April 12, 2024
Nutrition Facts: Dill Pickles vs. Sweet Pickles
  Dill Pickles Sweet Pickles
Calories 5 18
Fat <1g  <1g 
Sodium 326mg 91.4mg
Carbohydrates <1g 4.24g
Fiber <1g <1g
Protein <1g <1g
Vitamin K 5.6% to 9% DV 7.8% to 12.5% DV

Two dill or sweet pickle spears would provide at least 10% of the daily need for vitamin K. Just like calcium and vitamin D, vitamin K benefits bone health. Vitamin K also helps support proper blood clotting.

Some pickles are fermented, but there are two ways to make pickles. You can use standard pickling or fermented pickling.

Standard pickling involves preserving cucumbers in salt, with or without tangy acid—like vinegar—and other possible ingredients, such as sugar and seasonings. Pickles created by fermentation is a process where naturally occurring bacteria grow over a few weeks to produce lactic acid, giving pickles their characteristic sourness.

Naturally occurring bacteria that help with pickle fermentation can include Lactobacillus, which is a probiotic—beneficial microorganism that supports good bacteria. Research has suggested Lactobacillus may have the potential to improve immune function and aid in better digestion and nutrient absorption.

Part of weight management is ensuring that you don’t consume more calories than you burn. Pickles might help with weight management as long as you eat them in moderation. Both dill and sweet pickles are low in calories, with dill pickles having a lower calorie count.

Keep in mind that pickles are generally high in sodium, or salt. One spear has over 300mg of sodium or about 13% of the daily recommended limit for healthy adults. If you have high blood pressure or are sensitive to sodium, check the sodium content on your pickle’s nutrition facts label so you can moderate your sodium intake.

You can check the suggested serving size to assess the sodium content in the portion you eat. For example, a 1-ounce serving—or half of a whole pickle—may provide 270mg of sodium. Eating the whole pickle would increase your sodium intake to 540mg, about a quarter of the daily advised limit.

Cucumbers aren’t the only food that can be pickled. You can also enjoy pickled:

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bell, hot, jalapeño, and marinated peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots and baby carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn relish
  • Dilled beans
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Jicama
  • Marinated mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Pearl onions
  • Protein sources, like fish and eggs
  • Squash and zucchini
  • Sweet green tomatoes
  • Three bean salad

Most pickles sold at supermarkets are not fermented. Look for pickles specifically labeled as fermented or probiotic if you’re interested in probiotic perks. Even if you aren’t looking for probiotic benefits from your pickles, take a moment to scan the ingredient list before adding a jar to your cart.

Some brands are made with all-natural ingredients, such as a simple combination of cucumbers, water, vinegar, and spices. Others include additives you may choose to avoid, such as artificial colors and preservatives.

Pickles are much more versatile than you might think. Apart from serving them as a condiment on burgers, pickles can be:

  • Added, in their minced form, to chilled protein salads made from egg, tuna, chicken, or chickpea
  • Eaten as desserts such as pickles drizzled with whipped maple cream, chocolate-covered pickles, pickle ice cream, and even pickle cupcakes
  • Enjoyed in hummus, potato salad, atop pizza, or even in grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches

If you’re interested in learning how to make pickles, you can find recipes and guides online. You can also look for a class at a local culinary school.

If the high sodium content isn’t an issue for your health, fermented pickles that provide probiotics may offer benefits tied to these friendly microbes. Conventional pickles without “good” bacteria aren’t nutrient powerhouses, but they do provide a decent amount of vitamin K. Enjoy them in moderation to satisfy a salt and crunch craving.

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