Red wine vinegar is made from red wine that has been allowed to sour. As the wine is exposed to bacteria, it slowly turns into vinegar. Depending on if it is diluted and the variety of red wine used to make the vinegar, it can range in color from a light pink to a deep maroon. Red wine vinegar contains natural antioxidants, which are associated with lower cholesterol levels and other health benefits.
Red wine vinegar contains many of the natural antioxidants also present in red wine, namely anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigment found in red, blue and purple fruits -- such as grapes -- and they are preserved when red wine acidifies and becomes a vinegar. Anthocyanins are natural antioxidants that can prevent damage to your body’s cells as they are exposed to toxins and free radicals. Antioxidants can potentially slow down the aging process as well as provide cardiovascular health benefits. A 2010 issue of “Food Research International” found that red wine vinegar made from Cabernet Sauvignon, a red wine, contained 20 different anthocyanins, leading scientists to conclude that red wine vinegar had strong antioxidant potential.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels
Red wine vinegar may help lower total blood cholesterol levels as a result of its acetic acid content -- which provides tartness -- as well as its high anthocyanin count. A 2009 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that anthocyanins, consumed over a period of 12 weeks, led to lower blood cholesterol levels in humans. In 2006, the “British Journal of Nutrition” published an animal study which found that a diet high in cholesterol, supplemented with acetic acid, could lead to reduced blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The anthocyanins present in red wine vinegar may also help with reduced inflammation. A human study, published in a 2013 issue of “Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease” found that an anthocyanin supplement, when taken regularly over a period of 24 weeks, led to lower levels of inflammation in patients who suffered from atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. Another study, published in 2014 in the “Journal of Nutrition,” also found that anthocyanins had anti-inflammatory properties. The large-scale study concluded that diets high in anthocyanins led to lower inflammation levels in women, as well as reduced insulin concentrations.
Uses of Red Wine Vinegar
A good red wine vinegar will have a natural sharpness to it, but it will also have well-rounded taste and richness that comes from aging. While you can use red wine vinegar to make a vinaigrette for your salad, you can also incorporate it into marinades for meats and vegetables, where the sharpness will help cut through fat and lend a natural brightness to a finished dish. Red wine vinegar can also be used to make pickles and other sour sauces, such as a homemade ketchup or savory dressing for roast meats.