We eat pickles occasionally with a burger and many other items. Sometimes we buy them from the grocery market or even make them at home. But, sometimes you might wonder, are pickles healthy?
Pickles are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. As for the benefits, it helps digestion, lowers the risk of heart disease, fights diseases, reduces the risk of diabetes, controls blood sugar, and so on. We can make them at home and serve them with different items.
That was just an overview. Stay with us to learn more about pickles and their nutrition.
Nutritional Value of Pickles
Pickles are a popular snack food that is made from cucumbers that have been fermented in a brine solution. Pickles are typically high in sodium and vinegar, but they also contain some nutrients, including vitamins A and K, as well as potassium and magnesium.
As we already know, pickles mostly contain water. But as for the nutrition facts, that varies depending on what type of pickles we are talking about.
Whatever the type or taste pickles have, it comes full of nutrition. For example, the nutrition value of a dill pickle or cucumber (35 grams);
|Nutrient||Amount per 35 grams (1 dill pickle)||Percent Daily Value (%DV)|
|Vitamin K||||20% of DV|
|Vitamin C||||4% of DV|
|Vitamin A||||1% of DV|
|Calcium||||6% of DV|
|Total fat||0.5 g||1%|
Vitamin A, C, and K help your body to improve the immune system and vision, protects your body cell, and helps keep your bones strong.
Besides, calcium and potassium are suitable for your nerves, bones, and teeth. But sometimes, there is an issue with your high blood pressure or sensitivity to sodium. Then you might check how much you’re consuming.
Related Article: Are Pickled Onions Good for You? [Heart and Gut Health]
Health Benefits of Pickles
Pickles are a great source of many regular vitamins and minerals that we usually consume. Not just that, those vitamins and other nutrients also have many benefits.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Pickles are suitable for your gut health. Pickles come with a good bacteria called probiotics. Those bacteria’s help your body;
- To digest food.
- Prevent harmful bacteria from getting into your body system.
- Properly help your medications to work.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Pickles are full of beta-carotene. Beta carotene is not just good for your immune system but also helps you to fight heart diseases.
Besides, it improves your skin, lowers the risk of heart diseases, and keeps your overall heart health in check.
Pickles contain carotenoids, which turn into vitamin A in your body. These help lower the chance of various diseases and maintain your health. Pickles, especially those made through fermentation, may contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
May Ease Muscle Cramps and Restore Electrolyte Balance
Well, athletes and other physically active persons lose a lot of electrolytes during exercise. To recover those electrolytes, some experts suggest taking pickle juice.
Muscle cramps are very normal after exercise. And consuming pickle juice instead of water might help ease the cramps.
Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Control Blood Sugar
Pickles have a low glycemic index, which means that they do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels after eating. This makes them a good choice for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
Balancing sugar levels results in keeping your sugar level in check and thus reducing the risk of diabetes.
Reduce Cell Damage
Pickles are flooded with antioxidants. And antioxidants come with many health benefits. Improving cognition for elderly people is one of the main benefits.
Besides, antioxidants help keep out the free radicals. Free radicals are harmful, and when your body breaks down the food, free radicals are produced. But these antioxidants help your body against these and reduce cell damage.
Aid Weight Loss
In 35 grams of pickles, you will find only 4 kcal, considered very low-calorie food. And as pickles are mostly water and vinegar. This can help curb hunger and potentially support your efforts in managing your weight.
And for that reason, you will feel less hungry, making you feel full and keeping your energy level stable.
Improve Eye Health
We already know pickles contain vitamin A, which is good for your eye health. It can improve your eye vision and protects your eyes from possible eye-related diseases.
Besides, vitamin A helps keep your eye health in check.
Related Article: Are Pickles Acidic? Pickles for Acid Reflux [Good or Bad]
Homemade Pickle Recipes
Why buy from the grocery store when you can make them yourself? Making pickles at home allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring a healthier and more flavorful snack. We’ll provide a basic recipe and some variations to suit different tastes.
Well, there are two common ways that you can quickly pickle at home.
You can brine the cucumber, carrots, beets, cabbage, and more in vinegar. Another way is, fermenting those. To complete the process, you need to do the followings;
- Buy or collect day-fresh, damage-less cucumbers, or any other veg.
- Take some pickling salt.
- Add a few spices such as mustard, dill seed, garlic, horseradish, etc.
- Seal the jar carefully so nothing can get inside.
- Let it be for a few weeks, and then you can eat them.
Classic Dill Pickles Recipe
- 4 cups of cucumbers, sliced into spears or chips
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 sprigs of fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons of dill seeds)
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
- In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt (and sugar) dissolves. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- In a clean glass jar or container, place garlic, dill, black peppercorns, and red pepper flakes (if desired).
- Pack the cucumber slices tightly into the jar.
- Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, ensuring they are fully submerged. You can use a clean, small plate or weight to keep them below the liquid.
- Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature for about 24 hours. Then, refrigerate for at least a week before enjoying.
Pickles At Diet
Do you think pickles are used only in burgers, or it’s just a general recipe? No! There are more ways you can add pickles into your diet.
Besides the regular options, you can add pickles into;
- Chilled protein salads.
- Potato salad.
- On pizza.
- Grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches.
Besides, there are many more options with pickles.
Side Effects of Pickles
Even though pickles come with many benefits, there are also some side effects. If you’re not careful while consuming pickles, it might affect your body long-term.
High Blood Pressure
While bringing the pickles, sodium is one of the essential elements in the process. But as a result, there is too much salt which can be a problem for some people.
It will be problematic for people with blood pressure problems. Because it can be a reason for high blood pressure, so be careful!
Liver and Kidney Stress
As we know, pickles are hard to digest. As a result, consuming too many pickles at once makes it difficult for your liver and kidney because those organs must put more work into digesting them.
Besides, sodium also makes the digestion process more stressful. And it could be a reason behind the liver and other kidney-related issues.
Higher Risk of Gastric Cancer
Too much sodium consumption is always a bad idea. Consuming too much sodium increases the chances of gastric cancer.
Besides, these results in infection and other problems in the ulcers. Also, directly affect your stomach.
How to Buy the Right Pickles?
The main thing you should notice while buying pickles from groceries is to see if there is any “Natural” label in there or not. If there isn’t any label like that, it was made with yeast or artificial chemicals.
And if you’re planning to make them in your home, try finding the damage-free, fresh cucumbers from the garden.
Are Fermented Pickles Healthy?
Many fermented food items, such as kimchi or miso, benefit your health. Sadly, you won’t find fermented pickles in your regular store.
The best way to get fermented pickles is if you make them by yourself. Otherwise, try finding fermented pickles labeled “Naturally” in the healthy food store. This means those pickles are handmade traditionally and not with artificial yeast or bacteria.
Are pickles good for you in losing weight?
Yes, pickles are good for you to lose weight. Pickles take time to digest in your stomach as it is high in carb and fat—this results in feeling full for a long time.
How many pickles can I eat a day?
Eating pickles with different items occasionally can be beneficial for your health. But eating them regularly or too many at once can be a problem. There is no exact amount, but balance it with your regular diet plan.
Is it OK to drink pickle juice?
Yes, it is ok to drink pickle juice. It can help your body to lose weight, fight diseases, ease muscle cramps, improve eye health, etc. Besides, it is also beneficial for reducing the risk of diabetes and cell damage and lowering the risk of many heart diseases.
We hope you got your answer to “are pickles healthy” or not. Pickles come full of nutrients. And as for the benefits, it helps digestion, lowers the risk of heart disease, fights diseases, reduces the risk of diabetes, controls blood sugar, and many more.
It also comes with some risks as well. And you should be careful about not overeating pickles all at once.