Pickles are considered natural probiotics and are a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. What is worth knowing about pickled cucumbers, cabbage, zucchini, beets? Why is it worth pickling various vegetables? Let’s find out!
Nutritional properties of pickled vegetables – what do they contain?
Chemical changes which take place in vegetables during the pickling process change their taste, improve their nutritional and health values. What are the basic properties of pickled vegetables? Pickles are counted among the so-called superfoods because they contain:
- vitamin A – takes part in the process of seeing, strengthens the immune system, protects the body from oxidative stress and the impact of free radicals, keeps the skin, hair and nails in good condition,
- b vitamins (B1, B2, B3) – are responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system,
- vitamin C – participates in metabolic processes, removes free radicals. Thanks to the fermentation process, pickles do not lose vitamin C (they have the same amount as fresh vegetables),
- vitamin E – is a strong antioxidant, protects cells from aging, supports muscle function
- vitamin K – supports the cardiovascular system, protects against anemia, improves blood clotting and has an impact on calcium metabolism.
In pickles you will also find deposits of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium. Beneficial lactic acid bacteria develop in them (its concentration in a given pickle may amount to 0.8-1.7%), which are responsible for durability of this healthy food tightly sealed in jars. Pickled vegetables also have a lot of fiber, which supports the digestive process and provides a feeling of satiety
Why should you eat pickled vegetables? Advantages of pickling
Pickling of vegetables is gaining more and more supporters every year – this traditional method of food preservation has been known for centuries and has a number of advantages. Vegetables preserved in this way are not only delicious but also very healthy.
Pickles support the acid-base balance. They are irreplaceable in rebuilding intestinal microflora, and it is worth reaching for them during antibiotic therapy. Thanks to the presence of lactic acid bacteria, these natural probiotics support the immune system, reducing the risk of seasonal infections
Pickled vegetables promote the secretion of stomach acids, making digestion easier. When consumed regularly, they eliminate indigestion, prevent constipation and reduce cholesterol levels. What’s more, the fermentation process makes the pickles lose sugar – they are less caloric, so you can enjoy them without a guilty conscience! For example, a medium cucumber has only 12 kcal and a small bowl of sauerkraut (200 g) has only 36 kcal.
The healthiest pickles are the home-made ones, prepared in glass jars or wooden barrels (nothing can match the taste of sauerkraut or cucumbers pickled by yourself). Unfortunately, mass-produced pickles available on supermarket shelves are not that healthy because they have many flavor enhancers, preservatives and various substances added by producers to speed up fermentation
It is worth adding that the more sugar a vegetable contains, the easier it sours. Thus, particularly susceptible to pickling are beets, corn, potatoes. You should also pickle cabbage, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, green beans, zucchini, eggplants. Of course we can pickle not only vegetables but also fruits such as lemons, apples, pears, plums.
Who should be careful with pickles?
Despite the many undeniable advantages of pickled vegetables, not everyone can reap the power of benefits from eating them. Certain medical conditions make it necessary for certain people to limit eating pickles (e.g. calcium oxalate lithiasis, high blood pressure, ulcers)
We hope we have encouraged you to make your own pickles and eat them throughout the year. It’s worth instilling a love of pickled vegetables in your children by feeding them from an early age.