Apple cider vinegar is often promoted as a way to improve health and boost weight loss. But, what about other types of vinegar?
In this post, we’re examining red wine vinegar vs apple cider vinegar. Both kinds of vinegar are popular and have their own advantages.
So, let’s see which one you should be using and when.
Red Wine Vinegar
As the name suggests, red wine vinegar is created from red wine. The wine is simply left to ferment over time. Once the wine has become acidic, it can then be bottled. It may also be left alone to age more.
The longer the aging time, the better the vinegar will taste. Significant aging can produce a somewhat mellow vinegar that still maintains a rich flavor.
It’s a common inclusion in salad dressings and can be used in cooking too.
Red wine vinegar isn’t a particularly good source of nutrients (1).
- A one tablespoon serving contains 2.8 calories and negligible amounts of fat, carbs and fiber. The same is true for vitamins and minerals.
- Even a 1 cup serving contains less than 5% the daily value for most nutrients (6% for iron). That serving is much higher than you’re likely to consume per day.
As such, the vinegar can’t be relied upon for nutrients.
But, there are some other interesting compounds present, including acetic acid and polyphenols from the wine. It is also low in calories, making it easy to include in your diet.
Potential Health Benefits
Some of the key health implications include the following:
- It is a fermented food. This means it contains probiotics, which can help to support gut health.
- The polyphenols in red wine have been linked to various health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels and protecting heart health (2,3).
- The compound resveratrol is also present. This is an antioxidant found in red wine and some berries. It is particularly significant as a way to protect against damaging free radicals and may potentially reduce cancer risk (4).
- Red wine vinegar is also high in anthocyanins (5), which have been linked to various health benefits.
- The acetic acid may help to promote nutrient absorption (6), decrease blood pressure (7), promote weight loss (8,9), improve blood lipid profiles (10) and increase blood sugar control (11,12).
- Indeed, vinegar has been linked to many different health benefits, along with antibacterial impacts (13,14).
Research is still ongoing, so many of the potential benefits haven’t been proven. In fact, the cited research focuses on vinegar or on acetic acid. There have been few studies on the health benefits of red wine vinegar itself and these used animal models rather than humans (15).
Even so, the vinegar is safe to consume, especially if you’re using it as an ingredient in dressings. Red wine vinegar may be worth including in your diet simply for the chance of seeing health benefits.
Choosing Red Wine Vinegar
You need to look for unpasteurized red wine vinegar. Companies will often use the term raw or something similar. This is important because the pasteurization process will kill any healthy bacteria in the vinegar.
Drinking Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar can be consumed as-is, often off a tablespoon. Just be aware of your dose and try not to have more than a tablespoon or two in this manner.
You can also mix the vinegar with water and drink it that way. Some people find that this is easier with red wine vinegar than with apple cider vinegar, due to the flavor differences.
Another approach is simply splashing the vinegar on top of a salad or some vegetables. You can make a dressing from the vinegar too, especially if you want a more complex flavor profile.
Red Wine Vinegar Recipes
The vinegar has an appealing taste that gets mellower with aging. This makes it a common choice for salad dressings and an easy way to increase flavor. The recipes below are all examples that you can try.
Using red wine vinegar in a dressing is also a good way to promote weight loss. For example, choosing red wine vinegar instead of a creamy salad dressing helps decrease your calorie consumption. A vinaigrette that contains red wine vinegar will also be lower in calories than many other dressings.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is particularly well-known. It is often promoted as a significant weight loss tool.
Like red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar is fermented. As such, it offers considerable probiotic benefits. The vinegar may be appealing for that reason alone.
Apple cider vinegar doesn’t offer many nutrients (16).
- In this case, a 1 tablespoon serving contains 3.1 calories and around 0.1 grams of carbs.
- In a 1 cup serving, the most significant nutrient is manganese at 30% of the daily value. All other nutrients are 5% or less of the daily value. As most people wouldn’t consume this much in a day, the vinegar cannot be relied upon for nutrients.
As with red wine vinegar, there are other important compounds, including antioxidants and acetic acid.
Potential Health Benefits
Apple cider vinegar has many of the same benefits that we saw with red wine vinegar, including all the health implications that come from acetic acid. However, apple cider vinegar does contain some different plant-based compounds. These may have their own implications for health.
There have also been various studies on apple cider vinegar specifically.
- Apple cider vinegar delays gastric emptying, which can promote a sense of fullness. The effect is beneficial in many situations but may be an issue for some health conditions (17).
- It can also decrease obesity risk (18), particularly during a high-fat diet (19).
- The vinegar has significant antimicrobial activity (20,21,22).
- Apple cider vinegar has antioxidant activity and can reduce oxidative stress (23,24).
- It helps to improve lipid levels in the blood (25,26).
This research makes apple cider vinegar particularly important. There are likely to be some differences in health benefits between the different types of vinegar and apple cider vinegar has been studied in more detail than most other options.
Choosing Apple Cider Vinegar
Once again, it’s important to look for unpasteurized vinegar. This will offer the most potential health benefits.
There is a second consideration for apple cider vinegar – the mother.
This term refers to the mass of enzymes that you’ll find in unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It doesn’t look attractive and tends to make the vinegar cloudy.
It will also settle on the bottom of the bottle, so you’ll need to disperse it before using the vinegar. The components of the mother are very important for health. As such, you should look for brands that are unfiltered. Many will even say that they include the mother.
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Some people do drink apple cider vinegar as a shot, but this isn’t recommended. Vinegar is harsh and can progressively damage your esophagus and the enamel on your teeth.
Alternative approaches include the following:
- Mix the vinegar with juice or water. Juice is often more effective, as the vinegar has a sharp taste.
- Include apple cider vinegar in recipes, like those for vinaigrettes.
- Create a more complex drink. This approach creates something much more palatable and gives you access to additional health benefits. For example, some ingredients that you could use include manuka honey, ginger, cinnamon and lemon juice. The video below showcases one drink that you can try.
Just make sure you’re careful with the dose. Vinegar is a common ingredient, but you don’t want to consume too much at a time.
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes
The recipes below offer some additional ways to consume apple cider vinegar regularly. They may be more appealing than drinking the vinegar.
Red Wine Vinegar vs Apple Cider Vinegar
Red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar share many health benefits.
There has been more research on apple cider vinegar, suggesting that its health benefits are more reliable. However, red wine vinegar contains some extra polyphenols. These may offer extra effects, especially in relation to heart health and cancer risk.
The end result is that both options are a good inclusion to your diet. You can choose to use one or both based on your preferences and desired outcomes.
Want to Improve Your Health?
Better health starts in the kitchen, with the food that you eat and the meals you prepare. Getting the best outcomes involves making good choices about the food and the ingredients that you use.
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