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5 Reasons Why Eating Pickles Is Good for Health

Updated: Nov 1, 2022



Is every morsel of food that we put into our mouths a grenade waiting to go BOOM?



Going by the flood of dietary advice available, it would seem so; there are so many foods that are now taboo, that there's barely anything that one can eat without worrying about repercussions.


So, are we not to eat at all? The trick is to eat not just well, but wisely. Common sense tells us that foods like pickles have been around forever. Maybe when Early Man went out to hunt and brought home the wild hog, or buffalo, the waiting family polished it off with their favourite pickle! So when did they suddenly become 'poison'?



Setting aside wild conjecture, pickling is an ancient culinary art and one of the oldest methods of preserving food. This was the way for mankind to enjoy seasonal fruit and vegetables throughout the year, or conserve a bountiful crop which could not be consumed immediately, in the absence of refrigeration.



Pickles and the traditional Indian Meal


No Indian meal is complete without a pickle of some sort or the other: sweet, sour, sweet and sour, spicy, super spicy, hell-fire... you name it! Summers in India are hot and the accompanying water shortages limit food production. Pickling must have started to beat the shortage and high cost of scarce vegetables and fruits. Summers have now come to mean pickles.



Every part of India has its own method of making pickles. With the migration of people from one region to another, evolution of cooking methods, etc., Indian pickles have evolved into a fine art; the finest that can tickle your palate and put zest into the most mundane meal.



The most popular pickles


Indians can make a pickle out of just about anything edible! But the king of fruit, the mango, makes the king of pickles without a doubt. Mango pickle is a popular add-on to any meal.


The Tomato is the Queen of vegetables; it is one of the most universally used vegetables in India. Tomato pickle must also take pride of place in the pickle parade.


Why should we talk of only 'common' pickles? The exotic South of India is renowned for Gongura pickle. Roselle, or gongura, is an iron-rich leaf. Gongura pickle is the domain of expert picklers and pickle connoisseurs!



Are pickles bad for you?


Modern 'health gurus' condemn pickles as being high in sodium and oozing oil. It is important to remember that pickles are a part of the Indian traditional meal and have been around for at least 5,000 years. There is now a renewed interest in traditional methods of cultivation and eating. We now understand that every culture has optimized its diet and eating patterns to suit the region it lives in, including the local flora and fauna, and the local climate.



Here are 5 benefits to adding that piquant pickle to your plate and palate!


#1. Pickles preserve the supply of essential minerals and vitamins, the innate nutritive wealth of the vegetable or fruit being pickled.


Mangoes are rich in vitamins A, C, K and B-6, folate and fibre.


Tomatoes are a good source of the vitamins A, B6, B3, C, & E, innumerable minerals like magnesium, chromium, folate, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, to name a few.



Gongura contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, & C. It is also rich in iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium.


Just remember: these pickles are not just about taste; they preserve sizeable amounts of nutrition as well.


#2. Antioxidant Protection: Raw, unripe fruits and vegetables go in