Why Balsamic Vinegar is Awesome: It Has Probiotics!

Note: This is the first post in a blog series that discusses Balsamic Vinegar’s health benefits. Click here to read the intro post.

“Probiotics” – We hear the term often; how much do we know?

Is this a buzzword leveraged by nefarious, snake-oil marketers? Are probiotics legitimately good for me? Wait… Balsamic Vinegar has probiotics?!

(Also – quick question – what, uhh, actually IS a “probiotic”? :upside_down: )

All very legitimate inquiries! Let’s break ’em down:

  1. We’ll start from the start – What is a probiotic? To paraphrase the gist of the Cleveland Clinic’s definition, a probiotic is anything that contains an amount of (good) bacteria that can further propagate in one’s GI tract.
  2. Are probiotics legitimately good for me? An emphatic YES. A healthy, diverse gut biome translates to a myriad of benefits with their importance being difficult to overstate. (More on these benefits soon…)
  3. Does slapping the word “probiotics” on a product mean anything? Yes – sometimes. And other times…? Let’s just say, “less than yes”. This, however, is something of a rabbit-hole topic that’s outside the scope of this blog post, and in fact, Big Horn’s purview1.
  4. Balsamic Vinegar (BV) has probiotics!? Yes! Indeed, the delicious stuff most certainly does! And while we’ll discuss this further, we should continue establishing some probiotic background with some quick facts. :slight_smile:

The Facts2:

Time after time, compelling evidence suggests that diets promoting diverse and healthy gut fauna (read: a diet high in prebiotics3 and probiotics) is a significant boon for one’s overall good health and happiness.

Probiotics can play a big role in support of an overall healthy microbiome4. Put simply, a flourishing microbiome helps maintain and support:

  • A Robust Immune System (Good bacteria literally counteracts bad bacteria!)
  • Proper Digestion
  • Healthy Cholesterol Levels
  • Nutrient Absorption
  • The Breakdown and Absorption of Medications
  • A Reduction in Skin Disorders and Allergies
  • A Reduction in GI Issues

Incorporating probiotics with purpose into one’s diet seems like a no-brainer, right?! Right. And one easy and extremely tasty way to do so is with BV!

What Grants Balsamic Vinegar the Coveted “Probiotic Status”?

A little sumthin’ sumthin’ called “Acetic Acid” is our hero here, and it’s created in BV through the process of fermentation5.

Acetic acid – in spite of it’s vaguely aggressive-sounding name – is pretty much a fancy way of saying “vinegar”.

After balsamic-bound grapes are harvested, pressed, and cooked to a reduction, the product is left to ferment. And here’s where the magic happens!

The acetic acid that’s created through fermentation contains lots of strains of beneficial bacteria, eventually destined to find a happy home in someone’s GI microbiome, providing them with those aforementioned benefits. BV for the W-I-N!

Does Big Horn’s Selection of Balsamic Vinegars Contain Probiotics?

Absolutely! :grin:

All of our BVs undergo the traditional production and fermentation process that yields a product with probiotic content.

Moreover, our BVs are void of any additives that could partially offset or entirely nullify any probiotic benefits! You’re not going to find added sugars, maltodextrin, corn syrup, or any artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Sucralose (yikes!) in our products.

Final Thoughts

Of course, this cursory overview of probiotics and how they pertain to BV just beings to scratch the surface of the topic. As you may have noticed, the footnotes alone may very well provoke more questions than they strive to answer. But the world of probiotics (and, of course, Nutrition as a whole) is an extensive topic that cannot be summed up in a single post.

We at Big Horn are merely passionate about our products and the health benefits they may deliver, but we strongly encourage everyone to speak with their healthcare providers and explore further research before simply “taking our word for it”.

Thanks for reading, and stay healthy:heart_exclamation:


Footnotes

Glad you’re here for the footnotes! Welcome to the weeds. :slight_smile:

1Our humble, non-dietitian (yet well-informed) suggestion?

Be sure to do a little reading on any available, independent research conducted against a product’s probiotic claims. Also, bear in mind that more often than not, whole, organic foods – rather than (or in addition to) supplements – tend to be the best source of probiotics and prebiotics3.

Proven, whole-food sources of probiotics include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Balsamic Vinegar (Check ’em out!)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Pickles

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2About the “Facts”…

Full disclosure – there’s still lots more research to be done surrounding the nitty gritty of probiotics.

As we know, the Scientific Method is a stringent, unemotional procedure that consists of observing something, researching the topic, formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, analyzing the data, reporting the findings, and then (likely) doing it alllll over again.

BUT, while the Scientific Method continues to test the virtues of probiotics on extremely granular levels, we can pretty much confidently rest assured that probiotics ARE – indeed – very good for us!

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3Ah, yes – Prebiotics! (Not to be confused with PRObiotics.)

Prebiotics are found in certain high-fiber foods with a non-human-digestible component that one’s gut bacteria readily feeds upon. Prebiotics are arguably (nearly) as important as probiotics since they’re what really supercharges the propagation and diversity of good gut flora. Don’t forget – a healthy gut biome is both prolific and diverse!

Where to find prebiotics? Again, whole, organic foods (rather than supplements) is the way to go:

  • Asparagus
  • Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and arugula to name just a few)
  • Bananas (Preferably green ones! To be honest, the greener the banana the better to attain the most prebiotic benefit. Less green also equates to a higher glycemic rating, and thus, a larger resulting insulin spike.)
  • Onions
  • Garlic

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to prebiotics, though. At the risk of being repetitious, we at Big Horn encourage anyone interested to do a little further outside reading!

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4Microbiome:

In this context, we’re referring to the microbiome of a human. It’s the microcosm of microorganisms living on, in, and – hopefully – harmoniously with us. And, maintaining its balance is rather important! While each human’s microbiome is different and specific to the individual, we all can do things that support its good health (e.g., consuming pre and probiotics).

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5Fermentation:

In basic terms, it is a process by which microorganisms are created and propagated. Acetic acid fermentation (to make various kinds of vinegars) is one of the oldest contexts in which humans have been leveraging fermentation.

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