Strong health means a strong gut. The gut is central to the strength of the immune system, mental sharpness, and ability to synthesize and absorb nutrients. However, the gut health declines from consumption of processed, refined and fatty foods. These foods are dehydrating, lack in fiber, nutrients and probiotics. When the gut becomes weak, overall health becomes poor and the body becomes susceptible to illness. Therefore, it is key to get the probiotic health benefits of pickled vegetables and other naturally pickled and fermented foods to start healing the gut and building back our health. Learn all the health benefits of pickles and find an easy pickled recipe by Susan Waxman below.
Pickling vs Fermenting
Pickling is a general term for the different ways foods are preserved in a type of salt brine (salt + water), whether a quick or long-term pickle.
Fermenting does not rely on salt such as vinegars or wine. The key to health benefits of pickles is salt. Salt breaks down vegetables to be more easily digested. Also allows for probiotics and good bacteria to grow and build. In the quick pickled cucumbers recipe below, we use umeboshi vinegar, a pickling brine, made of umeboshi plums, sea salt and red shiso. This delicious vinegar gives pickles the acidic and sour taste, as well as, produce probiotics and good bacteria. (Here is a tea recipe with umeboshi plums)
Keep in mind, pasteurizing or heating the pickles for a period of time will destroy much of the bacteria and reduce the health benefits of pickles. That is why it is important to naturally pickle and ferment foods.
Do store bought pickles have probiotics?
Most do not. Many large branded pickles on the shelves have been pasteurized and processed to preserve the pickles for longer storage time. Additionally, often they are only stored in vinegar with no salt brine. This creates the sour pickle flavor but without the same probiotic benefit.