Pickles have been forever praised for bringing the flavor burst into any meals. The complex spice blend along with salty and tangy taste makes them hard to miss even on a sumptuous spread. But the question always arises if these natural preserves are good for health. With rising awareness to eat healthy food, pickles are being questioned on their contribution to a healthy lifestyle. Many of us are aware that the mass-manufactured pickles are packed with preservatives and additives to prolong the shelf life of pickles but these have been found to have ill effects on our health. Furthermore, the bottles topped with oil of low grade quality have been found to have serious implications on the heart functions. These rising concerns have made many of us swear off pickles!
But before the advent of the pickle factory, every household would make pickles traditionally using the homegrown/local vegetables and spices with age-old recipes to make the healthy pickles. These pickles were consumed to enhance the general health of a person. Moreover, these pickles would last for a year or two easily. Studies have been carried out to analyze the effects of such fermented pickles and they seem to have been adding goodness one small spoon at a time. Below are four such reasons that have been backed by scientific literature to show you the benefits of eating pickles.
Indian pickles are storehouses for multiple health benefits primarily because of the bacteria present which not only do they preserve the vegetable but also contribute to our gut microbiome and ease our digestion. Numerous studies have claimed that the fermented pickle holds a probiotic culture of 10^6- 10^7CFU/g, this concentration of good bacteria are known to play therapeutic roles in our body [Sudanshu S. Behera et al., 2020]. The most common bacteria found in the fermented pickles are the Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), which strengthen the immune system because of their properties that are antiviral, antifungal, antimutagenic, and antiplatelet aggregation. Additionally, LAB’s are known to lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent cancers [Rakhi Chakraborty & Swarnendu Roy, 2018]. Homemade pickle is your personal jar of probiotic shots which you can enjoy regularly.
According to the current study by Sayin & Alkan, 2015, suggests that vegetables that are rich in total phenolic show strong antioxidants. So the pickles of garlic, chili and white cabbage respectively showed the highest Antioxidant Capacity. Also, LAB fermented vegetables contain pigments such as flavonoids, lycopene, anthocyanin, 𝛽-carotene, and glucosinolates. These phytochemicals act as antioxidants in the body by scavenging harmful free radicals implicated in degenerative diseases like cancer, arthritis, and aging [Rakhi Chakraborty & Swarnendu Roy, 2018]. So, if you find yourself craving garlic or chilli pickle, just go for it!
Regulates blood-sugar level
Dietary fiber is found in fermented pickles, and it has been shown that people who consume more fiber have lower rates of diabetes and obesity. Probiotic and low-fat (2–5%) pickle supplements demonstrate a lower risk of diabetes and its consequences by significantly delaying hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, and oxidative stress [Sudanshu et al., 2020]. So, opt for oil free and sugar free pickles that are traditionally made to fully utilize this benefit offered by pickles.
Source of Nutrients
The presence of Lactase converts lactose to galactose. Galactose is a crucial component of cerebroside, which can aid in an infant’s brain growth. Another product of Lactic acid fermentation is Lactic acid which is believed to improve calcium, phosphorus, and iron absorption and hence further adsorption of iron and vitamin D [Swain et al., 2014] thereby fulfilling the need of these micronutrients which are essential for normal functioning of the blood, brain and body. Moderately consuming pickles will benefit health by providing these elusive nutrients which often get lost in our everyday cooked meals.
The key to consuming any pickle is moderation. Although pickles have the above advantages they do have their share of shortcomings. Naturally, pickles have excess oil and salt that helps in preservation but these are not good for individuals suffering with high blood pressure. There are some other pickles that are preserved with sugar, so such pickles are not advisable for diabetic patients. And for the general public, the preservatives present in them have been linked to be carcinogenic, hence such pickles are a huge concern for health. So it is recommended to check the labels before buying any store bought pickles to ensure you buy the ones made with natural preservatives and limit the harmful effects to the body. But if they are homemade pickles, it’s better to consume them moderately to reap the goodness of the pickles.
If you wish to try some oil-free, preservative-free and traditional made pickles, then head to our website ( www.farmdidi.com) and order yours now!
- Behera, Sudhanshu S., et al. “Traditionally fermented pickles: How the microbial diversity associated with their nutritional and health benefits?.” Journal of Functional Foods 70 (2020): 103971.
- Chakraborty R, Roy S. “Exploration of the diversity and associated health benefits of traditional pickles from the Himalayan and adjacent hilly regions of Indian subcontinent”. J Food Sci Technol. 2018 May;55(5):1599-1613. doi: 10.1007/s13197-018-3080-7. Epub 2018 Mar 6. PMID: 29666512; PMCID: PMC5897286
- Sayin, F. Kübra, and S. Burçin Alkan. “The effect of pickling on total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity of 10 vegetables.” Food and Health 1.3 (2015): 135-141.
- Swain, Manas Ranjan, et al. “Fermented fruits and vegetables of Asia: a potential source of probiotics.” Biotechnology research international 2014 (2014).