Do you prefer adding spice to simple meals? Well, pickles and chutneys can surely help you in doing so. There are a wide range of pickles and chutneys available in the Indian market. These foods have several health benefits but can have drawbacks due to overconsumption too. Pickle is made from foods like mango, lemon, aloe vera, etc. On the other hand, chutney is a spicy, sour and a tinge of sweet blend of ingredients like corriander, coconut, tomato, etc. A comparison between pickle and chutney is a debatable topic most of the times as to which one is healthier than the other. To dig more into it, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Arushi Gupta, Associate Dietician, Dayanand Medical College and hospital, Ludhiana, about the health benefits, side effects and nutritional value of pickles and chutneys.
Pickles health benefits
Pickles has many health benefits from being a probiotic to boosting immunity. Pickles are loaded with nutrients like Vitamin A, D and K, along with minerals such as sodium, potassium, etc. Pickles don't just add flavour to your meal but also enrich the nutrient quality of your food. Pickles such as cucumber, spinach, thyme, mango are also good sources of vitamin C. The major health benefits of pickles are:
1. Immunity booster
Pickles are a rich source of Vitamin A, that makes it capable to act as an immunity booster. By making your immunity stronger, pickles help your body in fighting various diseases, infections and even preventing them. Moreover, pickle also has good bacterias and antioxidants that help in enhancing your overall health too.
2. Maintains good gut health
Your gut health has to be strong for many bodily functions. Pickle is a fermented products, that makes it play a major role in maintaining good gut health. Not to mention, if your gut is clear, you will also have a smooth weight loss journey. It is not an aid in weight loss but can be consumed in the right quantity during the time. However, the consumption should be in very small portion as it may lead to constipation.
3. Good probiotic food
Pickles are one of the best probiotic foods. And probiotics are good bacteria that help in improving your health and overcoming many illnesses. If we consume pickle in little amounts, it helps with the whole body and your brain as it is a probiotic. Moreover, probiotic foods like pickles can even give better-looking skin and hair.
4. Control blood sugar levels
Pickes are also good as they control sugar levels of a patient. Vinegar based pickles help in improving hemoglobin levels in diabetic patients. It is basically because of acetic acid that is present in vinegar.
Pickles side effects
There are a wide range of pickles that you can chose from. Some famous Indian pickles that are easily available in the market and can be consumed at home are aloe vera pickle, green chillies pickle, Mango pickle, Lemon pickle, mix vegetable and Amla pickle. However, one should always take care of the quantity intake of pickles. It should be eaten like an added flavour and not like the main sabzi in the meal. Excess consumption of pickles can put a barrier in enjoying the health benefits of this food. Dt. Arushi said, "Pickle are although a very good way to make our food even more delicious and healthy, but there are many disadvantages that add up to it. This basically includes high sodium that is bad for hypertensive patients as sodium increases blood pressure hence causing hypertension. Also, pickles lead to oesophageal cancer as well as gastric cancers. In many pickles, we also see excessive oil present which can also lead to increased cholesterol levels." Check out the main side effects of having pickles:
1. High sodium content
Pickles have very high content of sodium, regardless of what kind. The amount of sodium we might consume in one serving from pickle might just be enough for an average human body for the whole day. They are fat free and low in calories but can disturb your sodium consumption of the day.
2. Water retention
Pickles have another drawback of water retention due to the high sodium content. The excess salt present in it might make your body retain water which can result in bloating. When the body fails to eliminate excess water, it is commonly known as water retention. So, it is suggested to eat pickles in very small amounts.
3. Excess spices
People with high blood pressure are not recommended to have pickle. Except sodium, pickle even has high content of many other spices. Moreover, it is very spicy, so you should only take a small amount along with your meal.
Pickles nutritional value
Pickles are rich in antioxidants and has many important nutrients present in it. They are rich sources of vitamins like Vitamin B, K, A and C. In fact, it is also loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, folates and potassium. The nutrients of different types of pickles is different. But, the nutritional facts of the most popular and everyone's favourite mango pickle are:
Pickle (100 grams)
- Calories: 17 calories
- Sodium: 1200-1300 mg
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 2%
- Iron: 3%
Chutney health benefits
There are many chutney options that you can try at home like curry leaves chutney, Purina chutney, coriander leaves chutney, tomato chutney, etc. Chutneys are prepared by cooking and blending the vegetable at home. Chutney cannot be preserved and is advised to be consumed the day it is cooked. While, pickles can be stored in jars for consumption for many weeks. But, just like pickle, chutney also has many health benefits. They are:
Chutney acts as a detoxifier for your stomach. Consuming even little amounts of chutney can help in cleansing your stomach with its helpful vitamins like Vitamin B, C and A. Therefore, you can eat a little chutney in your sandwich or salad too, to enjoy this health benefit.
2. Improves digestion
Chutneys play a vital role in enhancing your digestive system too. Pickles contain a lot of oil a spices that makes it a heavy food. On the other hand, chutney is mostly a blend of healthy vegetables that can directly help in improving digestion. As it is a probiotic food, it is very beneficial for your digestive system.
3. Maintains good heart health
Chutney helps in lowering the cholesterol levels, thus helping in maintaining good heart health. Chutneys have a lot of beneficial nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and fiber, that are good for your heart. So, you can include a little amount of chutney in your daily diet.
Chutney side effects
Overconsuming any food item can give birth to many uninvited health problems. Therefore, it is always adviced to consider chutney also as a flavour on your plate and not the main food to have bread with. Though the ingredients differ in every chutney, here are the major side effects of consuming it:
1. Can go stale
Unlike pickles, chutney cannot be stored for weeks. Even if it is kept in the refrigerator, chutney can go stale at any point of time, especially during summer season. Chutney does not contain preservatives like pickles that can keep it fresh for a long time. One has to consume it the same or next day of cooking.
2. Allergic reactions
Some people might even have allergic reactions to some chutneys. There are chances of throat swelling and skin rash after consuming it. One has to take care of the ingredients that have been used in the chutney before eating it, as it is a blend of many items. Allergic reactions is a common side effect of consuming chutney.
3. High sugar content
Chutneys contain high amounts of sugar as well. And sugar can have many negative effects on your body. This the reason why you shouldn’t consume chutney every other day. Having it once in a while will not be harmful for your health.
4. Might increase weight
Dietician Arushi said, "In many cases, chutney can become too spicy or is made with excessive oil, which can lead to overweight or obesity. And, the spices can cause gastric problems in some cases."
Nutritional value of chutney
Just like pickle, chutney is also made up from variety of ingredients. With a low calorific value, chutney contains nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins and mineral such as Vitamin B3, C, E and sodium. Every type of chutney can have different nutritional value. However, to get an idea of the overall nutrient quality of chutney, here are the nutritional facts of the very tasty and common coconut chutney:
Chutney (One tablespoon)
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sodium: 4 grams
Pickle Vs Chutney: Which one is healthier?
There is no such superiority in any of the foods. Both pickle and chutney are highly nutritious and offer several health benefits to the human body. These tasty food items should be consumed in small quantities to enjoy advantages and prevent side effects of overconsumption. Therefore, you can include both chutney and pickle in your diet but in very little amount! Dt. Arushi said, "Both are good sources of various nutrients and have there own advantages and disadvantages when taken in moderation. So, as a dietician, my suggestion is that take these additives but in moderation. that you don't face any health problem. Specially in hypertension, pickles should not be added at all where as in diabetic patients, chutneys must not be preferred. Where we talk about chutney versus pickle, they both are simply additives which improve the taste of the food and makes our food fulfilled."
Read more articles on Healthy diet