Health Benefits of Pickles
Pickles health benefits includes improving digestive health, excellent source of anti-oxidants, help controlling diabetes, promote liver health, promote stomach health, support weight loss and an effective remedy for morning sickness. Other benefits includes reducing spleen cancer risk, lowering risk of developing yeast infection, relieving stress and improving mental health, and helping prevent constipation.
What is Pickles?
Pickles are excellent health foods- loaded with nutrients, low in calories, and also an excellent food source to the good bacteria that live in our stomachs, known as a prebiotic food.
What most people don’t realize however, is that pickles actually refers to a method of food preservation, using a variety of fruits, spices and vegetables. When we say pickles, most of the time the ingredient in question is the cucumber, though it is not uncommon for mangoes and many other products to be pickled as well.
Most pickles are made by preserving in a mixture of salt, pepper and vinegar, though fermented pickles are also extremely popular in Asian cultures.
Nutrition Info (per cup, chopped):
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Pickles
1. Excellent Sources Of Anti-Oxidants
In addition to vitamins, there are many bioactive compounds found in fruits and vegetables that deliver anti-oxidant benefit, but which are sadly lost in traditional food preparation. This is because many of the compounds are temperature sensitive, being broken down or deactivated under the influence of high heat.
However the pickling process avoids this occurrence, since the fruits or vegetables are placed into the solution mixture uncooked, and hence retaining their complete anti-oxidant profile. Consumption of adequate amounts of anti-oxidant reduces the damage that free radicals can cause on the body, and helps preserve your well-being.
2. Improves Digestive Health
We all can benefit from improved digestion, since from time to time most of us experience gastrointestinal disturbances resulting from imbalanced bacterial cultures, or poor fiber intake. Luckily, pickles can likely help solve both of those problems. While vinegar helps slow the growth of bacterial colonies, left long enough probiotic bacteria will grow on this fermented food.
Plus, pickles by themselves are prebiotic in nature, so you can eat it any time you want and not only after it is aged. Fruits and vegetables are also known for their inherent fiber content, helping you accomplish multiple goals with one simple food. This alone should make pickles worthy of a spot in your diet.
3. Can Help Control Your Diabetes
Pickles are naturally low calorie and low carbohydrate, making them perfect foods for diabetics, but they also do more to help diabetics, and on a much larger scale. HbA1C, which is hemoglobin that has been bound to glucose, is an indicator of longer term blood sugar control, with higher numbers indicating poor glucose control over a long period of time. It is believed that acetic acid combined with the fruits or vegetables is responsible for this phenomenon of improving HbA1c levels, which equates to improved blood sugar control.
4. Can Promote Liver Health
While many varieties of pickles have the ability to assist in removal of toxins from blood via improving efficiency of the liver, pickled gooseberries are particularly helpful at assisting with liver function, being able to reset hepatotoxicity. This may prove useful in helping alcoholics avoid liver damage while going through a rehab plan.
5. Promotes Stomach Health
While pickles are associated with increasing stomach acidity and causing heart burn, the truth is actually far from this. Vinegar, as you may know, possesses numerous benefits on health, since when ingested acts as a basic compound (though outside the body it is technically acidic). These properties help in suppression of excess production, and can safeguard the lining of the stomach walls from acid damage. This in turn helps to prevent painful ulceration, and reduce the likelihood of developing stomach cancer.
6. Good For Weight Loss
Pickles offer an attractive way to get more veggies or fruits in your diet, if you are tired of the same old methods of preparation, or just like to eat them via that method. Cucumber pickles, for example, are low calorie, rich in water content and extremely filling, making them ideal for snacking or when cravings strike. Be careful to not load them up with sodium however, or your desire for water may cause unsightly retention in the peripheral body parts.
7. An Effective Remedy For Morning Sickness
Have you ever wondered why pregnant women seemingly crave pickles much more often than other people? What seems like a mystery actually turned out to have sound scientific basis, as pickles help to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Research has shown that sour foods suppress the need to puke, ease nausea stem from a primal instinct to heal oneself. Just be careful of all the added sodium, as it can adversely affect blood pressure during pregnancy.
8. Helps Reduce Spleen Cancer Risk
To many, the spleen is a useless organ that serves no real function. While it is mostly true, it does serve an important role in immunity. The spleen is actually a reservoir of immune cells and even good bacterial colonies, which promote the health of your intestines and decrease your risk of picking up infections. Pickles are a good source of prebiotic fiver and probiotic bacteria which help to consolidate the spleen’s health. Weak cultures of probiotic bacteria has been associated with an increased risk of spleen cancer.
9. Helps Lower Risk Of Developing Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are the bane of a woman’s existence it seems, causing undue discomfort and awkwardness in public due to the constant desire to scratch the privates. Yeast are a normal part of the vaginal microflora, but can overgrow and become pathogenic for any number of reasons.
This is especially common following anti-biotic therapy or scenarios that can adversely affect bacterial colonies, which are largely responsible for keeping the yeast in check. Pickles help reinforce optimal levels of these good probiotic bacteria, keeping yeast under control and significantly decreasing the risk of yeast infections.
10. Help Relieve Stress And Improve Mental Health
This one is likely to come as a shocker to you, but has an interesting mechanism behind it to say the least. It is well known that our stomach seems related to our brain in an intimate manner, but it is not understood by many. This is why anxiety is reflected by stomach upset and nausea, and many other similar occurrences.
As it turns out, this is due to the nature of the Vagus nerve, a nerve that innervates the spinal cord to the stomach and functions as a high efficiency relay between the stomach and the brain. Probiotic bacteria levels in the gut and intestines reduce the impact of cortisol immensely on the relay to the brain, meaning that these simple bacteria help keep you calm and grounded. This also translates well to a good mood.
11. Pickles Help Prevent Constipation
Pickles are high in fiber, water content and probiotic bacteria, which all help to preserve the function and health of the gut and intestines. This helps the unobstructed movement of food and then subsequently waste through the body as efficiently as possible, reducing the likelihood of constipation and exposure of toxins to healthy cells.
Though pickles are considered an indulgence by many who consume them, they are actually a health food. The major issue to be aware of however is sodium used in the preparation. This could adversely affect your health, so if you like your pickles and like them often, be sure to modify the sodium used in it and keep an eye on overall daily intake.
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