17 Health Benefits + Uses of Red Wine Vinegar

Until relatively recently, I was not all that familiar with red wine vinegar.

red wine vinegar decanter

I actually discovered it when I recently got into eating Kalamata olives.

These types of olives are frequently cured in red wine vinegar.

In this article, I am going to share everything that I have since then learned about red wine vinegar and its many health benefits.

If you want to learn more about Kalamata olives, please see my article titled “Kalamata Olives Benefits.”

Let's get started learning about red wine vinegar!

What is Red Wine Vinegar?

Red wine vinegar is simply fermented red wine.

Rather like alcohol, red wine vinegar may be aged only briefly (or not at all) or it may be aged for a lengthy period of time.

The quality of the resulting product likewise depends upon how long it has been aged.

As with alcohol, the "fresh" variety is largely undesirable.

Actually, this is because the fermentation process results in a reduction in alcohol and a subsequent increase in acid content.

Newly-fermented red wine vinegar thus is very sharp.

Aging the red wine vinegar takes away a bit of this acidic edge, making for a more balanced, subtle flavor profile.

Naturally, you will generally pay more for well-aged red wine vinegar.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine. It has an acidic flavor, but if you purchase well-aged red wine vinegar, it is less sharp and more balanced.

​What Can You Do With Red Wine Vinegar?

There are a few different ways that you can use red wine vinegar in your kitchen:

  • As mentioned previously, it can be good for curing olives.
  • If you need to tenderize meat, red wine vinegar can do the trick.
  • Red wine vinegar can be added to salad and other dishes to enhance their flavor.
  • Another thing you can do with red wine vinegar is simply use it as a supplement.

You will find that there are numerous recipes you can try which include red wine vinegar as an ingredient.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar can enhance recipes, help tenderize meat, and cure olives.

​Where Can You Get Red Wine Vinegar?

You have two options when it comes to obtaining red wine vinegar. You can buy at the store, or you can make it at home.

As red wine vinegar is a common ingredient in so many recipes worldwide, it should be pretty easy to locate one or more brands at a local grocery store.

red wine vinegar bowl

If you are interested in making red wine vinegar yourself, it is relatively easy to do.

The only ingredients which you need are red wine, water, and mother of vinegar.

If you’re not sure where to get mother of vinegar, the simplest solution is usually just to purchase some form of unpasteurized vinegar which includes it.

To keep the flavors as consistent as possible, you actually will probably end up purchasing a bottle of red wine vinegar for this purpose.

You simply dispose of the unwanted liquid, reserving the mother of vinegar to use in your recipe.

You can see the steps in full here (1).

Is quick and easy to set up the jar of red wine vinegar ingredients to ferment, but do not forget that you will need to give it a few weeks to complete the process.

So plan ahead so that your red wine vinegar will be ready in time to use in time for your recipes.

Remember, the more weeks you allow for the aging process, the more mellow and less acidic the flavor of your red wine vinegar will be.

You might even want to think about producing it in bulk and then bottling it.

After all, the longer it sits without being used, the better it will be. So each bottle should taste better than the last.

If you have some extras, you can gift them to friends and family. Homemade red wine vinegar can be a delightful treat!

KEY POINT: You can purchase red wine vinegar at the store, or you can make it at home using water, red wine, and mother of vinegar.

​17 ​Health Benefits and Uses
of ​Red Wine Vinegar​

​You now know what red wine vinegar is, how to make it, and where to purchase it. You also are aware of how it can help you out in the kitchen.

While this type of vinegar is enjoyable for its flavors, its advantages go far beyond delighting your taste buds.

Below, you can discover some of red wine vinegar’s great health benefits.

1. Facilitate weight loss.

Red wine vinegar is rich in acetic acid.

Through the up regulation of gene expression, acetic acid is able to combat the accumulation of body fat (2).

Additionally, acetic acid may be able to help you feel more full (3, 4).

The mechanism for this action seems to be suppression of ghrelin, which is a hormone involved in the feeling of hunger.

When you feel satisfied after meal, the temptation to overeat declines.

Both of these mechanisms may make red wine vinegar useful as a weight-loss aid.

KEY POINT: If you want to make your meals more satiating, consider adding some red wine vinegar to them.

This may also fight fat accumulation through gene expression.

2. Fight metabolic syndrome.

This study from Japan (2) looked into whether vinegar has other benefits for those who are obese.

The researchers discovered that vinegar consumption led to a number of improvements.

They reported that,

"Body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in both vinegar intake groups than in the placebo group. In conclusion, daily intake of vinegar might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.”

KEY POINT: By improving BMI, body weight, waistline measurements, visceral fat, and triglycerides, vinegar may be able to prevent or treat metabolic syndrome.

This in turn can make heart disease less likely (see the benefit below).

3. Reduce triglyceride levels and prevent heart disease.

As mentioned above, one of the cardiovascular benefits of consuming more vinegar is reducing the levels of your triglycerides.

High triglyceride levels have been linked to ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and higher associated death counts (3).

That means that by reducing your triglycerides, vinegar may be able to assist you in reducing your risk of heart disease.

It may also lower your chances of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

KEY POINT: Consuming more vinegar can result in a drop in triglyceride levels as well as reduced risk of heart disease.

4. Help control blood glucose and combat diabetes.

As you might guess given its other cardiovascular benefits, red wine vinegar has benefits for pre-diabetics and diabetics.

man testing blood sugar levels

First of all, you already know that red wine vinegar can fight obesity and reduce triglycerides.

These are important steps in combating diabetes.

But red wine vinegar has another benefit for diabetics as well.

Thanks to its acetic acid content, it is able to help regulate blood glucose.

There are quite a few research studies which back this benefit.

If you are concerned about elevated blood pressure after you eat, vinegar can help to reduce this effect (4).

If you consume vinegar before you go to sleep, your blood sugar on waking up could be 4-6% lower than it would be if you did not do this (5).

This indicates that the benefits for blood glucose stick around even hours after consumption.

Reducing carbohydrates is a good way to fight diabetes, but if you do eat carbs, you can help to curb their adverse glycemic effects a bit with the help of some vinegar (6).

This research (7) affirms the earlier benefits for lowering triglycerides, and also found that postprandial insulin and muscle-glucose uptake are improved when a meal includes vinegar.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar can help to control blood sugar.

Between this and its other cardiovascular benefits, it makes an excellent choice for diabetic and pre-diabetic patients who want to fight the disease.

5. Increase the population of healthy bacteria residing in your digestive tract.

Looking for a probiotic which can nourish your digestive tract?

One way to replenish the healthy flora in your gut is to consume more red wine vinegar (8).

You need these bacteria in order to break down the food which you eat (9, 10).

It is important to be aware however that not all red wine vinegar products contain live bacteria.

Those which have been pasteurized are devoid of these healthy organisms.

So if you want to get the probiotic benefit, shop specifically for unpasteurized red wine vinegar.

KEY POINT: If the red wine vinegar you purchase is unpasteurized, it contains healthy probiotics which are good for your digestive system.

6. Possibly fight acid reflux.

While we're on the topic of digestive benefits of vinegar, we should touch down on the topic of acid reflux.

You may have read at some point that vinegar is a helpful remedy for heartburn.

In actuality, there is not sufficient data to support this use.

Nonetheless, anecdotally, it has become a very popular remedy.

I have tried using vinegar for this purpose and have achieved zero in the way of results.

But I have met other people who have sworn by it.

Heartburn can be associated with overproduction or under production (ironically) of stomach acid.

It's easy to see why vinegar might be helpful in the latter case.

On that same token, however, it is also possible it could exacerbate cases of acid reflux with the opposite cause (which I suspect to have been the case with me).

Regardless, it is something you can try if you are interested.

If (like me) you find that it does not get you the results you are after, there are some other home remedies you can try.

I have found licorice to be far more effective than anything else I have tried for heartburn, and recommend it as an alternative.

Make sure that if you try it, you purchase candy which contains actual licorice, not just the anise flavoring.

Just one or two pieces of licorice usually can decrease my acid reflux symptoms by 50% or more in a matter of minutes. I eat the Klene brand.

KEY POINT: Many people recommend various forms of vinegar as a remedy for acid reflux.

This use is anecdotal only, but perhaps it will work out for you.

7. Increase HDL with healthy polyphenols.

You are likely aware that red wine is frequently touted as an extremely healthy beverage because of the high amount of polyphenols which it contains.

The same polyphenols are present in vinegar which has been made out of red wine.

These polyphenols can boost HDL in your body (11, 12, 13).

This is yet another way in which red wine vinegar can fight metabolic syndrome and improve cardiovascular health.

It is worth noting that polyphenols are also present in white wine and vinegar produced from it.

But the entire reason why red wine has that color is thanks to the increased presence of polyphenols.

As a result, red wine vinegar is a better option for improving HDL than white wine vinegar.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar is abundant in polyphenols, and can increase HDL.

​8. Possibly improve blood pressure.

You now know the impact of red wine vinegar on markers such as HDL and triglycerides. But what about blood pressure?

Checking blood pressure

There is some initial research which has been conducted on animals that indicates that the acetic acid which is present in red wine vinegar could help to reduce blood pressure (14, 15).

More research is needed in this area, but it looks to be another possible benefit.

KEY POINT: Research on humans is still lacking, but there are some studies on animals which show decreased blood pressure in response to vinegar consumption.

9. Reduce your chances of getting food poisoning.

Food poisoning is no walk in the park, as you likely know.

Most people will experience a bout of it at some point or other (probably quite a few times over a lifetime).

A mild case may only leave you feeling like crap for a few hours or days, but a severe enough infection could send you to the hospital or even kill you.

Even a moderate case of food poisoning can have long-term health consequences.

I ate some bad meat a number of years back, and came down with post-infectious IBS.

It lasted for around three years. I pretty much felt mildly to moderately sick all the time for months on end in the beginning.

Anyway, obviously anything you can do to prevent food poisoning is a good thing.

One way you might be able to reduce your chances of contracting an infection is by eating more red wine vinegar with your meals.

This benefit again goes back to acetic acid. Research shows that this is some powerful stuff.

Just look at all these studies (16, 17, 18, 19) which show that acetic acid can eliminate e-coli and other nasty pathogens you do not want infecting your body.

I doubt that a little vinegar on my Reuben sandwich would have spared me from food poisoning, but who knows​ - maybe it would have made it all a little less awful.

That would have been nice. 

KEY POINT: Quite a bit of research shows that you can combat food-borne pathogens with acetic acid, and thus with red wine vinegar.

10. Treat wounds.

Once I found out that you can fight ingested bacteria using red wine vinegar, I got to wondering whether vinegar also can work as a treatment for external infections.

I found this study (20) which concludes that,

​“Acetic acid is to be kept in mind as one of the alternatives when infection is caused by multiple antibiotic resistant strains of .”

​​​P. aeruginosa can complicate burn wounds.

Treating these and other wounds with vinegar may help to stave off infections in cases where antibiotics are not a reliable line of defense.

This too is a matter I can comment on personally.

I have had active MRSA infections twice, and it was certainly an educational (and unwanted) experience which taught me a lot about antibiotic resistance, and what a serious problem it is.

In a world where over-reliance on antibiotics has actually created worse health problems, hopefully there will be more research into acetic acid and other solutions which could help keep these pathogens under control.

11. Potentially fight cancer.

One of the reasons that people drink red wine for their health is because it contains resveratrol.

This phenol compound is lauded for a number of health benefits (I will share a couple more with you below), but one of the most exciting is its anti-carcinogenic activity.

This study mentions (21),

“In fact, recently, it has been demonstrated that the stilbene blocks the multistep process of carcinogenesis at various stages: tumour initiation, promotion and progression.”

In case you are wondering what “stilbene” is, this is a reference to 3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene, which is simply another name for resveratrol.

It is quite exciting that resveratrol can assist with treating cancer at all of these stages, making it an appropriate dietary addition for cancer patients with a wide range of situations.

KEY POINT: The resveratrol in red wine vinegar has shown promise against carcinogenesis.

​​12. Possibly increase lifespan.

The same reference above (21) states,

“More recent results provide interesting insights into the effect of this compound on the life span of yeasts and flies, implicating the potential of resveratrol as an anti-aging agent in treating age-related human diseases.”

This may be due at least in part to the antioxidant properties of resveratrol.

Many age-related diseases develop through oxidative damage.

happy elderly sitting on beach

By counteracting that process, antioxidants like resveratrol can prevent or slow these diseases and help preserve some of the qualities of youth.

Curiously (and less discussed), resveratrol is also a pro-oxidant.

That might sound like a bad thing, but according to the linked research, Iit has also been shown that resveratrol can exhibit pro-oxidant properties, leading to oxidative breakage of cellular DNA in the presence of transition metal ions such as copper.

Recently, it has been proposed that such a pro-oxidant action could be a common mechanism for anticancer and chemopreventive properties of plant polyphenols.

So it would seem that both the antioxidant and pro-oxidant properties of resveratrol may be beneficial for human health.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar’s resveratrol is both a pro-oxidant and antioxidant.

The pro-oxidant properties may be responsible for its anticarcinogenic effects, while its antioxidant properties may help to fight age-related diseases.

​13. Reduce inflammation.

The resource (21) cited for the previous two benefits also mentions that resveratrol can fight inflammation.

This is also something which I have been doing a lot of research around lately.

Recently I have learned that inflammatory compounds in the body called prostaglandins are probably in part responsible for the flares of my chronic pain issues.

Unfortunately, there really does not seem to be a lot one can do about prostaglandins.

Even though they often exceed their functional role and contribute to pathogenesis, there are few lines of defense beyond N-SAIDs and COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors.

Both can only do so much to help, and both can come with a slew of problems of their own.

So if you are fighting to curb the fires of inflammation, you pretty much want to rely on a full arsenal of safe, healthy, natural anti-inflammatory agents.

They will be most effective if you consume them on a regular basis, and avoid pro-inflammatory foods (i.e. fried foods).

So red wine vinegar may be a great addition to your diet if you, like me, have issues involving chronic inflammation.

KEY POINT: Because red wine vinegar contains resveratrol, it is able to counteract inflammation and help thwart conditions which involve high degrees of inflammatory compounds.

14. Boost your intake of magnesium and calcium.

Magnesium and calcium are both nutrients which a lot of people struggle to get enough of.

Calcium is particularly important as people get older since it can help to improve bone density and prevent fractures (22).

As to magnesium, even in developed countries such as the United States, insufficient intake is prevalent (23).

Your body requires magnesium for a number of different purposes, including proper functioning and maintenance of muscle tissue.

If you add some red wine vinegar to a meal which contains calcium or magnesium, your body has an easier time absorbing them (24).

Feasibly, you could also do this when taking supplements.

That means that you can enjoy more of their benefits, and you will be less likely to be deficient in either.

KEY POINT: You can increase your intake of calcium and magnesium with the help of red wine vinegar.

15. Possibly reduce problems with heart palpitations.

If you experience heart palpitations (irregular beats of the heart), there is a chance that your episodes could be reduced with the help of red wine vinegar.

A study was conducted (25) on a specialized beverage which combined grape juice with wine vinegar.

The researchers found that there were improvements with mean blood pressure and heart rate, and recommended that “the new beverage may be useful for people who are worried about palpitation and/or hypertension.”

It was noted that this study only provided data on the effects of the beverage as a whole.

So whether it was compounds from the grape juice, the wine vinegar, or both which led to improvements is unknown at this point.

KEY POINT: A study on a grape juice beverage with wine vinegar showed health benefits for blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.

The effects might have come from the wine vinegar, but could also be the result of the grape juice.

16. There is some modest nutritional value.

Here (26) you can view a list of the nutrients in one cup of red wine vinegar.

You will notice that this type of vinegar contains some vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, copper, and manganese.

While this is great in terms of variety, you will notice that the amounts are pretty miniscule.

Still, some minerals are certainly better than none. The major benefits however are from the aforementioned polyphenols.

KEY POINT: Red wine vinegar is a modest source of a number of different minerals.

17. Replace unhealthy skincare products.

Finally, one further benefit of red wine vinegar is that it possesses astringent qualities.

If you suffer from acne, you probably have one or more astringent products in your bathroom right now.

Hopefully, you are already using something innocuous like witch hazel, but you might be using a product with unnecessary additives.

If that is the case, you could consider replacing it with red wine vinegar.

Just keep in mind that the acidic nature of vinegar can make it quite harsh on sensitive skin.

So when you are applying it, just dab it on lightly. Do not press it against your skin for an extended time, and keep it away from the skin around your eyes.

Regarding that issue with sensitive skin around the eyes, that is a lesson I learned through unpleasant experience.

While attempting to use vinegar to treat an infection nearby my eye, I managed to burn my skin, leaving a scar which made my eye look tired and puffy.

It instantly added about five years onto my appearance.

KEY POINT: You can use red wine vinegar as a replacement for astringent skincare products. Just be careful not to burn your skin.

​Does Red Wine Vinegar Have Any Disadvantages?

Acid can wear down on teeth (27) as well as the esophagus (28).

If you're going to be consuming it on a daily basis, you will need to make sure that you are not damaging either.

The easiest way to do this is simply to water down the vinegar before you drink it.

You should plan on filling an entire glass with water and mixing in just a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

KEY POINT: While red wine vinegar is on the whole a healthy choice, its high acid content can damage the teeth and esophagus if it is not diluted properly and you drink it on a regular basis.

​Conclusion: Red Wine Vinegar Is a Healthy and Delicious Source of Polyphenols

Even though red wine vinegar doesn’t offer tremendous amounts of minerals or vitamins, it is a rich source of polyphenols such as resveratrol.

Thanks to its polyphenol content and other impressive properties, it can improve cardiovascular health, fight diabetes and cancer, reduce inflammation, and combat oxidative stress.

Now that I know just how beneficial red wine vinegar can be, I am definitely going to be picking some up and pouring it over more of my salads.

Head to your local supermarket, and you probably will find red wine vinegar in stock. You can also shop for it online.

If you prefer, you can make your own out of your favorite red wine. Then you have a customized vinegar which you can use to enhance your recipes.

Enjoy red wine vinegar and all of its advantages for health!

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  • Updated February 15, 2019

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