Archive for March, 2007|Monthly archive page
Savor this informative epistle, prepared by our ace intern, Milan Doshi.
The Health Benefits of Pickles, Brine & Vinegar
Many people consider pickle brine a useful commodity, with its complex flavor of spices, salt, vinegar, and pickled vegetables. It’s been used as a soup stock, a hangover remedy, a drink, and—for many eastern European women—a cosmetic. There are even reports of some American roller-skating rinks selling pickle-brine snow cones.
Research by nutritionist Carol S. Johnston of Arizona State University East in Mesa suggests that vinegar packs a punch in more than just salad dressings. Now, instead of merely being touted as a stout cleanser of the body when taken internally, it also has been shown to have beneficial effects for weight loss and stabilizing blood sugar in non-diabetics. In prevention of diabetes, Johnston’s study showed it had a stabilizing effect on blood sugar in people who were not diabetic. The stabilizing effect was most pronounced on pre-diabetics whose blood glucose levels were almost cut in half. Other studies soon followed and it was shown that people who consume apple cider vinegar lost an average of a half-pound each week. Carbohydrate absorption is inhibited, the studies showed, due to the acetic
acid found in vinegar.
Pickles are a popular snack, side dish, and condiment. But did you know that pickles are also a healthy part of your diet? There are many different pickle recipes out there, but each version has its own healthy benefits depending on the ingredients that went into the pickle and the method used for pickling, whether fermented or packed with vinegar. Pickles are great for most diets because not only are they low in calories, and low in fat or fat-free, many versions are also low in sugar.
Pickles are also a healthy edition to your diet for other reasons. Pickles, being made from cucumbers or other vegetables, are high in fiber which is necessary for digestive health and fighting cancer. The cucumbers and
other vegetables also contain antioxidants, which fight free-radicals, and depending on the veggie, can be a good source of calcium, magnesium, and iron. The recommendation by most health professionals is to eat five servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Eating pickles is a great way to get a daily serving or two of your five-a-day!
The spices with which pickles are made are also extremely beneficial. For example, dill and garlic, both of which are popular in many pickles, both have the ability to regulate bacterial growth. Dill and other spices also contain flavonoids, which is a healing addition to your diet. Mustard seeds are known to be good for digesting foods and even turmeric powder has medicinal properties and is believed to lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Many pickles are made with vinegars. This healthy liquid has several positive properties in addition to its tangy taste. Vinegar is known to boost the immune system, ease digestive disorders, and can break down calcium deposits in a person’s joints. In addition, vinegar is known to decrease high blood pressure, and help treat urinary infections. It is
even said to re-mineralize your bones, balance your blood pH, and fight infection. Vinegar is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It inhibits the growth of the E.coli bacteria, and when used in conjunction with salt, which is common in pickling, the anti-bacterial properties are amplified.
Even better is apple cider vinegar, commonly used in pickling. It has several minerals, thirty-plus nutrients, and pectin, which is good for your heart, and it also contains several essential amino acids, all of which are a great addition to your diet.
Why vinegar? Because it can be used medicinally, gets rid of poisons in the body, has disinfecting and cleaning properties and is a natural, nontoxic, biodegradable substance. Vinegar is a powerful cleansing agent and healing elixir—a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria.