The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
6 Surprising Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar
By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD
Vinegars are made by fermenting a carbohydrate source into alcohol. Acetobacter bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives vinegars their strong aromas (1Trusted Source).
Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine, then straining and bottling it. It's often aged before bottling to reduce the intensity of the flavor.
Many people enjoy using red wine vinegar in recipes, though it may also have other household uses.
Here are 6 health and nutrition benefits of red wine vinegar.
1. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
The acetic acid in red wine vinegar and other vinegars may help lower blood sugar levels.
It appears to slow your digestion of carbs and increase your absorption of glucose, a type of sugar, resulting in less glucose in your blood (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
One study in adults with insulin resistance found that drinking 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar before a carb-rich meal lowered blood sugar by 64% and increased insulin sensitivity by 34%, compared to a placebo group (1Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
When used to make certain dishes, red wine vinegar can lower these foods' glycemic index (GI). The GI is a ranking system that scores how much a food raises blood sugar (7Trusted Source).
One study noted that replacing cucumbers with pickles made with vinegar lowered the GI of a meal by over 30%. Another study demonstrated that adding vinegar or pickled foods made with vinegar to rice lowered the GI of the meal by 20–35% (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Acetic acid, a main component of vinegar, may help lower blood sugar levels. Red wine vinegar may also reduce the GI of foods.
2. May Protect Your Skin
Red wine vinegar boasts antioxidants that may fight bacterial infections and skin damage. These are primarily anthocyanins — pigments that give fruits and vegetables their blue, red, and purple colors (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
A test-tube study determined that the anthocyanin content of red wine vinegar depends on the type and quality of red wine used to make it. Vinegars made with Cabernet Sauvignon tend to offer the most, providing up to 20 anthocyanin compounds (12).
For example, one test-tube study found that resveratrol killed skin cancer cells and significantly slowed new cancer cell growth (15Trusted Source).
Additionally, the acetic acid in red wine vinegar may fight skin infections. In fact, acetic acid has been used medicinally for over 6,000 years to treat wounds and chest, ear, and urinary tract infections (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
In one test-tube study, acetic acid prevented the growth of bacteria, such as Acinetobacter baumannii, that commonly cause infections in burn patients (17Trusted Source).
Nonetheless, more research is needed to determine the best uses of vinegar for skin care. Any type of vinegar should be diluted with water before being applied to your skin to reduce its acidity, as undiluted vinegar can cause significant irritation or even burns (18Trusted Source).
The acetic acid and antioxidants in red wine vinegar may be therapeutic for bacterial infections and other skin conditions like burns. Still, more research is needed.
3. May Aid Weight Loss
The acetic acid in red wine vinegar may support weight loss.
What's more, it keeps food in your stomach longer. This delays the release of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, which may prevent overeating (23Trusted Source).
In one study, obese adults drank a 17-ounce (500-ml) beverage with 15 ml, 30 ml, or 0 ml of vinegar daily. After 12 weeks, the vinegar groups had significantly lower weights and less belly fat than the control group (24Trusted Source).
In another study in 12 people, those who consumed vinegar with higher amounts of acetic acid alongside their breakfast of white-wheat bread reported increased fullness compared to those who consumed low-acetic vinegar (25Trusted Source).
Red wine vinegar may support weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and delaying the release of hunger hormones.
4. Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Red wine, the primary ingredient in red wine vinegar, boasts powerful polyphenol antioxidants, including resveratrol. Red wine also contains antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins (26Trusted Source).
The antioxidants in red wine are also present in its vinegar, though in smaller amounts. The fermentation process can reduce anthocyanin content by up to 91% (28Trusted Source).
Red wine vinegar packs powerful antioxidants known to help prevent chronic diseases. However, much of the original antioxidant content in red wine is lost during the fermentation process.
5. May Boost Heart Health
Red wine vinegar may improve your heart health.
Though most studies examine red wine, its vinegar contains the same antioxidants — just in much smaller amounts.
A 4-week study in 60 adults with high blood pressure found that taking red wine extract significantly lowered blood pressure compared to grape extract, which had no effect (31Trusted Source).
Polyphenols like resveratrol in red wine vinegar relax your blood vessels and increase the amount of calcium in your cells, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Acetic acid may have similar effects. Rodent studies indicate that acetic acid lowers blood pressure by increasing calcium absorption and altering hormones that control blood pressure, as well as fluid and electrolyte balance (33Trusted Source).
Acetic acid has been shown to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in rats. High doses also lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet (38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
The acetic acid and polyphenols in red wine vinegar may help lower total cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, high levels of which may be risk factors for heart disease.
6. Incredibly Versatile
Red wine vinegar is widely used in cooking but may have other applications as well.
It's often an ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, and reductions. Red wine vinegar pairs well with hearty foods like pork, beef, and vegetables.
While white vinegar is often reserved for household cleaning, red wine vinegar may be used for personal care.
For example, you can dilute red wine vinegar with water in a 1:2 ratio and use it as a facial toner.
Additionally, adding 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 ml) of red wine vinegar to your bath along with Epsom salt and lavender may soothe your skin. Some people also find that diluted red wine vinegar helps heal mild sunburn.
Red wine vinegar is most often used in salad dressings and marinades for meat and vegetable dishes. That said, it can also be used for personal care.
Overconsumption Can Have Adverse Effects
Red wine vinegar may have a few downsides.
Daily consumption over several years has been shown to increase your risk of negative effects (40Trusted Source).
For example, drinking too much vinegar can worsen digestive symptoms, such as nausea, indigestion, and heartburn. It may also affect certain blood pressure and heart medications by lowering potassium levels, which can further reduce blood pressure (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).
Additionally, acidic solutions like vinegar may damage tooth enamel, so be sure to rinse your mouth with water after enjoying vinegar-containing foods or beverages (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).
Long-term consumption of red wine vinegar may lead to indigestion and nausea, interact negatively with certain blood pressure medications, and damage tooth enamel.
The Bottom Line
Red wine vinegar has a number of benefits, including lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. As it's derived from red wine, it also boasts a number of antioxidants.
Drinking or using this vinegar in moderation is safe but could be harmful if taken in excess or alongside certain medications.
If you're curious about this versatile and tart ingredient, you can easily buy it in your local grocery store or online.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Study: Native Americans Barely Impacted Landscape for 14,000 Years. Europeans Came and Changed Everything
There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.