Both balsamic vinegar and olive oil boast a whole host of health benefits on their own. Together, they pack a hefty punch of antioxidants for a healthier body. The potential health benefits of balsamic vinegar and olive oil are worth looking into.
The least processed form of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil (often referred to as EVOO), contains most of its natural components. This makes it the healthiest type of olive oil to consume.
Although organic options are not always necessary, choosing organic forms of EVOO and balsamic vinegar actually is important. High levels of pesticides have been found in inorganic olive oils, especially extra virgin olive oil.
Grapes, which are the main ingredient in balsamic vinegar, are one of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is an annual list that ranks fruits and vegetables by what EWG deems as dangerous amounts of pesticide residues. Grapes consistently show up on this list year after year.
Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar
While there isn’t a ton of research on all of these potential benefits, there is some evidence, and the possible positive impacts far outweigh any negative. This makes balsamic vinegar a win to add to your diet.
Helps regulate blood sugar
Balsamic vinegar has been shown to help regulate blood sugar when eaten as part of a meal. It has an anti-glycemic impact, meaning your blood sugar will spike less drastically after a meal if balsamic vinegar is among the ingredients.
May lower cholesterol levels
Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants that help block toxic cells or free radicals in the body, which may help lower cholesterol.
Promotes healthy digestion
The acid compound in balsamic vinegar, acetic acid, contains strains of probiotics that aid digestion. These probiotics can help support overall immune function by promoting good gut health.
Could improve skin health
Over time, a person’s complexion may improve when balsamic vinegar is consumed regularly. This is because of the antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants contained in balsamic vinegar. It doesn’t hurt that balsamic vinegar promotes a healthy gut. A healthy gut promotes the health of all of our organs, including our skin.
May aid weight loss
Due to its probiotic content, balsamic vinegar may help a person feel fuller for longer after a meal. Some research has shown that people who consume balsamic vinegar with their morning meals consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Some research studies have found that balsamic vinegar may help lower blood pressure.
Regularly adding balsamic vinegar to foods could help reduce high blood pressure over time. For this to be true in humans, the amount of unhealthy fat consumed would have to be reduced in general. Then, the balsamic vinegar added to your diet could result in reduced hypertension and other cardiac diseases.
Vinegar has many holistic medicine uses, one of those being to clear congestion. Simply adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar to steaming water and breathing the vapor can help clear your sinus passages for some temporary relief.
Reducing acid reflux
Balsamic vinegar may help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn. This home remedy may not work for everyone and in people with GERD, it may be an acid reflux trigger.
It’s best to try it in very small amounts and wait several hours to see whether it makes symptoms better or worse.
Promoting blood circulation
Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes which have been found to potentially prevent cardiac disease by preventing platelets from building up in blood vessels.
More research is required, but the possibility of better blood circulation for heart health is a good reason to add some balsamic vinegar to your next meal.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil is used around the world in some of the healthiest cultures living on this earth today. The many benefits of olive oil are similar to those of balsamic vinegar in many ways.
Increases your intake of healthy fat
Olive oil contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids as well as amino acids. It also contains high amounts of monounsaturated fats, called oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are a healthy cooking option since they’re very resistant to high heat.
Decreasing the amount of unhealthy fat we consume and replacing it with healthy fats like olive oil is important for fighting chronic disease.
Great source of antioxidants
Olive oil is rich in antioxidant properties, which are excellent for your overall health. They counterbalance damaging free radicals in the body, leading to a host of possible benefits.
Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body, because they react so easily with other molecules, causing oxidation. Long term, this contributes to chronic disease and the aging process.
Promotes heart health
A new study suggests that consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day could lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
Olive oil may help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clotting, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel function, prevent hardening of arterial walls, and it could help increase your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
Monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats, like olive oil are a major part of what our diets are missing for overall health in our standard western diets. However, we have to keep in mind that increasing the good things we put in may not always be enough.
Reducing the intake of foods high in saturated and trans fats is imperative to overall health, but especially heart health.
May reduce the risk of certain cancers
We already talked about the antioxidant power of olive oil, but it’s worth mentioning again for its potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Many scientists believe that free radicals are the leading cause of cancer.
Since antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, many associate this property with a reduction in the risk for cancer. This is just one of the many health benefits of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
May aid weight loss
Much like olive oil won’t prevent heart disease on its own, it’s not going to reduce your weight just by adding it to your diet.
Olive oil is an excellent replacement for unhealthy fats in your diet. Again, reduce saturated and trans fats and replace them with monounsaturated fats. This combined with a close eye on your caloric intake will help you keep your weight on track.
Keep in mind that oils are the most calorically dense food on earth. So even healthy oils should be used in moderation and won’t aid in weight loss if you’re consuming them in excess.
Provides anti-inflammatory properties
Extra-virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, which may be one of the main reasons for its health benefits since chronic inflammation is said to be the root of most chronic diseases in the body.
The main anti-inflammatory effects are possible because of the antioxidants in oil olive.
One of the key antioxidants in olive oil is oleocanthal, which has been shown to work similarly to ibuprofen. This can be supplemented to relieve people of their body pain with rheumatoid arthritis.
Could help fight Alzheimer’s disease
Although research is not entirely conclusive, some promising discoveries in numerous studies show a correlation between the consumption of olive oil and reduced rates of Alzheimer’s disease.
A common cause of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of specific plaques inside brain cells. But, olive oil appears to contain a substance that helps remove these harmful plaques.
This correlation could also be that people who consume more olive oil consume less unhealthy fats, which contribute to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Making another great argument for replacing the unhealthy fats in your diet with monounsaturated fats like olive oil.
May reduce your risk of stroke
For the same reason, olive oil is good for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it may also be good for reducing your risk of stroke. Some studies show that olive oil is the sole monounsaturated fat to contribute to this reduced risk.
May help prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Consuming olive oil can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. This correlation could be because of a replacement of unhealthy fats with healthy fats.
Type 2 diabetes is an issue of too much fat accumulating in the cells. This causes insulin to be unable to let glucose inside of the cells, leaving it in your bloodstream to build up.
When we reduce the number of unhealthy fats we consume, our insulin levels improve. Still, a low-fat diet, even on the lower end of healthy fat intake, is the best prevention for insulin resistance.
How to Make Salad Dressings with Oil and Vinegar
The best parts of oil and vinegar salad dressings is the ease, convenience, and low cost of throwing them together. All you need is the basic formula for making a salad vinaigrette.
All you do is mix one part vinegar or other acid mixed with three to four parts oil.
For instance, you could use one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and three tablespoons of olive oil.
From there you can add any spices you like to make it more interesting or you can leave it as is.
Mix your ingredients together in a jar with a lid, give it a good shake, and you’re ready to go.
These mixtures will store nicely in your refrigerator for three to four weeks.
You can use the above vinegar to oil ratio with any type of vinegar as well. You can also add balsamic vinegar to many of your favorite recipes like marinating.
Balsamic vinegar comes in all sorts of different flavors these days that have a remarkable taste and make a great dressing even without the added oil.
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