The benefits of vinegar are numerous. For example, adding vinegar to your meal helps reduce blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides. It is especially good for people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Before the invention of modern medicine, vinegar was even used as an ancient medicine to treat diseases.
But let’s talk about cooking – the more common use of vinegar than treating diseases. In particular, a combination of vinegar and starch has been used by people around the world. In Japan, for example, vinegar with a high glycemic index (GI) is used in sushi, and the Italians have a long history of dipping bread in balsamic vinegar.
In fact, dipping bread in vinegar not only reduces blood sugar and prevents insulin fluctuation, but also helps you feel more satiated after eating. If you only eat 3 slices of bread without vinegar, you will feel hungry in less than 2 hours like you haven’t eaten anything. But if you eat 3 slices of bread with vinegar, you will feel twice as full as you normally would. Even after 2 hours, you will still feel like you’ve just eaten 3 slices of bread.
British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who is also an anti-obesity advocate, recommends adding balsamic vinegar to all pasta dishes to make them healthier. However, pasta is a starchy food that is known to contribute to obesity and raise blood sugar levels. Why then would Jamie recommend it?
There’s something called the acetic acid in balsamic vinegar. It not only slows down the absorption of glucose from the pasta but also helps to control hunger. Adding 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to your pasta can reduce blood sugar fluctuations after a meal by about 20%.
So, how do you use balsamic vinegar in cooking?
Here are 2 ideas I have:
For an Asian dish, try the Sweet Vinegar Spare Ribs which is a variation of a Chinese recipe.
Or if you’re in the mood for a salad, whip up this colourful Salad with Kale, Pomegranate, and Caramelised Parsnip with a bit of balsamic vinegar in the dressing.