Vinegar has many versatile uses. In cooking, it adds flavor and spice to many dishes.
A popular selection of vinegar is one made with red wine. Red wine vinegar is known to be beneficial mostly due to two of its ingredients: resveratrol and acetic acid. These ingredients and its color set it apart from other types of vinegar and also give it unique, useful properties.
What makes types of vinegar different?
White distilled vinegar is made using distilled alcohol fermentation, usually deriving the vinegar from fermented grains. It is distilled to make a watery solution of mostly pure ethyl alcohol fermented mostly to acetic acid in water. This is why it has no aromatic or savory properties like wine types of vinegar.
Red wine vinegar is made from red wine. It has a sharp and acidic taste that is different depending on the type of wine that is used. You will often see red wine in salad dressings and marinades for fish and meat.
How is red wine vinegar made?
Two-step fermentation processes water and acetic acid to form the base for creating vinegar. Yeast feeds on the starch or sugar of the red wine fruit base. This liquid then ferments into alcohol. It is then exposed to oxygen and Acetobacter, the bacteria of acetic acid, fermenting again over an extended period of time, which forms the vinegar.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates vinegar and makes sure that it contains a minimum of 4% acetic acid, though this percentage may go up to as much as 8% in many popular vinegars.
What are red wine vinegar's health benefits?
Historical records from Greece, the Middle East, and China document the use of vinegar for health purposes. This usage included wound cream, digestive aids, and cough treatments. It is used today as a home remedy for mild irritations or even chronic diseases.
Such home remedies are not backed by research that supports the use of red wine vinegar to treat any human condition, but some animal studies have proved beneficial uses of vinegar, helping to make it popular.
Heart health: In moderation, red wine has been pegged as a heart-healthy product for a long time. Alcohol and antioxidants can help prevent coronary artery disease, which can otherwise lead to heart attacks. The links between decreased heart attacks and red wine is not understood completely, but it could be the beneficial properties of the antioxidants that increase levels of high-density lipoproteins: “good cholesterol” that helps decrease the buildup of plaque.
Red wine has polyphenols (most importantly, resveratrol) that contain antioxidant, angiogenic, and superoxide defensive properties. In red wine, these benefits include reduced morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases by 30 – 50%.
Body fat content: Unlike some flavoring ingredients, red wine vinegar does not contain excessive calories and fats. This helps those who use it to avoid unnecessary lipid consumption. It is also known to kick-start your metabolism, which increases your natural ability to burn fat.
Decrease in appetite: Some research supports the use of red wine vinegar for appetite suppression. It can also aid in hormonal release effects in the body. If you are trying to decrease your weight, try red wine vinegar as a salad dressing choice.
Absorption of calcium: Red wine vinegar can increase the body's ability to take in calcium. Key minerals are delivered to the body, including calcium and iron. This is beneficial for the maintenance and development of bone mineral density and other important bodily functions.
Cancer treatment: The International Journal of Molecular Sciences published an article by Korean and Vietnamese clinicians noting that resveratrol acts as an anti-carcinogen, having a particular effect on the slowing or reversing of tumor growth.
Lower blood sugar levels: Red wine vinegar, like some other vinegars, contains acetic acid. This property may help decrease blood sugar levels. It seems to slow carb digestion and increase absorption of a type of body sugar called glucose. This leads to decreased amounts of glucose in the blood.
A study showed that adults with insulin resistance that introduced 2 tablespoons of vinegar to their digestive system before eating carbs lowered their blood sugar reading by 64% and their insulin sensitivity by 34%.
There are very few food ingredients that are used in both cooking and in cleaning. Vinegar use, though, has been documented back 5,000 years to Babylon. There, it was used as a medicine, a preservative, a drink that boosts wellness and strength, and for cooking and cleaning. Its discovery was described as an accident when wine was forgotten in storage and left unattended for many months. This caused it to ferment and to turn its contents sour.
Besides cooking, vinegar is very widely used for cleaning. This is especially true for white vinegar. The 5% acetic acid concentration in vinegar is strong enough to kill some common household germs. It cannot kill all, like salmonella, though, so it cannot completely replace commercially made disinfectants.
Regardless, vinegar is nontoxic, inexpensive, and can be used in many household tasks. It works well on mineral deposits and soap scum in shower stalls, sinks, and drains.
Cooking with alcoholic ingredients results in the loss of alcoholic content. Baked or simmered foods that use alcohol can still end up retaining 4 – 85 % of their alcoholic content, though. Therefore, it is recommended that if you are trying to avoid alcohol, you may want to skip using red wine vinegar because it does have alcoholic content.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Harvard School of Public Health: "Vinegar."
Mayo Clinic: "Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Medscape General Medicine: "Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect."
OrganicFacts.org: "7 Incredible Benefits Of Red Wine Vinegar."
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