As Egyptians, we are known for our strong preference for salty foods. Olives, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, turnips and so many more are traditionally pickled items that we are used to enjoying alongside foods, to please our tangy taste sensors.
Depending on the type and quality of pickled food you choose, you could be providing your body with a host of health benefits or simply overloading it with unnecessary salt. When pickled food is properly fermented, it serves as an excellent source of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that promote the growth of intestinal bacteria, aid proper digestion in the stomach, support the immune system, and act as a source of B-vitamins.
Unfortunately, most commercially bought pickles lack the above health benefits because they are chemically treated and pasteurized, rather than fermented the natural way. Supermarket shelves pickles are nothing more than cucumber slices stored in vinegar solution. Making your own pickles or choosing locally produced pickles will ensure the beneficial fermentation enzymes are not destroyed. Try out this basic homemade pickle recipe to get you started.
Although fermented pickles have some great health benefits, they are also extremely high in sodium, so it is important to consider how much you are eating. This is always much easier to monitor for homemade pickling and jarring. Too much sodium in your diet will contribute to high blood pressure and fluid retention. 1 pickled cucumber will contribute to approximately 40% of your daily sodium requirements; something to pay particular attention too, as high blood pressure is a problem on the rise in most households.