Pickles are an inherent component of world cuisine. All cultures in the world relish the taste of pickles. They make delicious appetizers and are significant additions to meals. Pickles have a lot of health benefits, but they must be consumed in controlled quantity as they have some side effects too. Read on to explore all the extraordinary health benefits of a pickle.
What Are Pickles?
Pickles are either vegetables or fruits, placed in either a brine solution or acidifying solution. This advances the development of good bacteria, thus causing fermentation, which in turn gives the pickle its extra tanginess in flavor.
Each corner of the world has its own recipe of pickles, handed down over the years by their grandmothers and mothers. It isn’t limited in its taste and has wide ranges from sweet, salty, spicy hot, and whatnot.
A multitude of vegetables can be used namely dill, cucumber, cauliflower, onions, radishes, asparagus, green beans, cabbage, etc. Mostly unripened fruits are preferred for making pickles.
Nutrition Facts Of Pickles
- 1 cup of chopped or diced pickle, which is 143g, contains approximately 17.2 calories, where carbs are 13.4g, fat 1.7g and Protein 2.1g. The dietary fiber is 1.6g with no starch content. Sugars are as low as 1.9g.
- Trans fatty acids are not present at all. Pickle is abundant in omega-3 and omega-6, constituting 45.8mg and 34.3mg respectively. It is an outstanding source of Vitamin A(262 IU) and Vitamin K (55.8 mcg).
- Pickle is also high in calcium as 60.1mg, magnesium as 10mg, phosphorus as 17.2mg, potassium as 132 mg and sodium as 1251mg.
How Vegetables Are Preserved In The Pickles?
The process of preserving fruits or vegetables is called pickling. This can be done in three ways.
1.Quick Processed Pickle
Water, vinegar and pickling salt are the golden trinity when it comes to making the brine. The pickling salt is specifically chosen without iodine or anti-caking agents, which is present in the regular table salt. In Quickly processed pickles, the pickling process uses acetic acid from vinegar, and they are sold in supermarkets.
The packed jars are made by heating the pickled vegetables to 160 ºF. This process kills bacteria. The pickles get ready in about two weeks and stay fresh up to four months, provided they are appropriately stored in the fridge. These pickles are ideal for those who want to make them in a few days.
In this process, pickles undergo firstly the brine addition, followed by the creation of enough acidic environment, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. A lot of safety measures are taken. The ratio of salt, vegetables, and water are fixed and should not be altered. The only tested method recommended by the USDA is used. The usage of fermented food is just marvelous. The health benefits of fermented pickles are also high when compare to all the other two.
A uniform and accurately measured level of acid are maintained, and the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. The temperature, time and weight are set according to the recommendations, for the fermentation procedure. Producing the required acid and flavor compounds is critical.
There is a high demand in the European market, of the produce infused with liquor, to give an edgy, strong pickle. Minimal tools and ingredients are used, and they bring good revenue to the countries. Mason jars are preferred for infusing spirits like vodka, rum, tequila, etc. as they are easy to clean and seal tightly.
A peeler is used to remove the zest of the citrus fruits, wherein lies the best taste. A muddler is helpful for cutting and bruising additives. This releases the required dose of flavored compounds and essential oils, in the infused spirits.
Popular Types Of Pickle
They are made using fresh cucumbers fermented in salt, vinegar, dill seeds, water, garlic, red pepper and any other flavorings of choice.
Health Benefits of Dill Pickles
- Dill pickles are rich in vitamin K. This vitamin plays a significant role in blood clotting and bone health. It regulates the average turnover of minerals, thus keeping a check on bone density.
- It is high in sodium, which is an essential component to carry electrical impulses. Sodium is also responsible for blood pressure and regulation. One dill pickle spear is enough for a day.
- It contains 3-6% of daily iron, potassium and Vitamin B intake. Vitamin A is present in the form of carotenoids in the pickle, which is an antioxidant.
Fresh beetroots are used for pickling. They offer multiple health benefits.
Health Benefits of Pickled Beets
- They are low in saturated and trans- fat, which helps to manage weight and prevent heart disease.
- They have an ample amount of carbs, Vitamin A and dietary fiber for easy digestion.
- High potassium and magnesium content support proper neurotransmissions.
These pickles are very useful in preventing heart disease as they lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL.
Pickled Garlic Health Benefits
- They stabilize the blood pressure and remove harmful toxins from the system, thus providing good immunity.
- The chances of heart strokes are minimized as it prevents blood clotting.
- It also reduces fat production and keeps a check on blood sugar.
Ginger root can be pickled in a vinegar solution, along with seasonings as per choice.
Pickled Ginger Health Benefits
- Ginger is used for providing digestive relief in cases of gastric problem and nausea. It has anti-inflammatory properties to improve motion sickness and vomiting.
- It is also used as a palate cleanser; when it is consumed in small bites every day, it resets the taste buds and gives them a better ability to judge any flavor.
- It also lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation in diseases like arthritis.
Health Benefits Of Pickle
1.Great Source Of Antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables contain enough antioxidants that are required to maintain our well-being. In conventional food preparation, a lot of antioxidants are lost and deactivated, because of being subjected to high heat. But in the pickled state, they stay mostly preserved.
2.Improvement In Digestion
All of us experience gastric problems some time or the other, because of junk food consumption. The imbalanced bacterial activity can be treated by pickles, as they are Probiotic. Fermented pickles increase the number of good bacteria in the gut and improve the digestion process.
3.Keeps A Check On Diabetes
Pickles are naturally low in carbs and calories. Diabetes is caused by a higher number of HbA1C, which indicates poor glucose control. The acetic acid obtained through vegetables and fruits, improves HbA1C levels, thereby boosting blood sugar control.
4.Promotes Better Liver Health
Many varieties of pickles are helpful in removing toxins from the blood; they also improve the efficiency of the liver. Especially pickled gooseberries are capable of resetting hepatotoxicity. This assists the alcoholics in overcoming liver damage.
5.Improves The Stomach Health
Even though pickles are acidic, vinegar as an ingredient has multiple benefits. The health benefits of pickle include, it curbs the excessive production of gases and protects the stomach lining from acid damage. Hence, it is an excellent remedy for painful ulcerations and stomach cancer.
6.Effective In Weight Loss
Pickles is a good option to include more vegetables and fruits in our diet as it has fewer calories and rich in water content. However, the quantity shouldn’t exceed the safe limit, as this can cause sodium levels to shoot up. For example, Cucumber pickles, are rich in water content, contain low calories and are incredibly filling. All these features make them perfect when cravings hit.
7.A Remedy For Morning Sickness
Experiencing morning sickness is common for pregnant women during the early three months of their pregnancy. However, it can even last for the entire pregnancy session, for some women. Usually, nausea can be cured by the consumption of sour or tangy foods, and pickles qualify for both. The tartness helps in the suppression of vomiting.
8.Reduces Spleen Cancer
The spleen plays an essential role in maintaining our immunity and preserving good probiotic bacterial colonies; this prevents the chances of intestinal infection. Weak cultures of the mentioned bacteria can increase the possibility of spleen cancer.
9.Lowers Yeast Infection Risk
Yeast infections are the typical outcome of the vaginal microflora; it causes discomfort and consistent urge to scratch the private parts. Pickles maintains the optimal levels of probiotic bacteria, which help to control yeast growth.
10.Stress Relief And Better Mental Health
Cortisol strongly impacts mental health and anxiety. Vagus nerve serves as a significant connection between the stomach and the brain. Probiotic bacteria present in pickle shave a decisive role in the improvement of gut health, and because of Vagus, it also impacts the brain in a good way.
These microbiomes release a chemical called GABA that reduces cortisol and anxiety. Thus, consumption of pickles efficiently reduces the negative impact on our mental health so, we stay calmer and more grounded.
Ulcers are caused by hyperacidity and mucous membrane failure. They are painful swellings inside the mouth. Amla and gooseberry pickles are very helpful in minimizing ulcers.
They contain good colonies of probiotic bacteria, which help in health improvement and treatment of ulcers. They aid in the formation of new blood vessels that provide speedy recovery of ulcer wounds.
12.Contain Essential Minerals And Vitamins
According to the nutritional data, pickle is quite high in vitamins and minerals. These are crucial micronutrients that provide immunity, bone strength, eyesight, purifies the blood and cures anemia, etc.
13.Treats Restless Leg Syndrome
An intense workout session or scorching weather can sometimes lead to dehydration, salt loss, and muscle cramps. A loss of electrolytes and necessary body salt can occur during extensive sweating. Electrolytes are required to carry electrical impulses from one cell to another.
14. Pickles Add A Flavour To Food Without Adding The Calories
If you want to add a flavor you can do it in many ways. Starting from the sandwich, burger, and rice you can add any flavor like BBQ, bacon, cheese dressing, sauce, cheddar cheese, ranch. It would add a taste you want but these are very high in saturated fat and sugar content.
But with pickle, we add calories but in that too a very little. To say it exact, 7 per slice. Above all pickle is a vegetable so adding it will not increase the calorie content. It’s one of the main health benefits of a pickle.
15. With Probiotics Make Your Gut Healthy
Getting Probiotics from the item we eat helps improve the digestive function especially for those people with irritable bowel syndrome and some other stomach related issues. But how we get this Probiotics content is also important. Not all the created equally. For example, in traditional pickling, the kimchi and sauerkraut are prepared using the fermentation. Probiotics are formed only with the fermentation process. The pickles we buy at our supermarkets are not made out of fermentation. The pickles like lemon, mango, garlic everything go through the pickling process skipping this method. That’s why it has an extended shelf life. But normally when you make pickles at home it won’t a come along. To reap the Probiotics benefits it’s always good to prepare the pickles out of veggies in our home.
Pickles are rich in electrolytes and sodium content is a perfect solution for recovery. Even for people who complain of ‘night-time pain’ in legs, due to lack of magnesium or iron in their calves, should also consume pickles for pain relief. It is much convenient than any medication. Pickles are packed with essential minerals and antioxidants; they are immensely useful in treating restless leg syndrome.
Starting from your stomach health to weight loss and stress relief, health benefits of pickle are just countless. Apart from the pickle, pickle juice is also beneficial.
What Is Pickle Juice?
Pickle juice is basically the brine solution used for storing the vegetables. It is the juice which remains after the pickles are removed. The health benefits of pickle juice are listed below.
- A small intake of pickled juice helps improve sports performance.
- Muscle cramps are painful, and consumption of pickled juice combats pains 36% faster than the regular It causes the essential trigger for the nerves to stop cramping.
- The acidity in the juice restores the low gastric acid production and soothes the upset stomach.
- They are useful in treating hangovers.
- A paper bag soaked in pickle juice can be applied to the sunburns.
- The juice is productive in treating menstrual cramps, the same way it helps with other muscle spasms.
- It boosts digestion and immunity, thereby reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. However, the pickled vegetables are more effective.
- It lowers the blood sugar level which spikes after a meal. Hence, it helps in the prevention of type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Side Effects Of Pickles
Pickles are great to maintain health but only when consumed moderately. When taken more the recommended dose, they can pose some serious threats to the body.
- They can upset the digestion and cause flatulence and abdominal pain; the body can find it difficult to adapt to new food items.
- Pickles are high in sodium, which increases water retention in the body. Considerable bloating and swelling can occur; they can even be painful without medical treatment.
- Excess fluid retention after high sodium intake can increase the volume of blood plasma; this can lead to high blood pressure.
- The kidneys would feel the pressure of removing a high amount of salt in the blood. They have the function to keep in necessary nutrients and filter out harmful toxins. This imbalance can place considerable risk upon the kidneys.
- It increases the risk of oesophageal and gastric cancer.
No doubt, pickles are a vital part of our diet. Not only it adds to the taste, but also additional antioxidants, not available in cooked vegetables. We can reap all the health benefits of a pickle by eating a small dose every day. Else, we can risk our own health and invite in a lot of health problems.