We all know how Achar or Indian pickle is favored by Indians, especially when consumed as a side dish with a chatpati taste along with roti or paratha in your main course or even as an evening snack. Indian pickle is made by a combination of fruits and spices to give it that taste.
Indians love Achar and I doubt if there any Indians who haven’t tasted achar in their life. There are basically two types of Achar, one that you directly buy from the market and another that your mom or grandmother makes at home. So today in this article we will be looking at the nutritional information of achar and also will be determining if it is good for our health.
How is achar made?
The preparation of the pickle depends on the type of pickle you are trying to make. If you are trying to make a mango pickle then you use mango as the main ingredient and so on. The fruit is chopped into small pieces and then dried in sunlight. This is done to soak away the water from the fruit. Then spices like salt, masala and many more are added to it. This achar is kept in a jar and mixed in mustard oil to improve the shelf life. The oil is added to prevent the achar from developing fungus and to improve the shelf life.
Does achar have any nutritional health benefits?
This is quite common for you to think that the nutritional value of the fruit should be passed on to the achar and finally will have various health benefits. This is a myth as while preparing the achar, the fruit or vegetable used as the main ingredient of the achar loses all its nutritive value because of drying it in direct sunlight.
Nutritional Information of 1 tablespoon ( 15g ) Indian pickle
|Nutrition ( 1tbsp of Indian pickle )||Amount|
This is a simple breakdown of the amount of approximate nutritional value you get from 1 tablespoon of the achar. The breakdown shows 90% of fat and 10% carbohydrates. The fat is found because of the usage of oil while preparing the achar. The homemade achar uses mustard oil whereas the pickle that you buy from stores contains hydrogenated oil to increase the shelf life.
What does an Indian pickle contain?
Indian pickle or achar generally contains the main ingredient as a fruit or vegetable along with spices, oil and salt. 1 tablespoon of achar consists of about 800mg sodium (minimum) and trans fat. Trans fat lowers down the good cholesterol in your body and increases the bad cholesterol.
The bad things in Indian pickle
- Too much sodium is present in achar because of the usage of high amount of salt to spice up the pickle. We know how too much salt can affect our health adversely. The daily requirement of sodium is about 2300mg out of which 800mg you are from pickle (about 40%).
- Too much fat is found in 1 tablespoon of the pickle. This is because of the usage of high amount of mustard oil/hydrogenated oil for the preparation of the pickle.
- Trans fat is very bad for your health and causes future heart diseases. Trans fat is responsible for raising bad cholesterol and lowers down the good cholesterol in your body.
- The nutritive benefit of the fruit/vegetable used in the achar is not passed on to your health as the fruit/vegetable is dried up in direct sunlight before the preparation and loses all its benefits.
We generally eat achar with khichdi, rice, roti, sabzi. Indian food items already contain salt in them and adding pickles to this would further increase the salt intake. The salt intake could rise up to 1500mg for 1 meal. And this value is for 1 tablespoon of achar. If 1 tablespoon of achar is not for you once in a day then the sodium intake value goes up further.
Side effects of eating Indian pickle
- The first thing that the salt in the pickle will directly affect is your blood pressure. Your blood pressure slowly starts rising with high sodium intake.
- Stomach bloating and the formation of gas are common side effects of eating Indian pickles.
- Your kidneys get affected due to the high sodium intake. Your kidneys will be under high pressure and may not properly filtrate the blood.
- The calcium that you gain for edible items may not be properly absorbed by the body. Too much sodium in the body directly affects calcium absorption in your body. Your bones become weaker.
- Future heart-related problems may be seen because of the amount of trans fat you are consuming through achar. The LDL (bad cholesterol) increases and HDL (good cholesterol) decreases causing major heart-related issues.
To be precise achar or Indian pickle does not have any health benefits because every nutritional benefit is lost during the preparation. The only great thing about achar is its great chatpata taste. Overall Indian pickle does not have any benefits, rather it has proven side effects that will haunt you in the near future. So why eat something that has no protein or health benefits but only carbohydrates and fats? Alongside, the risks of developing health problems in the near future increase.