Food
Rujuta points out that we are ready to eat all the salt that the food industry sells us, but are not okay with the salt in homemade pickles.

Do you love pickles but stay away because of their high salt or oil content? It would be better for you to indulge, says nutrition and exercise science expert Rujuta Diwekar.

In a recent video, Rujuta says that eating pickle, something that has been part of Indian cuisine for a very long time, is actually good for health.

Over the last 40 years, she points out, Indians have constantly been told to lower our salt intake and yet they, particularly Indian women, today are more prone to high BP than before.

"What we are now doing is we won't eat stuff like pickles, but we are okay to eat Marie biscuits with our tea everyday. Because we are okay with the salt in Marie biscuits. We are okay with the salt that the food industry wants to sell to us. But the salt that we put in pickles that we make at home, we are not okay with that," she says.

She then goes on explain why pickles need higher levels of oil and salt.

Pickles, she says, go through a process called lacto-fermentation, for which oil and salt are essential. This process is what prevents the growth of bad bacteria, and without it, pickles will spoil easily.

Despite this, she says, pickles do have a role to play in good health.

"Pickle really is our wine," she says, explaining that they are a good source of vitamin K2 which necessary for the absorption of vitamin D that is critical for thyroid, insulin and brain development.

 
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Rujuta, who consults for several A-listers including actor Kareena Kapoor Khan and industrialist Anil Ambani and has also authored several books, believes in "using our common sense and un-complicating the act of eating".

She has often spoken about the need to consume more local and seasonal crops and to not be swayed away by dieting trends that change regularly.

"Quinoa doesn't sit well in your stomach nor does it blend with anything. And until two years ago, we didn't even know what kale was. Now, we have it in every form. We are copying the poor man's food from a different continent. There is such diversity in the food of our own country — grains, legumes, pulses — but are overlooking it," she said in an interview to Hindustan Times.

She also told HT that the way nutrition facts are often presented has confused people more than helping them.

"The demarcation of carbohydrates, proteins and fats was meant to help people make sensible decisions. But it has just left people confused. These days, selling anything by terming it 'transfat-free' or 'sugar-free' is lucrative. The only people benefitting are those in the food and weight-loss industries," she said.

Image of pickle courtesy: By Jagisnowjughead, via Wikimedia Commons