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Pickle or “Achar”, the word creates an instant image of food with a burst of flavors, colors and mouth-watering appearance for most of the Indians. But hang on…what about the oil, the salt, the calorie and of course the fat in it !!? Are you the one abstaining from your favorite pickle presuming it will make you fat or will elevate your blood pressure or will create acidity? It has been more than a decade that we have reduced the power of pickle to only high sodium, fat and calorie. But enough. The benefits of pickle will rather surprise you.


Why you must eat pickle?

If you are an Indian in mid-thirties or above, you must have seen your grandmother spending afternoons for making a variety of pickles. The process is quite engaging. The goodness of pickle lies in its quality of oil, salt & spices and in the process of fermentation.

During fermentation, the sugars of the primary ingredient (could be vegetable/ fruit – mango/ lemon/chili/ tomato etc) break down and turned to lactic acid holding the probiotic (good) bacteria. The lactic acid act as a natural preservative and consuming this probiotic improves the health of our gut microbiota, digestive system and  enhance immunity.

Indian spices are known for their numerous medicinal properties worldwide. The assemblage of spices like -turmeric, red chili powder, garlic, curry leaves, asafoetida (hing), seeds like fenugreek (methi), mustard, cumin, coriander etc. to pickle, boost immunity, improve digestion and impart antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory properties to a large extent.

Using unrefined cold pressed oil (such as kachhi ghani mustard oil/ gingellly oil/ coconut oil/ groundnut oil etc.) makes the pickle rich in vitamin A, D, E, K and also provide anti-inflammatory properties which help to keep your hormones in balance. Similarly addition of unrefined salt like rock/black/pink salt assures inclusion of various essential minerals in the pickle.


Which pickle shall I buy?

If you are planning to buy a large jar of pickle soon, then you are highly mistaken. No matter how “natural” they claim, most of the pickles available in the market are loaded with refined oil, refined salt, synthetic vinegar, chemicals and preservatives which kills all the goodness of pickle that I have mentioned above. Then what to do? Make it, choose your favorite pickle as per the season and prepare at home. It will take some time to get the final product but trust me it won’t take more than 5 to 20 minutes a day depending on the stage of the procedure. Homemade traditional pickles are one of the best concoction of health that you must enjoy with your meal. If you cannot manage the time at all then look for a quality pickle.There are many small women’s groups in India who follow the traditional recipe to make pickle and sell at a reasonable price.

But, it’s too much of oil… will pickle make me fat ?

Still thinking about calorie? Fat? I really doubt, do these thoughts come when you eat junk– french fries, instant noodles or pizza in your favorite fast food chain? No right? Good things are to be taken in a limited amount. So a spoon full of pickles is enough. Pickle will NOT make you fat even if you are trying for weight loss. Pickle will help to reduce inflammation and will create a better hormonal balance favorable for your weight loss.

Bottom line –

Stop being hesitant to eat pickle. The best way to ensure all its goodness is to follow the traditional recipe and make it at home. If not possible, then pick your pickle carefully. Do not over eat. Remember one teaspoon is enough to provide all the benefits of pickle. So instead of chewing biscuits/chips, save calorie for something way better and tastier. Think about it.

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty has done her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition in 2017. She is based in Hyderabad. She has 12 yrs of working experience in nutrition. Dr. Soma guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve the goal of wellness. She believes in a sustainable diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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  • Anonymous , 14th June 2020 @ 5:02 pm

    Very informative.. But what is d required amount of pickle fr a 1-10yrs child.

    • Dr. Soma Chakrabarty , 14th June 2020 @ 5:10 pm

      Thanks. For an adult a teaspoon with lunch or dinner is enough to get the goodness. For kids, it depends on their spice tolerance level. 1/2 tsp can work for 8-10 yrs kids. For younger kids spicey pickle may not be a good choice.

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