Pickles are usually not featured as the star in many dishes, including ball park hot dogs and deli sandwiches. However, this does not mean they don’t deserve the spotlight. Pickles are very nutritious and are considered vegetables with low calories. When served in the right size, pickles can be a great and delicious part of your diet.
In the west, pickles are made from gherkins, cucumbers, and other vegetables that are soaked in vinegar. According to the NSDA, western pickles have moisture, protein, fat, energy, dietary fiber, sugars, and carbohydrates. They also contain minerals, such as iron, potassium, sodium, and phosphorous among others. Vitamins are present as well, including vitamin A, B-6, B-12, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin C.
Aside from the ones mentioned above, eating pickles can also give you the following health benefits:
1. Antioxidants: Pickles have antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals, which are unstable chemicals produced throughout cellular metabolism.
2. Probiotics: The friendly bacteria to the gut, also known as probiotics, are the ones that help you digest your food. However, when you normally take antibiotics, the bacteria you have in your digestive system are also eliminated. Eating pickles helps restore the good bacteria, which also aid you in restoring your health.
3. Hepatoprotective Properties: Apart from a healthier gut and improved digestion, pickles can also help protect your liver through their hepatoprotective properties. There are a number of studies in which chemical-induced liver damage or hepatotoxicity is fought by eating pickles and therefore the damage is significantly reduced.
4. Ulcer Protection: When you have ulcer, this means that you have an internal wound because mucous membranes and acid fail to interact well with your tissues. One of the most common types of ulcer is gastric ulcer, which is caused by a weakened mucous membrane. In other cases, it is due to hyperacidity. When you regularly consume pickles, reduction or prevention of ulcers can be achieved.
5. Diabetes Management: There are some studies that show pickles that are soaked in vinegar can improve your hemoglobin levels, particularly if you have diabetes. This is because the acetic acid found in vinegar can help you control your diabetes.
As you can see, pickles are indeed nutritious with their health benefits. However, it is important to note that not all pickles are the same. There are pickles that are salted and therefore they are not good for some people, particularly those with diabetes and high blood pressure.