The idea of drinking pickle juice may sound unpleasant, but the health benefits may surprise you.
People have tried a lot of interesting concoctions over the years in pursuit of better health. There have been the old-school bodybuilders – and Rocky – who would drink raw eggs, along with people eating insects as a good source of protein.
Drinking pickle juice is one of those healthy options that have caught many off guard, and you may have seen more and more people using it. But what is the reason for this and what are the health benefits they are using it for?
What Is Pickle Juice? & Why Are People Drinking It?
We often think pickles themselves as just a side condiment or something you find on top of a burger. Real pickles, however, are very healthy food and one that you should consider eating.
Pickling cucumbers create healthy bacteria that we need to improve gut health. You may think of probiotic choices being things like kombucha, kefir, and saurkraut. These are good choices, but pickles fall into the same category.
Pickles are easy to make and just involve being stored in salty water to ferment. The fermentation process is where good bacteria is made. These good bacteria are the probiotics that help heal the gut. When your gut health is improved, your overall health gets better. Probiotic food such as pickles also helps with digestion and allows you to better absorb nutrients.
So that’s how the pickles can help, but what about the liquid that is left behind from the pickling process? This is the pickle juice and you want to think twice before throwing it out as it is filled with electrolytes and nutrients.
Before we look at the health benefits, here is the nutritional content that you find in 3.5 oz, or 100 ml of pickle juice:
- Carbs – 0.4 grams
- Calcium – 1.5% of the RDI
- Sodium – 50 to 115% of the RDI
- Potassium – 3% of the RDI
- Magnesium – 3% of the RDI
- Probiotics – up to 10,700 CFU’s or colony-forming units
How Should You Take Pickle Juice & How Much
Opening up a jar and chugging from it may make you gag, and that’s understandable. If you’re already a fan of pickles, drinking some juice shouldn’t be a big deal to you. If you’re a little squeamish, there are a few things you can do. The first is to dilute it with some more water. It might not be the best-tasting thing, but it won’t be as bad as you think.
Another option is to make a salad dressing out of it using some olive oil. The saltiness of the juice can work well as a salad dressing. Using flavored herbal olive oil can be another good way to mask the taste. A few ounces of pickle juice can also be easily added to any smoothie. With other flavors in your smoothie, it’s another good way to hide the taste.
The good news is that you do not need a large amount. For these various health benefits, drinking just an ounce or two of pickle juice will help.
Let’s look at five of these health benefits that come from drinking pickle juice.
1. Pickle Juice May Be As A Sports Drink Substitute
We can see pickle juice as a natural, low-calorie, but probiotic filled version of Gatorade. The point of sports drinks is to help replenish lost electrolytes.
The problem is that they fill these drinks with a lot of sugar, dyes, and artificial flavors. During periods of intense exercise, especially in the heat, we lose sodium through sweat. This can lead to cramping, impaired performance, and in extreme cases, organ failure.
Pickle juice has been seen in some studies to increase water intake and blood levels of sodium after exercise. Drinking pickle juice before and after exercise can also help to reduce muscle cramps.
2. Pickle Juice Can Soothe An Upset Stomach
Drinking pickle juice may be the last thing you want with an upset stomach, but don’t rule it out. Pickle juice has been seen to relieve symptoms related to an upset stomach. Pickle juice makes for a good choice in this situation as you only need a small amount and it can be consumed very quickly.
3. Pickle Juice Can Help With Muscle Cramps
Like with exercise, muscle cramps usually come down to low levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. We can find these three things in pickle juice.
Drinking pickle juice may be the best choice for any cramps because of the calcium chloride and vinegar found in it. This allows sodium to be better absorbed by the body, helping to reduce and eliminate cramps.
This can also be a solution if you suffer from PMS and night cramps.
4. It Helps You To Get A Dose Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect your body from the damage of free radicals. Think of free radicals as rust inside your body. The problem is that this rust and these free radicals lead to DNA damage, premature aging, and certain cancers. Antioxidants help to combat the free radical damage and you can find it in pickle juice.
Besides containing vitamin C, electrolytes, and calcium, pickle juice has a good amount of antioxidants. The big benefit – compared to other antioxidant supplements – is that the acidic content from the juice allows the body to better absorb the antioxidants.
5. Drinking Pickle Juice Can Combat Heart Burn
This may seem bizarre to think of. How can you drink something so acidic help with heartburn? The answer is that this acid actually allows for your stomach to control the acid in it. This allows the valve to close tighter and prevent the release of the acid that causes heartburn.
Eating pickles, and drinking pickle juice for health has been around for thousands of years but is still a newer concept to many. There are not a ton of studies supporting its use, but some have been encouraging.
Talk to your doctor if you have any conditions you think pickle juice may remedy and don’t rely on it as a solution. However, some research looks promising, and it’s an easy and affordable way to get a health boost.