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Pickles: A Healthy Snack with Snap

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Pickles are a popular snack, side dish, and condiment. But did you know that cucumbers are also a healthy part of your diet? There are many different pickle recipes, but each version has its own health benefits, depending on the ingredients that went into the pickle and the method used to pickle it, whether fermented or vinegar-filled. Pickles are great for most diets because not only are they low in calories and low in fat or fat-free, but many versions are low in sugar as well.

Cucumbers are a healthy addition to your diet for other reasons too. Cucumbers, which are made from cucumbers or other vegetables, are high in fiber, which is necessary for digestive health and fighting cancer. The cucumbers and other veggies also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals and can be a good source of calcium, magnesium, and iron, depending on the veg. The recommendation of most health professionals is to eat five servings of vegetables and fruit every day. Eating cucumbers is a great way to get a daily serving or two out of your five a day!

The spices used to make pickles are also healthy. For example, dill and garlic, both popular in pickles, both have the ability to regulate bacterial growth. Dill and other spices also contain flavonoids, which make a healing addition to your diet. Mustard seeds are known to be good for digesting food, and even turmeric powder has medicinal properties and is thought to lower the rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Fermented pickles also have good bacteria that can control harmful gut microbes. Lactic acid is produced during the fermentation of pickles. This acid helps lower fat in the bloodstream, improve blood flow and reduce high blood pressure. It also helps support a healthy digestive system, reintroduces good bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus to the gut, and is beneficial for diabetics. In fact, one study even found that regular consumption of fermented products contributed to lower rates of skin problems, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.

Many pickles are made with vinegar. In addition to its fizzy taste, this healthy liquid has several positive properties. Vinegar is known to boost the immune system, ease indigestion, and can break down calcium deposits in a person’s joints. Additionally, vinegar is known to lower high blood pressure and help treat urinary tract infections. It’s even said to remineralize your bones, balance your blood pH, and fight infection. Vinegar is also antibacterial and antifungal. It inhibits the growth of E.coli bacteria and when used in conjunction with salt, which is common in curing, the antibacterial properties are enhanced.

Another product commonly used for pickling is apple cider vinegar. It also has several additional health benefits. Not only does it contain several minerals, more than thirty nutrients and pectin, which is good for your heart, but also several essential amino acids, all of which make great additions to your diet.

Cucumbers can be a tasty snack eaten with the knowledge that you’re eating something healthy at the same time – what could be better? Hey, even Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, and Cleopatra believed in the health benefits of cucumbers, and Hippocrates used them in one of the first medicines! So if you ever needed a reason to eat more pickles, now you have it.

Copyright 2006 Jonathan Heusman

Thanks to Jon Heusman

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