No Indian meal is complete without pickles and since ages, we have been consuming wide varieties of pickles on daily basis to give our platter a tangy accompaniment. Spicy, sour or sweet, pickles are loved by people of all age groups and no doubt they contain some essential nutrients. Since too much oil, sweet or spices are harmful for health, excessive or frequent consumption of pickles can result in various health disorders and may gradually pave the foundation for many lifestyle diseases. Here are 7 major reasons that explain why you must avoid eating pickles every other day:
1. Excessively Oily
For preparing pickles, vegetables are soaked in oil because oil prevents moisture from being released from vegetables and acts as a preservative. Due to soaking of vegetables in oil, pickles are protected from bacteria and fungus formation due to which they do not decay for a long period of time. But consumption of pickles causes intake of this oil, which increases the level of cholesterol and frequent consumption increases the risk of suffering from heart diseases. High cholesterol levels can also cause damage to the liver in the long run.
2. High Salt Content
Various studies have found that increased salt consumption increases the risk of heart disease and hypertension. It is also the major reason for water retention and swelling, which results in rise in the volume of blood, thereby resulting in high blood pressure. According to the World Health Organisation, 5 gm or one teaspoon is the daily recommended intake for salt, which is actually quite lesser than the salt content in one spoon of pickle. Some people may experience sudden shoot in the blood pressure after consuming more than a spoon of pickle with meals. The excess fluid retention after sodium intake increases the level of blood plasma in the body, causes instant increase in blood pressure.
In fact, homemade pickles are better in terms of quality in comparison to commercially prepared pickles because they make use of table salt for preservation instead of chemicals such as sodium benzoate, which is harmful and causes oxygen deprivation in cells that may ultimately lead to cancer.
3. Increases Chances Of Digestive Disorders
Another potential side effect of eating pickles is that it may lead to various digestive disorders. While excess of anything is harmful for the body, pickles can however cause serious digestive upset. Studies have confirmed that excessive and regular intake of pickles can cause diarrhoea, discomfort or pain in the abdominal area or even flatulence.
4. Causes Bloating
Bloating and water retention too are major side effects arising from eating pickles. The body reacts with the high sodium content in the pickles by retaining water to ensure that the osmotic balance of the body is maintained. Excessive consumption of pickles may thereby cause swelling and lead to discomfort in stomach region.
6. Increases Workload of Kidneys
Eating pickles or having pickle juice can cause a temporary spike in the workload on kidneys. The main function of the kidney is to act as a filter and it keeps the nutrients required by the body while eliminating all the waste and toxins. After consuming a high salt meal such as pickles, the kidneys have to work hard in removing the excessive salt from the body to maintain normal blood pressure and blood volume. In case you already suffer from kidney disorders, then avoid eating pickles or foods that are highly salty or oily.
7. Can Improve The Risk Of Gastric Cancer
According to a study conducted in the southern part of India among people belonging to same socio economic background and who follow similar food consumption patterns, it was found that eating pickles is directly linked to increase in the risk of suffering from gastric cancer.
8. Pickled Vegetables Can Be Potential Cause Of Oesophageal Cancer
Various medical studies have also found that consuming pickled vegetables frequently and in more quantities can improve the risk of oesophageal cancer.
While pickles have always formed an indispensable part of the traditional food platter all over India, its excessive or regular consumption can prove to be hazardous to the health in the long run. However, having pickles in small quantities can have several health benefits as well!