I love balsamic vinegar.
I love it so much, my friends joke about me drinking it straight out of the bottle or having it hidden in my purse. I've gotten it as a Christmas gift, and I've definitely been known to have a work stash in addition to my supply at home.
By now I'm sure you've scrolled back up and found the vowels in my byline -- yes, I'm Italian.
But while I used to credit my appreciation for balsamic to the food I grew up with, I once stumbled (literally, stumbled) after a night of drinking upon the conclusion that it's much more than that.
I was in Mykonos about two years back, hungover and wondering how I was going to live another day. Led by my tortured stomach's intuition, I reached for the balsamic vinegar that happened to be on the breakfast table (shout-out to the Greeks for also knowing what's up) and dipped some pita bread.
With one bite, I was reborn.
From there on out, balsamic became my cure-all secret. Time and time again, whether I drink too much wine or just suffer from a bout of acid reflux, a dose of this magical liquid saves me.
I had to finally look up the science behind my favorite food's positive effects, and I hate to brag, but it turns out I'm pretty much a self-made doctor. Check out these proven benefits of drinking balsamic vinegar.
It's basically medicine.
In Italian, "balsamico" is related to the word "balsamo," a soothing balm or medicine. Thanks to its origins from nutrient-rich grapes (Trebbiano grapes from Modena, Italy if you're getting the good stuff), balsamic vinegar is full of cholesterol-lowering, immune-boosting antioxidants, plus potassium and calcium.
It could help you lose weight.
The acetic acid in balsamic vinegar mixed with carbs helps to slow the body's absorption of the food you're eating and prevent a spike in blood sugar, keeping you full longer.
Celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels recommends two tablespoons a day along with a balanced diet as a weight loss aid, and in one study, obese men who consumed 1 to 2 tablespoons daily over a 12-week span lost more body fat than subjects who did not have any vinegar.
It really will settle your stomach.
It may seem counter-intuitive since vinegar is acidic, but balsamic vinegar is a natural remedy used for acid reflux. Not only can acetic acid balance your stomach's pH levels and reduce inflammation, it also stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that further break down food and aid digestion.
It might even make you look younger.
The antioxidants in those grapes just keep on giving (or fighting -- cell damage, to be exact). Balsamic vinegar has been found to have the same anti-aging properties as green tea and red wine.
Need any more convincing? Didn't think so. I'll see you in the vinegar aisle.