Pickles Benefits

Health Benefits of Pickles

I, Bhavani Raman, would like to present an article on the topic "Benefits of Pickles"

We all know that pickles add rich taste to any meal and I cannot imagine my food without pickles.  I may start starving.  Oh! What a lovely taste.

So what are pickles?  They are nothing but edible side dish, product made of vegetables or fruits or fish or meat or combination of any of these, which are preserved in an acidic solution.

We get many varieties of pickles made from fruits and vegetables and naturally some the benefits of those vegetables and fruits are present in pickles also.

But how many of us know it is also a healthy part of our diet?  Follow with me in this amazing discovery of "benefits of pickles" and enjoy their richness.

As it is not possible to have all the fruits and vegetables daily, by consuming the pickles, we can reap some of the benefits of those, right?

These multi-talented pickles are sliced, speared, whole, diced and are spicy, sour, and sweet.  Ah what an extraordinary quality of pickles!!!

The health benefits of pickles come from their ingredients, herbs and spices used to make them.

There are basically two types of pickling:
Long, fermentation-based pickling requires a period (up to several weeks/months) of 'curing' at room temperature.  During this long period, colors and flavors change and acid is produced.
Quick, unfermented pickling made by adding acid (Ex: vinegar, tamarind juice).

After preparation, some pickles are moved from one medium to another medium in between.  This includes olives (pickled in lye and salt) and cucumbers (traditionally preserved in brine) which are bottled in a vinegar solution.

There are many varieties of pickles available:
1.    Acid (vinegar) based pickles like onion, eggs, red cabbage, ginger, beet root, sausages, some vegetables, fruits, etc.

2. Dry salted pickles like lime, lemons, plums, mango, amla, ginger, etc.

3. Brine based pickles like turnip, cucumber, etc.

4. Some pickles are made up with honey and sugar also after pickling in vinegar like watermelon rinds, walnuts, etc.

5. Oil pickling plays an important role in India.  Mustard oil, gingely oil, and other vegetable oils are added to dry salted fruit and vegetables like limes, mangoes, tinda, amla, lemon, karandas, chillies, aubergine, etc. along with spices.

6. Flavors like cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander seeds, etc., are also added to enhance the taste and health.

7. Chutneys made up of mixture of these pickles like tomato, onion, chillies, etc, can be used as a side dish or preparatory food.

We will see some of the benefits of these lovely tasty colorful pickles.
1. Pickles are a healthy side dish because not only they are low in calories, but are low in fat and some are low in sugar also.

2. Pickles have been found to have large amounts of lactobacilli bacteria, which are important to the digestion of grains and vegetables.

3. One of the most important qualities of pickle is its richness in fiber, which cleanses our body and maintains our digestive system.

4. It has been found out that pickles made of vegetable and fruits retain some of their qualities of fibrousness and keep the digestive system healthy.

5. Also it has been proved that some pickles help us to fight against cancer.

6. They have higher concentration of vitamin C and also help to absorb iron better.

7. It is found out to be a good remedy for auto-immune disorders.

8. Pickles made up of mixed vegetables and fruits serve the purpose of nourishing the body with calcium, minerals, and other antioxidants.

9. Mustard is rich in magnesium, selenium, iron, calcium, dietary fiber and thus pickles made from mustard have some of those nutrients and so they have antiinflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

10. Pickles made of ginger aids in digestion, help with the intestinal gas, and is anti-oxidant too.  Dried and crystalized ginger is very much helpful during traveling, morning sickness, indigestion, sore throat, etc.

11. Pickles made out of garlic and dill have the ability to control bacterial growth and have the healing property.

12. The acidic property of fermented pickles helps the body to absorb more calcium, improves circulation, lower the fat in bloodstream, and helps in digestion.

13. Fermented pickles help in controlling some microbial growth in intestines.

14. Vinegar added has a preservative in some of the pickles boost our immune system and help to deal with urinary infections.  Vinegar also re-mineralizes our bones, balance our blood pH, and fight infection.  Vinegar is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

15. Turmeric used in the pickles retards the advancement of Alzheimer's disease.

16. Apple cider vinegar used in pickles for preservation is rich in several minerals, proteins, pectin (which is good for heart), and amino acids.

17. Pickle juice is now a favorite among sports persons.  It is used as remedy for muscle cramps, dehydration, etc.  They are also made use of in salads, soups, and many other recipes.

So as you have come to know (even myself on researching for this article) about the benefits of this so called "tongue-tickling" pickle, I believe we can eat these pickles confidently as a part of our diet.  But try not to overdo it.

Do you know, even Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, and Cleopatra believed in the health benefits of the pickle, and also Hippocrates have made use of these pickles for one of the first medicines!  So friends, if you ever needed a reason to eat more pickles, now you got it right?

As pickles add spice to our life (food), why don't we give it a try?

About the author:  Bhavani Raman, a successful ex-student of Enoma, is working as a family and Juvenile counsellor.  She is also pursuing a diploma on food and nutrition.  She enjoys reading books, meditation, meeting people, spending time with her family and friends and also a Reiki practitioner.

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