The real benefits come if you’re pickling cucumbers on your own (which, let’s be honest, most people are not) or you opt for a fermented variety. And if you’re going to eat pickles in large quantities, you might want to opt for one or the other.
“Fermented foods are so amazing for your health because they’re full of phenomenal probiotics and the vegetables are full of prebiotic goodness—food for the good bacteria in your digestive system that keep you healthy and well,” life coach and holistic nurse practitioner Victoria Albina, N.P., MPH previously told mbg. In short, pickles can help give your gut some of the probiotics it needs.
“I’ve been eating and loving pickles for as long as I can remember, so I’m glad I was on trend,” jokes mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN.
Ferira goes on to serve up some critical pickle product formula intel when shopping for the popular food item: “Lots of pickle brands are unfortunately still featuring added sugars, artificial preservatives like sodium benzoate, and synthetic dyes Yellow #5 or #6. Those ingredients are cheap,” she explains.
What’s the better alternative, the ultimate “clean” pickle if you will? Ferira says she prefers, “USDA certified organic Kosher dill pickles. These typically will feature organic cucumbers, water, organic vinegar, sea salt, natural flavors, calcium chloride (a natural salt that helps keep the pickles firm for that snap we all expect), and natural color from organic turmeric.”
So you’ll want to turn over that jar, and look at the “Ingredients” list to be sure. “I shop at Publix a lot because I live in the Southeast, so their GreenWise dill spears are my favorite. For long-time national brands, Mt. Olive offers high-quality pickle varieties as well,” Ferira adds.