One more reason to love pickles, according to Will Bulsiewicz, MD, gastroenterologist and New York Times bestselling author of books Powered by fiber And The fiber cookbookis that certain types have impressive microbiome-boosting potential…depending on how they’re made.
We caught up with Dr. Bulsiewicz to find out the best types of pickles for gut health and what to look for on the ingredient label when buying at the supermarket, including what it means when pickles are made with it. and without vinegar and the implications this can have on gut health and digestion.
Certain types of pickles are better for gut health, according to a gastro
Let us fill you in on the back story here. In a recent Instagram video from @theguthealthmd, Dr. Bulsiewicz explains that there are two main types of pickles and, no, we’re not talking about dill or bread and butter. We’re talking pickles made with and without vinegar.
Why is this important? According to the gastroenterologist, pickles made with vinegar do not offer as many gut benefits as those made by fermentation. On the contrary, Dr. Bulsiewicz explains that “real” pickles (without vinegar) are a product of natural bacteria that produce acids and a vinegary taste through fermentation. Pickles have the most gut-boosting live active cultures.
That said, the vast majority of pickle products on grocery store shelves contain vinegar. But know that this is not a serious cause for concern, and it certainly is. not means you should immediately throw them away. After all, Dr. Bulsiewicz says pickles made with vinegar have benefits too. phew.
Why Fermented Pickles Have More Gut Health Benefits Than Vinegar-Based Pickles
To be clear: vinegar, on its own, has health benefits. “I have nothing against pickles made with vinegar; I think they are delicious. I also think they are healthy. After all, they are just cucumbers with vinegar and spices,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “These pickles are also a product of fermentation, produced by microbes. They contain polyphenols, which are plant-based antioxidant compounds that have an anti-inflammatory effect and are also good for your gut microbes,” he says.
That said, while pickles made with vinegar are good for the gut, fermented ones might be even better. Here’s why. “Lacto-fermentation is a slightly different approach to producing pickles. Instead of splashing vinegar on the cucumbers, you instead place a bunch of cucumbers in a brine pot with herbs and spices. naturally existing on the surface of the cucumber, there will be live microbes like Lactobacilli plants Or Leuconostoc mesenteroides, that represent the cucumber microbiome. And when you put the cukes in the brine, you allow those microbes to multiply and grow,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz.
This is where the real magic happens. These microbes naturally create vinegar with vitamins and exopolysaccharides (extracellular macromolecules with potential antibiotic properties) as they grow. “Furthermore, microbes like Lactobacilli plants are probiotics. This means you get the health benefits associated with them, such as Lactobacilli plantswhich has shown beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and brain health,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz.
Why You Should Go For Fermented Pickles Whenever Possible
While vinegar-based pickles have benefits, fermented ones simply offer more in terms of gut health potential. Granted, vinegar pickles taste great and can potentially be faster to make in mass production (fermenting pickles is a longer, slower process). Yet Dr. Bulsiewicz does not believe it. “If I was a pickle CEO, I’d be splashing that vinegar too! But I’m a doctor and I don’t want to leave extra health benefits on the table when they could have been in my belly he says.
“A recent Stanford University study found that adding fermented foods to your diet can improve your gut health within weeks. You get so much more when you opt for lacto-fermented pickles,” adds Dr. Bulsiewicz. Luckily, fermented pickles are easy to find, like Bubbies Pure Kosher Dills or Fermented & Probiotic Olive My Pickle, both available on Amazon. Or, Dr. Bulsiewicz recommends making them at home with his Dill Recipe at the garlic you can find in The fiber cookbook.
Bubbies Pure Kosher Dill — $43.00
Bubbies Pure Kosher Dills are made without sugar, vinegar or preservatives.
Olive My Pickle Fermented Pickles and Probiotics, 3 Pack — $40.00
Olive My Pickles are fermented, probiotic-rich pickles that come in varieties like Kosher Dill, Spicy Dill, and Garlic.
An RD shares the benefits of drinking kombucha: