Red wine vinegar is made from, of course, red wine — and the final product is nonalcoholic. The vinegar is acidic and is often used in salad dressing and marinade recipes.
Vinegar has been traced back to 5000 BCE in Babylon as an ingredient for cooking, medicine, preservation and even as a drink to increase strength and wellness, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Legend has it that vinegar was discovered when wine was left in storage for many months, causing it to ferment and sour.
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Red wine vinegar has an acidic, sharp flavor that varies based on the type of wine used to make it. It's a great choice for marinades, salad dressings and cooking meat and fish.
Red Wine Vinegar Nutrition Facts
One tablespoon of red wine vinegar is equal to a single serving. A tablespoon of red wine vinegar contains:
- Calories: 3
- Total fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 1.2 mg
- Total carbs: 0 g
- Dietary fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
Red Wine Vinegar Macros
- Total fat: One tablespoon of red wine vinegar has 0 grams of total fat, including no polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, saturated fat or trans fat.
- Carbohydrates: One tablespoon of red wine vinegar has 0 grams of carbs, including no fiber or sugars.
- Protein: One tablespoon of red wine vinegar has 0 grams of protein.
Vitamins, Minerals and Other Micronutrients
Although one serving of red wine vinegar contains close to no vitamins and minerals, increasing the amount to 4 tablespoons yields some trace nutrients.
For instance, 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar contain:
- Iron: 1% of your Daily Value (DV)
- Magnesium: 1% DV
- Manganese: 1% DV
- Copper: 1% DV
The Health Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar
Although more research is needed to confirm many health claims that have been made about red wine vinegar, there is some evidence that it may help you feel more full after a meal. It can also add powerful flavor to your dish in a low-calorie dose.
1. Red Wine Vinegar May Help You Feel More Full
By adding red wine vinegar to your salad or another dish, you may feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal, which can prevent you from overeating.
"There are some studies that suggest including red wine vinegar as an ingredient in a meal may help with feeling more satisfied after, due to its acetic acid," says Ashlee Wright, RD, a dietitian at Orlando Health. "However, there is more research that needs to be done to support this."
Although many of the studies on this topic have been conducted on rodents, one small September 2005 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed how the hunger levels of 12 healthy volunteers were affected by varying levels of vinegar with bread. The more vinegar participants ate with bread, the longer they reported feeling full.
By increasing satiety, vinegar may also decrease the glycemic effect of a meal, per a May 2014 review in the Journal of Food Science. But, much more research is needed to support some claims that red wine vinegar can lower blood sugar levels or aid in diabetes prevention.
2. Red Wine Vinegar Is a Flavor Booster
A major benefit of red wine vinegar is that it can add a big flavor to your food in small amounts for just a few calories, all while offering some nutrients. Red wine vinegar contains trace amounts of iron, manganese, magnesium and copper.
Using red wine vinegar on foods such as tossed green or pasta salads adds a burst of flavor without causing you to load up on calories and fat, as you might with other condiments.
Keeping your intake of 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 mayonnaise in pasta salad is a simple yet flavorful way to reduce your intake of calories and saturated fat.
"Red wine vinegar is great to use in a marinade," Wright says. "I have used it with chicken and it tenderizes the meat without having to add salt. I also use it to make homemade salad dressings, not only for vinaigrettes but also by using a small amount in Greek yogurt with herbs and spices for a creamy dressing with a nice bite."
Replacing foods high in saturated fat with healthier options like red wine vinegar can lower blood cholesterol levels and boost lipid profiles, per the American Heart Association.
"Consume a diverse diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins, and use vinegar to enhance the flavor of nutritious foods," Wright says.
Antioxidants in Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar can contain phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties. But, the presence of phenolic compounds in red wine vinegar may vary based on the wood of the barrel it's produced in, per an August 2008 study in the journal Food Chemistry. More research is needed to fully determine the levels and bioavailability of antioxidants in red wine vinegar.
Red Wine Vinegar Health Risks
Red wine vinegar contains sulfites, which are chemicals that act as preservatives. Some people experience sulfite sensitivity, which can cause asthma symptoms such as mild wheezing or potentially life-threatening reactions, per the Cleveland Clinic.
A sulfite allergy is known to occur in those with asthma. If you have asthma, your chances of being sensitive to sulfites are between 1 in 20 and 1 in 100. Talk to your doctor or a board-certified allergy or immunology physician to determine if you do have a sensitivity.
Some diet fads have involved taking vinegar shots, but this can actually be quite detrimental.
"Use it in your recipes in the recommended amounts, but do not drink it," Wright says. "Having too much vinegar can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth and those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also find it to be an irritant."
On the note of fads, don't buy into diets or "cleanses" that claim red wine vinegar is a cure-all for heart health, weight loss or skin woes. There isn't enough scientific evidence to support these claims, Wright says.
Red Wine Vinegar Preparation and Helpful Tips
You can use red wine vinegar in a number of ways to improve the taste and nutrition of your food.
Use it as a flavor booster: There are a number of ways you can add a splash of flavor to your dishes for very few calories with red wine vinegar
For instance, try these easy tricks:
- Use red wine vinegar as an ingredient in meat marinade recipes
- 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 vinaigrette
- Drizzle red wine vinegar over grilled shrimp or scallops
- Stir a tablespoon into gravy for meat and potatoes
Red Wine Vinegar Recipes
Store in a cool place: When it's freshly made, vinegar has a strong and sharp bite that mellows over time. Vinegar can last six months or longer when stored in a cool place with a steady temperature (say, 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit), per the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Alternatives to Red Wine Vinegar
You can use a variety of vinegars in place of red wine vinegar. "If you find red wine vinegar is too strong, white wine vinegar and rice vinegar work as well," Wright says. All vinegars are low in calories and flavorful.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Vinegar"
- My Food Data: "Red Wine Vinegar"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects"
- Food Chemistry: "Effect of wood on the phenolic profile and sensory properties of wine vinegars during ageing"
- National Institutes of Health: "Antioxidants: In Depth"
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Sulfite Sensitivity"
- University of California Cooperative Extension: "Vinegar"