There are many balsamic vinegar health benefits, which are varied in their functions. Vinegar is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It contains antioxidants, helps strengthen bones, aids in the control of diabetes and helps reduce fat. Authentic balsamic vinegar is aged for many years, and there are many cheaper versions that do not give the same effects.
Commercial types will not endow the same balsamic vinegar health benefits, as they are usually colored and sweetened versions of red wine vinegar. Traditional balsamic is made in two areas of Italy and aged for a minimum of 12 years. The health benefits ascribed to balsamic applies only to the real condiment, which is much more expensive and rarely found on a supermarket shelf.
Balsamic vinegar contains an antioxidant called polyphenols, which boosts the activity of a digestive enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin aids in breaking down proteins into amino acids, which then speeds up body metabolism. Polyphenols and antioxidants in general are used in the body to repair the damage caused by free radicals such as cell damage. They work to improve the immune system, and their action helps in the prevention of heart or circulation problems.
For diabetics, balsamic vinegar health benefits include helping in the reduction of blood sugar levels, which means the insulin in the body can transport the more normal levels of blood sugar to the appropriate cells, where they are absorbed. It has been proposed that drinking balsamic vinegar on a regular basis can benefit diabetics in the same way that leading diabetes medications can help.
Balsamic vinegar can also be employed to aid weight loss. It is a source of calcium, iron, manganese and potassium. Potassium aids in suppressing the appetite. Acetic acid, which is one of the ingredients of vinegar, retards the absorption of carbohydrates, which then leads to the dissolution of fat. The acid also helps in the absorption of various minerals responsible for the strengthening of the bones.
In order for a vinegar to be authentic balsamic, it needs to have been made using only Trebbiano grapes, as these have a higher sugar content than many other types. The end product is sweet and fruity, and the consistency of the vinegar is syrupy and usually dark, with the exception of the white variety.