How Healthy Are Pickles?
By Sara Butler
Pickles seem as if they're a great choice for snacking. There are so many varieties out there you can find a kind that satisfies the needs for something sweet, something tart, or something spicy and crunchy. But are pickles good for you or not? Here's what you need to know about these salty stalks of goodness.
What Does It Mean to Be Healthy?
If you're going to ask whether or not pickles are healthy, then you need to first ask what it means for something to be healthy in the first place. If healthy to you means a food that is low in carbohydrates, low in calories and without added sugars or fats, then yes -- pickles are a great choice. In fact, one serving of pickles has less than 20 calories.
If you're someone who defines health as watching sodium intake, then no -- pickles aren't healthy. Sodium has a big impact on your health. Too much in your diet can lead to high blood pressure for some people, so you have to watch how much salt you eat each day. In that respect, pickles aren't a great choice. An average pickle can contain half the sodium you need each for an entire day. In fact, their sodium content is the only problem with pickles.
The type of pickle you eat can have an impact on how good or not good it is for you. In general, the term pickle refers to a pickled cucumber. But you can pickle just about anything to preserve it, from green beans to carrots to eggs.
A cucumber can be pickled in more than one way. It can be fermented in a salty liquid brine or it can be immersed in vinegar to give its bite. Pickles that are fermented are better for you because they have probiotics in them, which are good for your gut and promotes a healthy immune system and gut balance.
Pickles in vinegar are very different nutritionally and aren't the better choice of the two. The vinegar-based pickles are made with vinegar and a bunch of preservatives that aren't good for you, so fermented is always the better choice.
If you love pickles and want to ensure they're healthier, then try making your own. It's inexpensive and a fun hobby that allows you to tailor a pickle just to your liking!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz.