Friday, September 10, 2010

Vinegar Fridays


Well, here it is again. How do these Fridays keep sneaking up on me so quickly?

Nearly every Friday for months now, I have praised the properties of vinegar, mostly distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Today I want to sing the praises of a different kind -- balsamic vinegar. Why? Because it has amazing health benefits.

Balsamic vinegar boasts high levels of antioxidant polyphenols, which are believed by many to help prevent, or at least delay, some types of cancer. They also lessen the risk of heart disease by blocking the oxidation LDL (bad cholesterol) and boost bone mineral density. According to Okhee Han, assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State, there is a potential downside, however. Based on her research, she has some concern about polyphenols' affecting iron absorption. "People at high risk of developing iron deficiency -- such as pregnant women and young children," she warns, "should be aware of what polyphenols they are consuming." While I am quite enthusiastic about the benefits of balsamic vinegar, I also want you to be aware of these findings.

With that said, let me continue on with the benefits of balsamic vinegar. It is
  • fat-free
  • high in potassium
  • extremely flavorful
While you might be used to reaching for the ranch dressing for your salads, you might be pleasantly surprised at just how much you enjoy the healthier alternative of balsamic vinegar and olive oil!

Balsamic vinegar has a rich history. Our seventeenth century ancestors used it as a tonic for a variety of conditions. They also gargled with it and purified the air with it in hopes of warding off the plague.

Let's look at the nutrition facts. These numbers are based on 3.5 ounces of balsamic vinegar:
  • Calcium: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Phosphorous: 20 milligrams
  • Potassium: 70 milligrams
  • Sodium: 20 milligrams
  • Sugars: 30 grams
This is some healthy stuff! Even Richard Simmons is a huge fan, which has to say something!

Wow...I just flashed back over two decades to days of leotards, tights, permed hair and Sweating to the Oldies! Hard to believe I used to lead a group of women who combined working out to the Richard Simmons' video with Bible Study. But it was a lot of fun!

But here comes another warning -- you have to check out what kind of balsamic vinegar you're buying. Stick to the organic version -- yeah, the more expensive one. Why? Because the cheaper non-organic vinegar has unnecessary stuff added to it, like carmelized sugar (for coloring).

Where can you buy it? Stores like Whole Foods carry it. You can also check the organic departments of your local grocery stores or head to a natural foods market. It might take a little bit of shopping around, but in the end, I am confident you will appreciate the tip!

Keeping it healthy with vinegar,


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