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Side effects of pickles: Reasons why they can be harmful for your health

While we all love the tangy flavour of pickles, the content that goes into making it can be harmful to your health. Here are some of the side effects of pickles and why you should avoid eating them.
Side effects of pickles
Know the side effects of pickles. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Team Health Shots Published: 10 Oct 2023, 10:30 am IST
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Do you also love the tangy taste of “aam ka achar” your mother made? Well, we Indians are familiar with the taste of this mixed bowl of spices and veggies or fruits. Mango, lemon, amla, cabbage, carrot, radish, and bitter gourd – you name it and you have the pickle that tastes amazing. It is often found as an add-on to the plate to help add some flavour to the dishes that would sometimes seem a little too bland. While we all love the tangy taste, it is the need to take care of our health that convinces our minds to shift our focus to more healthy food. Also, the habit of eating too much pickle can land you in trouble. Yes, there are certain side effects of pickles you must know.

Side effects of pickles you must know

1. Low nutritional value

The process of making pickles mainly includes cutting fruits or vegetables and leaving them under the sun to dry. No amount of water is allowed to remain in fruits or vegetables. Drying in sunlight destroys most of the nutrients. A coating of salt is also applied to them during the drying process, which only makes it worse. In short, the process of making pickles reduces its nutritional value.

Pickles has little nutritional value. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Can increase blood pressure levels

Excess salt is applied at the time of drying them in the sun and more salt is also added during the making process. The excess salt in pickles increases the sodium content in them, making them extremely harmful to your health. The sodium in these salty foods like pickles can increase your blood pressure levels, which can lead to heart problems as well. While eating a pickle once in a while will not be harmful, regular consumption of extra sodium can lead to several health issues.

Our intestines absorb sodium during digestion, causing an increase in sodium electrolytes. This causes fluid migration into the bloodstream to dilute it. Excess fluid exerts more force on the walls of blood vessels, which causes your blood pressure to shoot up. When potassium intake exceeds sodium intake, the body maintains electrolyte balance. In this ratio, potassium works to soften the activity of sodium. If the body receives more sodium than potassium, the sodium system becomes dysregulated, which can lead to problems.

Also Read: 6 high sodium foods that make your blood pressure levels shoot up

3. Harmful to your kidneys

Did you know a regular medium-sized mango pickle has 569 mg of sodium? The daily requirement of our bodies is 2,300 mg, as per the Food and Drug Administration, USA. Excessive use of salt in pickles can increase the amount of sodium in our diet, which can lead to severe health problems like water retention, bloating, high blood pressure, and increased workload on the kidneys. A diet high in salt also leads to a fluid overload and can prove toxic for the heart, vascular system, and kidneys according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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pickles and kidney
Pickles can be harmful to your kidneys. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Leads to high cholesterol levels

The process of making pickles also includes soaking the vegetables in oil, which acts as a moisture barrier and preserves them. This oil also increases cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of developing or worsening heart disease. Studies have also found that high cholesterol levels can damage the liver in the long run.

Plus, the oil used in making pickles contains trans fat, which occurs due to hydrogenation. Trans fat increases the shelf life of pickles, but increases LDL cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol) and reduces HDL cholesterol (Good Cholesterol). These also increase the triglyceride level.

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