Pickles are a great snack on the side of sandwiches or directly on a great burger whether they be veggie or beef, but have you ever looked into the benefits of the very juice they swim in? Pickle juice can have many advantageous effects on the body.
Many athletes will drink pickle juice before and after working out because of the high electrolyte content due to sodium. It helps relieve muscle cramps and fatigue. It is also being used in many emergency rooms around the country to aid those with cardiac difficulties as it will help balance sodium levels. Pickle juice can become effective at relieving muscle cramps in less than a minute and a half, not only because of the sodium but how quickly it can be absorbed by the body. The absorption is helped along by the calcium chloride and vinegar.
The body needs sodium to maintain healthy fluid levels in and around the cells. As we sweat, as with athletics and heavy workouts, we lose that sodium along with the necessary electrolyte potassium. Dehydration can cause many severe issues, especially in those who sweat heavily through exercise or working under the hot sun regularly. By ingesting pickle juice, the necessary nutrients are returned to the body quickly, restoring a healthy pH balance and maintaining the body’s natural chemistry.
While not officially proven, there has been substantial evidence to suggest that drinking an ounce or two of pickle juice at night before bed can also help alleviate restless leg syndrome. RLS affects between five and 15 percent of the general population, with nearly 3 million people looking for relief yearly. This is not to discount the nearly 15 million people that suffer from nightly leg cramps, commonly called a “charley horse.” By increasing your sodium and potassium levels, these can also be a thing of the past.
It has also been found that drinking pickle juice can help relieve indigestion, heartburn, and upset stomach. Because of these effects, it is widely used to overcome hangovers after a night of over-indulging in alcohol. The electrolytes that pickle juice has is just an added bonus. A “pickleback” is a shot of pickle juice used as a chaser for liquor and is becoming more common in bars everywhere as people learn that it can not only help after the fact, but also keep electrolytes in balance while drinking.
Because of the high acidic content due to the vinegar in pickle juice, the body is able to absorb it easier than many solid foods and vitamins. The bonus to this is the fact that pickle juice is high in vitamin C, calcium, as well as the aforementioned electrolytes. Pickle juice is an excellent way to boost the immune system and overall health.
While many people swear by drinking pickle juice by itself, there are those that cannot tolerate the taste. The good news is that there are other ways to get it into your system while avoiding the vinegar flavor. It can be diluted in water, added to your favorite workout shake, and added to foods that you would normally eat with pickle slices. My personal favorite is making “pickle pops” by freezing leftover pickle juice into ice trays and adding toothpicks. They are a great treat after being outside on a hot summer day.
The best pickle juice will always be the most natural that you can find, so my recommendation is looking for a nearby farmer’s market or even better yet, making some yourself and enjoying fresh pickles and the benefits that come with them!