Benefits Of Pickle Juice

No research has investigated whether pickle juice reduces menstrual cramps, specifically. However, it may ease period cramps in the same way that it soothes other types of cramps.

Everything you need to know about pickle juice

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People have considered pickles to be a health food for centuries, and some claim that pickle juice has its own benefits. What does the research say?

Many people believe that drinking pickle juice is good for the body. Some claim, for example, that it might enhance exercise performance or help control blood sugar.

However, it is very high in sodium.

In this article, we look at the research behind the health effects of pickles and pickle juice.

Share on Pinterest The high sodium content of pickle juice may lead to water retention.

According to the New York Food Museum, records of pickles date back to 2030 B.C., when travelers from India helped start a custom of preserving cucumbers in the Tigris Valley.

Pickling cucumbers requires three main ingredients: cucumbers, salt, and water.

Lactobacillus bacteria, which normally cover the vegetable’s skin, can ferment the cucumber. However, commercial manufacturers usually remove these beneficial probiotic bacteria during processing and add vinegar instead.

After several weeks of curing, the cucumbers have transformed into pickles and are ready to eat. The juice is what surrounds the pickles in the jar.

Bottom line: Pickling is a simple way to preserve cucumbers and other foods, using salt, water, and sometimes vinegar.

Around 3.5 ounces (oz) of pickle juice contains the following nutrients:

  • carbohydrates: 0.4 grams
  • calcium: 1–5% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
  • sodium: 50–115% of the RDI
  • potassium: 3% of the RDI
  • magnesium: 3% of the RDI

Also, unpasteurized pickle juice, without vinegar, may contain significant amounts of probiotic bacteria. However, most commercial varieties of pickle juice are pasteurized.

Bottom line: Pickle juice contains trace amounts of carbs, minerals, and sometimes probiotic bacteria. It is also very high in sodium.

Many sources claim that pickle juice could have health benefits. Below are a few of the most common claims and what the research has to say:

Claim: Pickle juice benefits sports performance

Some people think that the high sodium content of pickle juice can increase hydration before workouts and improve performance.

However, studies have arrived at mixed results.

In a 2014 study , for example, participants consumed 3 oz of pickle juice per 100 pounds of body weight before exercising. The juice had no effect on running performance, sweat rate, or body temperature.

Meanwhile, some people think that drinking pickle juice after exercise has health benefits.

While some studies have shown that drinking the juice helps increase water intake and blood levels of sodium after exercise, others have found no effects.

Bottom line: Small amounts of pickle juice are unlikely to have significant effects on exercise performance.

Claim: Pickle juice cures muscle cramps

A study from 2010 found that muscle cramps could be resolved in 1.5 minutes by drinking 1.5 oz of pickle juice for every 100 lb of body weight.

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Also, the recovery was 45% faster after drinking the juice than after drinking no liquid at all.

The researchers suggested that something in the pickle juice might trigger a reflex in the mouth, sending a signal to the nerves to stop cramping.

However, confirming this effect will require more research.

Bottom line: Evidence suggests that pickle juice might help relieve muscle cramps, but more research is needed.

Claim: Pickle juice lessens stomach pain

Vinegar is a popular home remedy for an upset stomach. It also happens to be a prime ingredient in many commercially produced pickles.

According to anecdotal evidence, a glass of pickle juice may help relieve stomach pain. If this is true, the juice may have this effect when the pain results from low stomach acid production, a condition called hypochlorhydria.

In these cases, the acidity of pickle juice may help restore stomach acidity to a healthy level.

However, anyone with an ulcer should not try this remedy — and there is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

Bottom line: There is no scientific evidence that pickle juice can relieve stomach pain.

Claim: Pickle juice cures hangovers

Hangovers are partially caused by dehydration, and the salt in pickle juice may encourage people to drink more water.

There is no scientific evidence that pickle juice would be more effective than any other salty drink. That said, trying this remedy is likely not harmful.

Bottom line: Pickle juice may encourage people to drink more water, which can help relieve a hangover, but no studies support this home remedy.

Claim: Pickle juice soothes sunburns

Pickle juice is also a popular remedy for sunburns.

Some people apply the juice directly to the skin or soak paper in the juice and lay the paper on the area of sunburn.

Yet, as with many other folk remedies, no scientific research has investigated the effectiveness of this remedy.

Bottom line: Despite a lack of scientific research, pickle juice remains a popular home remedy for sunburns.

Claim: Pickle juice relieves period cramps

No research has investigated whether pickle juice reduces menstrual cramps, specifically. However, it may ease period cramps in the same way that it soothes other types of cramps.

The very high level of sodium in pickle juice may also help reduce any cravings for salty foods, which some people experience before or during their periods.

Bottom line: Pickle juice may help relieve menstrual cramps in the same way that it eases cramps from exercise, but no research has confirmed this.

Claim: Pickle juice fights disease

Some sources claim that pickle juice may boost digestion and immune function, while reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Such health claims are dubious. That said, the benefits, if any, might be due to antioxidants and probiotics in pickle juice.

Still, while it is possible that the juice could have an antioxidant effect, no research into the antioxidant content of pickle juice exists.

When it comes to probiotics, pickled vegetables that are cured in vinegar may taste good, but they are likely sterile — containing no healthful bacteria.

Only fermented, unpasteurized pickles contain beneficial bacteria. Fermented pickles are stocked in the refrigerated food section of the grocery store, while the unrefrigerated shelf is more likely to have vinegar-preserved pickles.

However, even fermented pickles do not pack the probiotic punch that yogurt and other probiotic foods do.

Plus, a person would have to drink many glasses of pickle juice per day to reach a therapeutic dose.

Bottom line: Pickle juice could contain antioxidants and probiotics, but there is little evidence of it. There is no scientific evidence that pickle juice protects against disease.

Claim: Pickle juice helps control blood sugar

Chronically elevated blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes and a wide array of other chronic diseases.

Interestingly, the vinegar in commercially prepared pickle juice may help lower blood sugar levels.

Research shows that vinegar can improve the body’s response to insulin and significantly reduce blood sugar after meals.

However, if a person is taking medication that lowers their blood sugar, they should check with their doctor before drinking pickle juice.

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Bottom line: Pickle juice that contains vinegar may help limit a rise in blood sugar after eating.

6 Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice

Next time you open a jar of crunchy pickles, save the juice! Maybe you’ve always loved that mouth-watering pucker. Or, maybe the thought of drinking straight pickle juice sounds unappetizing. Whether you love it or hate it, pickle juice may be good for your health.

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“Pickle juice does have some benefits, but it really depends. The type of pickle juice matters. So does the health benefit you’re looking to gain,” says functional medicine dietitian Camille Skoda, RDN, LD, IFNCP. “A jar that’s full of dyes and preservatives won’t give you those benefits.”

Skoda gives six ways pickle juice is good for you and how to reap the benefits.

1. Pickle juice contains probiotics

Naturally fermented pickles — and their juice — contain helpful microorganisms called probiotics. Probiotics are live, microscopic bacteria and yeasts that you can also find in:

“Your gut contains many bacteria species that are beneficial for metabolism, overall health, digestion and fighting sicknesses. They’re also linked to less anxiety, depression and better mood,” explains Skoda.

Probiotics can help keep your good gut bacteria in balance. People eat probiotics for these benefits, especially to aid digestion.

Skoda says you can find probiotics in refrigerated pickles that are not vinegar-based. They should be fermented naturally in water using salt and spices.

“To get these benefits, try eating a pickle a day. But keep in mind that everybody tolerates probiotics differently. So if you’re drinking pickle juice for the probiotics, start with a small amount,” Skoda recommends. “And don’t drink so much that you overdo it on the sodium.”

2. Pickle juice can help you recover after exercise

Electrolytes help maintain the fluid balance in your body and keep all systems firing. But when you sweat, you risk losing too many. The antidote?

“Pickle juice contains electrolytes in the form of a lot of sodium and some potassium and magnesium. That’s why you can use it as a natural electrolyte,” says Skoda. “It can help to rehydrate after exercise.”

To get the most benefit, Skoda says to choose a vinegar-based pickle without yellow dye and preservatives. Using pickle juice as an electrolyte may work well for people who:

  • Have a chronic condition that requires you to take in more sodium.
  • Don’t get enough sodium in their diet.

But using pickle juice as your go-to recovery drink isn’t for everyone. “The recommendation is to have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. And 3 ounces of pickle juice gives you 900 mg right there, depending on the brand,” she says. “You can find electrolyte supplements that only have 150 mg of sodium and more potassium and magnesium instead.”

3. Pickle juice can help blood sugar regulation

Studies show that vinegar can help prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar. That’s a check in the win column for vinegar-based pickle juices. “You would also see the same benefits from vinegar-based salad dressings and apple cider vinegar,” adds Skoda.

4. Pickle juice may support weight loss

The research gets a little murkier when it comes to pickle juice’s effects on weight loss. But it’s also less about the pickles and more about vinegar.

“Pickle juice could help curb your appetite by stabilizing blood sugar. It’s easier to lose weight and control appetite when your blood sugar’s stable,” says Skoda. “And if you’re drinking pickle juice for the probiotic benefit, improving digestion and metabolism could definitely help you lose weight.”

5. Drinking pickle juice for a hangover may help you feel better

Drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate you. Electrolytes can help reduce some of those effects, says Skoda. “Drinking pickle juice as a hangover cure can help if it’s the electrolyte you choose.”

6. Pickles contain disease-fighting antioxidants

Score one for the cucumbers! Since pickles are fermented cukes, you get to count some of that veggie goodness, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Antioxidants may protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules inside the body that are linked to cancer, heart disease and more. “You can get some antioxidants from pickle juice, but eating the pickle is more beneficial.”

Skoda’s bottom line: If you like the briny goodness of pickles or pickle juice, bon appetit! While pickle juice is not a cure-all, it can definitely be part of a healthy eating plan.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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