Health Benefits of Balsamics
Vinters in Modena, Italy have been making balsamic vinegar for nearly 1000 years and the process is similar to that of making wine. Sweet, white Trebbiano grape pressings (called “must”) are simmered for hours and hours until they have become thick and caramelized. The resulting syrup is then aged in a succession of barrels made from different kinds of wood that give the vinegar character. Authentic balsamic vinegar is aged no less than 12 years.
Balsamic vinegar retains most of the nutrients present in the parent grapes and comprises nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium in adequate amounts. Thus, incorporating balsamic oil in the daily diet will benefit one immensely. Let us look at the different balsamic vinegar health benefits.
Oxidation reactions taking place in the human body to produce energy, conduce to formation of cell damaging free radicals as natural by-products. Free radicals damage cell membranes and manifest themselves in terms of premature aging, hardening of arterial walls and cancer. Antioxidants from balsamic vinegar destroy these free radicals and prevent cells from being destroyed.
The grapes from which balsamic vinegar is formed is known to contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin, which has antioxidant properties. Along with vitamin C, this antioxidant strengthens the immune system to fight cancer and other infectious diseases and inflammations. Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which are anticancer agents.
Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks
Balsamic vinegar is low in saturated fat and is believed to reduce cholesterol. Moreover, since it is low in sodium, it enhances heart health and reduces high blood pressure.
Research reveals that consumption of at least 5 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar a day enhances insulin sensitivity. The greater the insulin sensitivity, the better the diabetes control.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Pour Olive’s extra virgin olive oils are handcrafted in small batches and imported to our store from artisans around the world. Our olives are hand-picked at the height of freshness thus producing less yield but superior quality. Extra virgin olive oil decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. We take great pride in knowing the harvest date, which insures you get the freshest EVOO as possible. Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh squeezed fruit juice in that it contains the most flavor and nutrients. Old, poorly made and improperly stored extra virgin olive oil yields fewer if any health benefits and less desirable flavor.
~If you don’t know when your oil was made, knowing where is meaningless!~
Becoming intimately familiar with a particular extra virgin olive oil’s flavor characteristics and chemistry i.e. antioxidant content, oleic acid, FFA, and crush date will help you make an educated decision about which olive oil is right for you.
Crucial Olive Oil Chemistry Definition Key
is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil. Olive oil is generally higher in oleic acid than other vegetable fats. The range found in extra virgin olive oil is between 55-83%. Extra virgin olive oil high in oleic acid has greater resistance to oxidation.
Based on USDA & IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) standards the maximum limit for free fatty acid in extra virgin olive oil is 0.8g per 100g or (.8%). A low FFA is desirable. Free fatty acid speaks to the condition of the fruit at the time of crush. The higher the FFA the greater the indication of poor quality fruit such as damaged, overripe, insect infestation, overheating during production or too much delay between harvest and crush.
Based on USDA & IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) standards the maximum peroxide value for extra virgin olive oil is 20. A very low peroxide value is desirable. Unsaturated free fatty acids react with oxygen and form peroxides, which create a series of chain reactions that generate volatile substances responsible for a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light and oxygen exposure.
Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Polyphenols such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, and hydroxytyrosol impart intensity connected with pepper, bitterness and other desirable flavor characteristics. Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming fresh, high quality extra virgin olive oil. Phenols in olive oil decrease over time or when exposed to heat, oxygen and light. Consuming fresh, well made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain the maximum health benefit commonly associated with consuming extra virgin olive oil.