Who does not love the sour punch of a pickle? Either in addition to a sandwich, or straight from the jar, pickles are satisfying to our taste buds. But, aside from having a salty and tangy crunch, do the pickles have probiotics like other fermented foods (e.g. Sauerkraut)? Let’s find out together!
Do pickles have probiotics in them?
Yes, some types of pickles but not all contain probiotic bacteria.
So, which pickles have probiotics?
Sal-brined, fermented pickles are a good source of probiotics
If the pickles are made by fermenting vegetables in a brine solution of water and salt, the good bacteria eat the sugars in the vegetables. As a result, lactic acid is released, turning saltwater into an acidic solution; this process is called Lacto-fermentation. This lactic acid gives fermented pickles their sour flavor and helps create an environment where beneficial bacteria can thrive.
Vinegar pickles do not contain probiotics?
True to their name, vinegar pickles are generally produced through the addition of vinegar. The vinegar in the brine offers pickles preservation power and a tangy flavor. However, vinegar pickles do not contain the live probiotics formed during fermentation.
Thinking about choosing fermented pickles? Hold on, there is a catch: not all fermented pickles have probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. These good bacteria need to be alive to do beneficial work.
Pasteurized fermented pickles do not contain live probiotics.
Pasteurization is a heating process that will kill all good and bad bacteria indiscriminately. Therefore, if the pickles are pasteurized, they will not contain live and active probiotics.
How many probiotics are in pickles?
Each fermented pickle contains about 1.3 billion CFU probiotics. Eating one pickle per day can help to maintain healthy bacteria in the gut.
Benefits of Pickles with Probiotics
- Support a healthy balance in the gut microbiome
- Promote bowel regularity and digestion
- Boost immunity and reduce inflammation
- Improve mental wellbeing
- Pickled fruits and veggies provide you with a wealth of antioxidants and vitamins
How to pick pickles that have probiotics
- Find a product labeled as “ fermented”
Only fermented pickles offer probiotic benefits.
- Read the ingredient list for “vinegar”
If you are in doubt, read the ingredient list. Vinegar pickles do not have probiotics.
- Check out the “refrigerated” section
Shelf-stable pickles usually rely on vinegar as a preservative and are pasteurized. Therefore, choose unpasteurized fermented pickles from the refrigerated aisle.
- Make your “own pickles”
Homemade fermented pickles might have the highest probiotic content as long as you correctly ferment them.
- Look at “sodium content” of pickles for safe use
Pickles are salty. Just one spear has over 300 mg or about 13% of the daily sodium needs. Therefore, be sure to check the sodium content so that you can moderate your sodium intake.
Make your own fermented probiotic pickles
- To make the brine, bring the water to a boil and add the sea salt. Stir the salt until it dissolves.
- Wash the cucumbers and cut them into thin slices. Pack the cucumbers into a glass jar tightly. And pour the brine over the cucumbers. Make sure all the slices are submerged under the brine fully.
- Then, keep the lid covered tightly at room temperature for 5-10 days. If you’re fermenting in warm weather, make sure to check them every day. Move them to the fridge as soon as they turn sour and salty.
The bottom line
Not all pickles offer good probiotics. To get the most benefits from pickles, it is important to know how they are made and what is in them. I hope my article will be of great help the next time you choose pickles that have probiotics. If you have any more questions about probiotics, please contact us on drtunmin.com.