Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Are Pickles Bad For You?

Also Known As: pickled cucumbers



Short answer

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.



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Long answer

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

  • diarrhea
  • water retention
  • nausea
  • headache

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased blood pressure
  • increased kidney workload
  • stomach cancer (unlikely)

Ingredients to be aware of


  • promotes digestive health
  • promotes weight loss
  • promotes liver protection
  • good source of vitamin k

Healthier alternatives

  • low-sodium pickles
  • naturally fermented pickles
  • fresh cucumbers

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bubbies Kosher Dill Pickles

  • Authentic kosher dills
  • Preservative-free
  • Rich in probiotics
  • Crisp and flavorful
  • Convenient pack of 3
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 12-26-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 12-26-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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