Pickling is an ancient process humans have used for thousands of years to preserve food. Other than the high sodium content of many pickle varieties, studies indicate pickles are not all that bad for you.
Pickles are cucumbers that endure an ancient process of preservation involving water, salt, and vinegar. This process is commonly known as pickling. This method of food preservation has been used for thousands of years. Pickling was used before refrigeration to preserve food long after growing season concluded. Pickled cucumbers are by far the most popular pickled food in North America, but in other parts of the world various fruits, vegetables, and in some cases meats are preserved in this manner.
The disadvantage to including pickles into your diet is the amount of sodium most pickles contain. The World Health Organization recommends limiting daily sodium intake to around 2,000 mg per day. A single serving of dill pickles has, on average, around 1,200 mg of sodium-- over half the recommended daily allotment! Anyone that has hypertension or blood pressure problems should only consume pickles in modest amounts. Additionally, high sodium diets have been linked to certain forms of stomach cancer.
Pickles have many benefits to the health of the human body as well. Because pickles are made from cucumbers, they are typically low in fat. Pickles are also rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot in the case of injury. It should also be noted that fruits and vegetables help eliminate the presence of free radicals that lead to cell damage and cell mutations that can lead to cancer. Some pickles go through a natural fermentation process instead of a vinegar pickling process. Fermentation introduces probiotics, or good bacteria, into your digestive system, and breaks down food into a more digestible form while preserving nutritional value.
Possible short-term side effects
- water retention
Possible long-term side effects
- increased blood pressure
- increased kidney workload
- stomach cancer (unlikely)
Ingredients to be aware of
- preservatives commercial brands may use:
- sodium benzoate
- artificial colors
- artificial flavors
- high fructose corn syrup
- promotes digestive health
- promotes weight loss
- promotes liver protection
- good source of vitamin k
- low-sodium pickles
- naturally fermented pickles
- fresh cucumbers
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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 12-26-2015
Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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