utilize repair and build cells.
Research has shown that consuming about three to four tablespoons of balsamic vinegar daily will enhance your insulin sensitivity. The higher your insulin sensitivity is, the better your chances of controlling diabetes.