MYTHS WE GENERALLY HEAR –
“Avoid it if you have high blood pressure because there’s too much salt” OR
“Avoid it if you have cholesterol, there’s so much oil” OR
“Too many spices in it, not good if you have IBS, acidity or allergies, avoid it!”
WHAT THE FACTS ARE –
Not long ago, almost each family in India had its own secret recipe of making its pickles. These recipes were meticulously passed down to the next generation who treasured it only to continue this legacy with it’s future generations; very much like a piece of heirloom jewellery, unique and priceless, that is passed down from generation to generation.
Then around the 1970s, some 40 years back, people authorized to give health/ diet advice started questioning this very heritage for the salt/ oil/ and spices it contains. Women folks getting together for the annual pickle making ritual gradually started becoming a rare sight.
On the other hand, fermented foods (specifically lacto-fermentation) today have gained popularity worldwide as people have started discovering its health benefits along with the great taste it offers. Tabloids and health blogs are dutifully reaching out to the ‘health-conscious’ informing them about its ‘probiotics’ benefit. Celebrities are being roped in to endorse ‘probiotic drinks’ packed in fancy bottles, calling it the new ‘superfood’.
Amongst all this fuss, what is not being promoted and endorsed is the ‘live bacteria-rich’ pickle our daadi-naani made through the same process of ‘lacto-fermentation’ that is gaining popularity worldwide. The salt she adds, aids in controlling the fermentation process, the oil acts as natural preservative and the methi/ jeera/ dhania have anti – microbial properties that also enhances the taste.
Let’s look at some more benefits of grandmom’s “Achaar” and why you MUST have it –
1. Fights obesity & diabetes– Our fast paced lifestyle heavy on packaged/ processed food upsets the balance of our gut microbiota. New researches link the changes in our “gut flora mix” with an increase in obesity and diabetes. The ‘live’ bacteria in homemade achaar helps restore the diversity and strength of the gut microbiota, accelerates fat burning and increases insulin sensitivity.
2. Fights bloating– By providing just the right strain of bacteria, it helps in relieving bloating and makes you look thinner on your tummy.
3. Stimulates Vit B12 & Vit D– Encourages production of Vit B12 & Vit D3. If your blood reports have declared you deficient in these vitamins, do take a vitamin shot of your homemade achaar!
4. Improves digestion – Being enzymes and probiotic rich, achaar aids in digestion and helps assimilate and absorb nutrients from food (The science behind the age old practice of having a small pickle with your fibre-rich rotis and rice)
5. Boosts immunity – It creates acidic fermentation by-products in the body and lowers the intestine’s pH at a level where it is difficult for any “bad” bacteria to survive. The “good” bacteria it contains secretes anti-microbial proteins that kills off “bad” bacteria and boosts immunity of the body.
So what are you waiting for? Just pickle it up!