Since ages, pickles of all kinds have been found in abundance in all Indian diet. Indian cuisine is incomplete without this accompaniment which can increase the flavor of any meal. Pickles are so integral in providing that extra relish and spice kick to our taste buds that we have learned to pickle everything. From the very common mango, green chilli and lemon pickles to pork, chicken and fish pickles, everyone enjoys pickles in some form. Then there are fresh ginger pickles to well aged red chilli pickles. Different regions in India offer different kind of pickles.
Many of us consume pickles everyday with other staples. It is a part of every kitchen and easily available at weddings, restaurants and even roadside stalls. Packaged pickles have made it even easier to enjoy this tangy food item without going through the hassle of actually making them at home. From a bottled version to tiny packs for travelling, pickles are available to serve everyone’s needs.
Though we might find the spiciness, soreness and sometimes sweetness of pickles irresistible, the question to be addressed is it good to consume pickles every day? There are benefits of consuming pickles in moderate quantity but since they contain high amount of salt, sugar, oil and spices, there are equal arguments to establish that they might be harming you.
Pickles are well preserved to avoid the growth of microbes. They are known to boost the growth of gut-friendly probiotics bacteria in the gut that leads to better digestion and improves mental health. Most of the vegetables and fruits used to pickles are preserved raw which leads to preservation of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in them. Amla pickles are known to aid in curing ulcers and protect the liver while lemon pickle can help curb morning sickness in pregnant women. When eaten in low quantities, they can help boost metabolism.
Pickles can be good for you if they are home-made where the amount of oil, sugar, salt and spices can be controlled. Dry pickles and fermented pickles are a better option as they can tickle the taste buds without excess of ingredient that can cause problems. The high content of sodium in pickles is due to the presence of salt. Therefore, it is not recommended for high blood pressure patients. Excess salt can lead to water retention, bloating and can put extra load on kidneys. The high oil content in pickles implies more trans-fat amounting to increase in bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. It also increases triglycerides which are fat deposits leading to weight gain. The high spice content can cause irritation to the stomach lining and is not recommended for people having digestion issues.
So, consuming pickles everyday is good? Eating them everyday with every meal will definitely can be a hazard for your well being but consuming them occasionally can prove to be beneficial in some ways. Packaged pickles might have higher preservatives, therefore, homemade pickles are the best friends for a safe and sumptuous meal.