Pickling vegetables and raw fruits for preservation and later consumption is a practice that many countries across the world have developed. You will find different versions of the preparation in cultures like Germany, India, China, Japan, Korea, and many more. People have been aware of the health benefits of pickles for centuries. And, have eaten the sides as accompaniments with their meals. These preserves are typically made using the process of fermentation. Chefs and homemakers traditionally use several additional ingredients like salt, oil, dry chili powder, and various other spices to make pickles.
Health Benefits of Pickles You Never Knew
Pickles Contain Active Antioxidants
Research has found that pickled vegetables and raw fruits contain their entire nutrient value that cooking may otherwise break down. For this reason, they contribute more antioxidants to your body that can fight the free radicals and toxic elements that build up in the body. These free radicals can cause cell damage and even trigger DNA mutations in your cells that eventually lead to cancer.
Pickles Contain Probiotics
The fermentation process adds a healthy amount of probiotics or healthy bacteria to the pickles in addition to preventing the food from spoiling. During the fermentation, the bacteria breaks down the cellulose content and natural sugars in the fruits and vegetables. Further, this bacteria keeps your gut healthy when you consume them in the pickles. Keep in mind that probiotics can make food easy to digest and they are the reason why lactose-intolerant people can safely eat yogurt.
Pickles Improve Your Digestion
Your gut contains various kinds of helpful probiotic flora that help in digestion. When you take antibiotics to fight bacterial infections, you may also destroy the friendly bacteria. By eating fermented pickles, you can replace the essential bacteria in your gut so you remain healthy. However, if you’re eating pickles for their probiotic content, it is important that you choose the varieties that don’t contain vinegar.
Pickles Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
If you’re diabetic, use the health benefits of pickles to bring down your levels of blood glucose. That’s because the acetic acid present in the vinegar used in pickles works to raise hemoglobin in your blood. As a result, you have better blood circulation and higher metabolism levels.
Pickles Provide Vitamins and Minerals
As mentioned earlier, cooking by heating often destroys some of the vitamins and minerals present in your vegetables and fruits. For this reason, nutritionists recommend that you eat more of fresh fruits and salads. When these farm products are fermented to make pickles, their nutrients are preserved intact.
As a result, by eating pickled produce, you can get high amounts of vitamins A and C. You also get more of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and folates. These vitamins and minerals, in turn, help you avoid health issues like anemia, osteoporosis, vision loss, and susceptibility to diseases among others. The addition of spices to the pickles can further raise their nutritive values.
Precautions to take When Consuming Pickles
Regular consumption can help you get the various health benefits of pickles. However, you may want to be careful about the portion sizes you eat. Also, keep a careful watch on the additional ingredients in the preparations. That’s because most pickles contain excessive amounts of salt that works as an antimicrobial agent. The salt helps to keep away the yeast, fungi, and bacteria that can spoil the food. But can also cause high blood pressure because of the high sodium. You may also want to be wary of the oil content in the pickles that can raise cholesterol levels in your blood.
To get the complete health benefits of pickles and avoid the potential risks, you may want to consume them in moderation. Also, keep a careful watch on the additional ingredients that go into each preparation.