Health Benefits of Pickles

Pickling & Fermenting Process Basics

The health benefits of pickles may be surprising to you if they’re not already a part of your diet. But, there are also many other less traditional yet healthy options for pickled foods. Natural pickling and fermentation are the most unique, traditional forms of food preservation that enhances the quality of the foods. Fermentation is an external, predigestion process that converts complex nutrients to simpler ones. Common fermented foods and beverages include sourdough, vinegar, and wine. Pickling is a type of controlled fermentation using salt. Examples of pickled products as used in macrobiotics are miso, sauerkraut, and olives.

Modern preservation techniques stop the changes in foods. In essence, these foods become sterile. Natural pickling and fermentation facilitates continuous, ongoing transformation and enhancement of certain aspects of foods. For example, pressed apples (apple cider), if unpasteurized, over time ferments into hard apple cider, an alcoholic beverage. If left to further ferment, hard apple cider turns into apple cider vinegar. Each product is unique, and in some ways, mimics the aging process in human beings. Although the fresh, bright aspects may decline as we lose youth, our deeper, essential qualities become enhanced as we age.

sauerkraut pickled foods

10 Health Benefits of Pickles and Fermented Foods

-For healthy digestion, we need both prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are the fibers in whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.

-Pickled and fermented foods, commonly now referred to as sources of probiotics, when combined with prebiotics, help create the healthiest environment for gut microbes to flourish.

-We have a second nervous system called the enteric nervous system in our gut. It is composed of the same types of cells that make up our central nervous system. Pickled and fermented foods bolster and support the connection between the cells that are shared between these two nervous systems.

-We also have two digestive systems. Mental, emotional, and digestive health are interrelated and affected by the foods we eat. Our digestive system processes liquids whereas the brain and nervous system process thoughts, ideas, and vibrations.

-Naturally pickled and fermented foods support the development of gut microbes which prevents unhealthy microbes from developing and flourishing.

-Pickled and fermented foods help develop a natural, efficient immune response, and also suppresses inflammatory response often associated with allergies, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

-Pickled and fermented foods best express the qualities of a particular climate. Wine, beer, and miso are common examples of how microclimates affect the quality of a fermented product. If we want to assimilate to another environment, eating or drinking native, naturally pickled and fermented foods help us adapt more easily to that climate.

-The basis of a healthy plant-based diet are grains, beans, vegetables and fruits. The most important probiotics for this way of eating are miso (grain and bean), sauerkraut (vegetable), and umeboshi plum (fruit).

-Pickled and fermented foods aid the digestive process and our ability to absorb and utilize nutrients.

-It is the interaction of foods that provides the greatest benefit. Pickled and fermented foods should be eaten in combination with other foods during a meal. Having macrobiotic miso soup, sauerkraut or a glass of wine during a meal provides the fullest benefit.

Still Not Sure How to Use the Health Benefits of Pickles in Your Diet?

One of my favorite things to do to help others is to help introduce new foods into their diet. I do this because diversity in your diet is incredibly important. And the current average diet across the globe is getting worse and includes much less variety. Pickles benefit your diet as a marker of diversity, as well as being used to balance your diet for specific results.

If you would like to get more information on how pickled and fermented foods can specifically be used in your diet, or if you have any ailments that you would like to get advice on treating through your diet, let’s set up a discussion. The buttons below will take you to the visit forms where we can begin the discussion together. Best wishes on your continued journey towards health and happiness. Don’t forget your pickled foods!

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Author: Denny Waxman

Denny Waxman has been a macrobiotic counselor since the 1970s and is one of the founders of American Macrobiotics. He has changed the food narrative away from a diet dependent upon animal & dairy foods. From the Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp, to opening Essene Market, and directing the Kushi Institute, he has been a pioneer of macrobiotics. His notoriety came after Dr. Anthony Sattilaro overcame cancer and credited Denny for saving his life in his book, Recalled by Life. Denny has written several books and teaches globally.