Pickles: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pickles: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

At the dawn of human civilization, pickling remained the only way of food preservation.

When modern refrigeration was born and has become popular like nowadays, many people have forgotten the importance of pickling.

However, it is undeniable that it has been one of the most traditional tools to preserve foods effectively.

The origin of this method was from India approximately 4,000 – 5,000 years ago.

Due to the hot weather and water shortage in summer in these areas, foods become less available.

As a result, people had to come up with a method to keep excessive foods in other seasons to make up for this difficulty.

Normally, pickles come from the combination of salted cucumbers and some vegetables dipped in vinegar.

There are numerous ways to make cucumber pickles, namely, fermented, crock, quick process or freezer…

Even though many people claim that pickles will cause the loss of nutrients, pickles are still very popular in the world.

Let’s examine pickles nutrition first to explain for this behavior.

Nutrition Facts

Pickles - Nutrition Facts

To help you have a quick understanding of pickles nutrition facts, we will shed light on sour cucumber pickles.

Pickles consist of mainly water with slightly over 94 percent of its content (1).

In fact, it is an extremely low calorie food as 100 grams provide only 11 kcal.

When it comes to pickles nutrition, it is important to mention carbs, proteins, sugars and dietary fiber.

In addition, pickles contain considerable amounts of different minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, iron or sodium…

Pickles are also full of vitamins, namely, A, B, C, D, E and K.

Health Benefits of Pickles

There are many benefits behind the consumption of pickles. Particularly, when pickles experience fermentation, it is highly possible that you will get extra benefits thanks to microorganisms.

Here are top 7 health benefits of pickles that have gotten support from scientific studies for years.

1. Antioxidants

One of the best health benefits of pickles is to provide you with a huge amount of antioxidants.

People often choose unripe fruits or fresh vegetables to make pickles. Therefore, they still contain antioxidants.

These antioxidants can have many positive effects on your health.

There is a close association between antioxidants and the hinderance of free radicals in the body (234).

Free radicals are hazardous to our cells and DNA. Their uncontrolled growth might lead to serious problems, such as cancer.

Bottom Line: Pickles supply your body with antioxidants to fight against risky effects of free radicals.

2. Digestion

Pickles - Digestion

Another among top health benefits of pickles is its effectiveness to enhance your digestion by supporting good bacteria.

Probiotic bacteria play an important role in the food digestion. Nevertheless, in some cases, antiobiotics might eradicate these bacteria.

As a consequence, you may suffer from some digestive problems.

Pickles which result from natural fermentation can stimulate the activity of probiotic bacteria (567).

This will help guarantee the normal function of our digestive system.

Bottom Line: As fermented pickles facilitate the friendly bacteria, pickles can foster the digestive system.

3. Diabetes

One of the main ingredients to make pickles is the vinegar, which mainly constitutes benefits of pickles on the diabetes treatment.

Vinegar has great effects on the level of hemoglobin, which helps diabetic patients control their problems more easily (8).

This quality comes from the presence of acetic acid.

Nevertheless, those with diabetes should use pickles with much attention. If the intake of pickles becomes excessive, its salt might raise the blood pressure.

Bottom Line: One of pickles’ ingredients, vinegar, can improve the hemoglobin level, which is beneficial for the treatment of diabetes.

4. Bone Health

Thanks to its richness of minerals, one of the best pickles health benefits is to strengthen your bones.

There is no denying that minerals, from calcium, iron to potassium, contribute to higher bone density and the prevention against bone-related problems (91011).

In one study with 266 elderly women, the supplement of potassium resulted in an improvement in their bone density. The result showed that the risk of osteoporosis was much lower (12).

Bottom Line: Because of its high content of essential minerals, pickles can help you stay away from bone loss and osteoporosis.

5. Vision

If minerals are responsible for benefits of pickles on the bones, then vitamins will be the stars in pickles health benefits on your eyes.

The amount of vitamin A in pickles is sufficient to strengthen your eye health and help you avoid vision-related problems when you get older (13).

6. Immunity

When it comes to vitamin C, you probably think of its effects on the immune system instantly.

It is true that one of the best health benefits of pickles is to support your immunity considerably.

Many studies have confirmed the link between the supplement of vitamin C and a stronger immune system (1415).

7. Muscle Cramps

Pickles - Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps will cause you to experience many discomforts at any time.

However, some studies have suggested that benefits of pickles on coping with muscle cramps are real.

The recommendation is to consume pickle juice which accelerates the recovery up to 45 percent (16).

Researchers explained that pickle juice may affect the nerve to put an end to cramping, even though the conclusion is not clear.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to have more studies for harder evidence.

Side Effects

In spite of a wide range of pickles health benefits, it is not suitable for everybody to use this food.

Those who experience gout had better not use pickles due to its acidity.

Besides, the excessive consumption of pickles might trigger some digestive problems, namely, diarrhea or stomach pain.

On the other hand, the high content of sodium and salt in pickles may cause you to suffer from bloating, water retention or swelling.

In some severe cases, your blood pressure will be higher and go beyond your control, which puts your life in danger.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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