Do Pickles Count as Vegetables?
We all know that eating our veggies is one of the most important steps to living a healthy lifestyle. But do pickles qualify as part of that vegetable category? Let’s take a look!
The Origin of Pickles
Pickles are originally cucumbers that have been preserved in brine, usually vinegar and salt. Since cucumbers are fruits, not vegetables, this leads to the debate of whether pickles can be classified as vegetables or not.
What do Health Professionals Say?
The medical and nutrition community typically doesn’t consider pickles as vegetables.
But Wait, There’s More!
Even though pickles technically come from a fruit, the Department of Agriculture considers them to be a part of the primary vegetable food group. So while they may not be the healthiest choice of snack, you can enjoy them as one of your 5 a day without any guilt!
Pickles are still a great way to parlay the health benefits of cucumbers. Cucumbers are very low in calories but high in both water and important electrolytes. They’re also a great source of Vitamin K, which is important for blood coagulation, preventing calcium from being washed out of bones, and even promoting brain health.
While it’s true that traditional pickles are packed with electrolytes, the majority of commercially available pickles are actually loaded with tons of unnecessary calories due to added sugar and other harmful chemicals. So it’s probably best to make your own at home or read labels before you buy.
The verdict is in – pickles can be counted towards your vegetable intake, but they need to be consumed in moderation. Here’s a brief summary of the nutritional benefits and drawbacks of pickles:
- Benefits: Low calorie, electrolyte-rich, source of Vitamin K
- Drawbacks: Often high in sugar, added chemicals
No matter how you look at it, pickles can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy them in moderation, and be sure to read labels for any hidden added sugars or unwanted additives.