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Are Pickled Foods Healthy?

By Sara Butler

Some people love to eat anything pickled. Right now, the summer harvest yields many things to pickle and store away for the winter ahead. But the question remains: How healthy are pickled foods, anyway?

Pickled foods can be tricky since salt is the main ingredient of the preservation process. But there are some pros, as well as a few cons, to enjoying pickled foods. Here's what you need to know.

The Pros of Pickled Foods

One of the best things about enjoying a variety of pickled vegetables is that they are low in calories and low in fat. Cucumbers, a vegetable synonymous with pickling, are full of great vitamins, such as Vitamin K that your body needs for bone health and blood clotting. Kimchi, a traditionally prepared Korean cabbage, is full of riboflavin, folate, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C.

Pickled foods that are fermented, such as sauerkraut, also have the added benefits of probiotics. This is a type of bacteria that is good for your gut and, as a result, also helps to boost immunity and improve cognitive health.

The Problem: Sodium

By far the biggest issue encountered with pickled foods is the sodium they contain. One medium pickle has an average of 786 milligrams of sodium. That's about one-third of the total daily amount that most adults should eat, according to the American Heart Association. If you suffer from a condition such as high blood pressure or kidney disease, then high-sodium foods are a big problem no matter how good they may be for you otherwise.

Yet another issue with pickled foods is bloating caused by high levels of sodium. This can cause your body to retain water and generally make you feel not so great. That's why it's important for everyone to watch their sodium intake.

Can You Enjoy Pickled Foods?

Even though there are some things to be aware of, pickled foods aren't something you need to swear off. As long as you don't have any restrictions on sodium intake, you certainly can enjoy pickled foods in moderation. Simply try to watch the serving size of the food you're enjoying and work in pickled foods as a topping rather than the main course. As a condiment, they can add a punch of flavor to the foods you eat.

Just as with most things in life, pickled foods are good for you if you enjoy them in moderation!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bossier City, La.

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