As the name implies, red wine vinegar is made from red wine, though the final product is nonalcoholic. The vinegar is acidic and is often used in salad dressing and marinade recipes. Beyond the trace amounts of certain nutrients, red wine vinegar offers a variety of other potential health benefits.
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Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Ingredient
Red wine vinegar is very low in calories and doesn't contain any fat. Using the vinegar on foods such as tossed green or pasta salads adds a burst of flavor without adding large amounts of fat and calories. Keeping your intake of fat -- more specifically saturated and trans fats -- low is one step you can take to improve your overall health. For example, using red wine vinegar in place of salad dressing or in place of the mayonnaise in pasta salad is a simple, but flavorful, way to cut your intake of calories and saturated fat.
A 1-tablespoon serving of red wine vinegar doesn't supply huge doses of any nutrients, but it does contain trace amounts of several key vitamins and minerals. For example, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar contains tiny amounts of iron, a mineral that helps your body make red blood cells and helps to prevent anemia, a health condition that causes fatigue and weakness. A tablespoon of red wine vinegar contains trace amounts of potassium and vitamin C, as well.
Additional Health Benefits
Because red wine vinegar is essentially sour red wine, it contains resveratrol, according to Cal Orey, author of "The Healing Powers of Vinegar." Resveratrol might help reduce the risk of cancer and slow or inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors, according to a 2007 article published in "Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology." Red wine vinegar can also contain polyphenols, which are compounds from plants that act as antioxidants to reduce cell damage caused by environmental factors. Vinegar might also be used to treat infections as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and help manage blood sugar, according to a 2006 article published in the "Medscape Journal of Medicine."
Red Wine Vinegar in Your Diet
In addition to making tasty salad dressings, use red wine vinegar in meat marinade recipes, or add a splash to a bowl of soup or chili to achieve a bold flavor. Marinate vegetables, such as mushrooms or shallots, in red wine vinegar before sauteing them to enhance the flavor. Drizzle red wine vinegar over grilled shrimp or scallops or stir a tablespoon or so into gravy for meat and potatoes as additional ways to include it in your diet.