Ingredient of the Week: Winos, Rejoice! This Powerful Vinegar Has Serious Health Benefits

December 18, 2015
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market
Ingredient of the Week: Winos, Rejoice! This Powerful Vinegar Has Serious Health Benefits

It’s common knowledge by now that red wine is chock-full of antioxidant power (um, it’s our favorite Friday-night superfood). And vinegar? It’s the go-to magic cure-all here at Thrive HQ. So when two superfoods join forces, we can only imagine the health-boosting powers that are unleashed.

Enter red wine vinegar—the love-child of two of the most powerful ingredients in your kitchen. While typically relegated to dieters’ salads (it has minimal calories and loads of tongue-biting flavor, perfect for those trying to avoid calorie-loaded creamy dressings), this tart acidic stuff has so many health benefits that we’ve been brainstorming ways to include it in every meal.

According to Cal Orey, author of The Healing Powers of Vinegar, “Red wine vinegar—like red wine—contains disease-fighting antioxidants including immune-boosting flavonoids, cancer-fighting quercetin, and heart-healthy resveratrol.” Antioxidants fight against cellular damage caused by free radicals, which our bodies are exposed to regularly through environmental toxins, processed food, and even stress. Less cell damage means less inflammation in the body, which reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders.

Red wine vinegar gets its antioxidant power from the vino, but the vinegar component brings the majority of health benefits. Vinegar is an incredibly well-researched substance, probably because it’s been a reliable remedy for everything from stomachaches to skin problems since the Hippocrates era. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which explains why it’s so effective at boosting immunity.

Vinegar has also been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure: one Japanese study proved that ingesting it on a daily basis significantly decreases systolic blood pressure.

Most interestingly, vinegar has a neutralizing effect on blood sugar levels. Researchers from Milan discovered that when subjects ingested a food with high glycemic load—like a slice of bread—and then drank vinegar, their blood glucose levels decreased by over 30 percent. That’s pretty important information for anyone struggling with diabetes or even just trying to lose weight; over time, high blood glucose levels contribute to weight gain, heart disease, stroke, and a host of of chronic diseases.

All health benefits aside, red wine vinegar is just one of those multidimensional ingredients you always want in your pantry. Just ask Thrive’s resident Food Editor Merce Muse. “Red wine vinegar tenderizes meat, but also imparts a subtly intense flavor that works equally well in braises and marinades as it does in a classical vinaigrette,” she says. “Add it into any dish to give it a hint of Mediterranean flavor.” See it in action, and try cooking this whole cauliflower braised in tomato sauce!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Food, Health, Nutrition, Educational

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