Do you love pickle juice snow cones? Is the pickle your favorite part of a sandwich? Are there several open jars of pickles in your refrigerator right now?
Pickles are loved by many for their zippy burst of flavor, but they can also bring you some pretty cool health perks. At the supermarket, you’ll find two basic types of pickled cucumbers: naturally fermented (in the refrigerated section) or preserved in vinegar (on the shelf). Both have their benefits.
"I love pickle juice for its wide-ranging health benefits from curing a hangover to post-workout relief," reveals Moniqua Plante, Certified Holistic Health Counselor from The Plante Life. "Make sure it is dill pickle juice, not butter pickle juice which contains sugar."
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But before you get crazy with the pickle juice, however, it’s important to note that pickles have a high sodium content. If you are sensitive to salt or have high blood pressure, you’ll probably want to get these health benefits elsewhere.
Behold the Power of Pickle Juice
- Pickles balance your digestive tract. Like all fermented foods, naturally fermented pickles (not the ones on the shelf) contain probiotics that promote the growth of health-enhancing flora and bacteria in your digestive tract. Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and tempeh are also easier to digest and can help with diarrhea and symptoms of IBS.
- Pickle juice alleviates muscle cramps. Pickles’ high sodium content helps the body retain fluids, thus preventing muscle cramps caused by dehydration. Drinking pickle juice relieved athletes’ foot cramps faster than water did, according to a 2010 study by Brigham Young University.
- Pickle juice can promote weight loss. You’ve probably heard about the health and weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar-cured pickles have some of the same perks. The acetic acid in vinegar interferes with your ability to digest starch, which keeps those calories out of the bloodstream. Acetic acid has been proven to reduce fat mass in numerous studies, including a 2009 study in the Journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. Pickles are also a low-calorie food that adds big flavor without any fat or sugar.
- Pickle juice helps your hangover. Drinking from the pickle jar the morning after will rehydrate you, deliver a much-needed dose of sodium, and help to balance your electrolytes. "Drink 1/4 cup of pickle juice before bed in addition to water and it definitely helps stave off the dreaded hangover," shares Plante.
- Pickles protect your body with vitamin C and E. These vitamins are powerful antioxidants that help to boost your immune system so that it can fight off infections. The dill and garlic that are often present in the pickle jar provide additional antioxidants – and the acidic juice helps your body to more easily absorb all the nutrients.
Perk Up Your Plate with a Potent Dose of Pickle Juice
- Pour pickle juice in place of vinegar in any recipe, including salad dressings, deviled eggs, gazpacho, and chicken salad.
- Use it as a marinade for seafood, chicken, pork, and steak. Pickle brine a fantastic meat tenderizer.
- Get creative with cocktails and use pickle juice in dirty martinis, Micheladas, and Bloody Marys.
- Add a spoonful of pickle juice to wake up a boring cup of noodles.
- Upcycle leftover juice to make more pickles! Reuse the brine to pickle vegetables like sliced onion, shredded carrots, and chopped celery. You can also pickle boiled eggs!
- Poach fish in pickle brine for a salty seafood treat.
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