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Pickle Juice Has Health Benefits, Fact Or Fiction?

1 month ago

2368  0
Posted on Jan 20, 2018, 4 a.m.

Pickles have been considered to be a health food with benefits for literally centuries. Cleopatra was said to use them as a beauty aid, Caesar is said to have had his troops eat them to boost their strength. Pickle juice is thought to contain several positive health benefits and uses. Pickle juice has even been said to be able to enhance performance during exercise,  help to control blood sugar, and more. That being said, it’s also very high in salt. So is it really as healthy as it is claimed to be, is it all fact or fiction?

Pickles have been considered to be a health food with benefits for literally centuries. Cleopatra was said to use them as a beauty aid, Caesar is said to have had his troops eat them to boost their strength. Pickle juice is thought to contain several positive health benefits and uses. Pickle juice has even been said to be able to enhance performance during exercise,  help to control blood sugar, and more. That being said, it’s also very high in salt. So is it really as healthy as it is claimed to be, is it all fact or fiction?

 

Dating back to 2030 BC cucumbers were commonly preserved to eat by travellers making long journeys, such as from India to the Tigris Valley. Pickling needs require 3 main ingredients; cucumbers, water, and salt. Cucumbers get fermented by Lactobacillus bacteria that will normally cover its skin, these beneficial probiotic bacterias will generally get removed during the commercial processing and vinegar is added instead. The cucumbers sit for several weeks of curing, when the appropriate time has passed the cucumbers have then become pickles and are ready to consume, and so the juice also becomes ready.

 

Nutrient wise pickles can contain up to: 0.4 g of carbs, 50-115% of the RDI of sodium, 1-5% of the RDI of calcium, 3% of the RDI of magnesium, 3% of the RDI of potassium, 10,700 colony forming unit per 3.5 oz of probiotics. Pickle juice does contain trace amounts of minerals, carbs, and sometimes probiotic bacteria, but it is very high in sodium.

 

Rumours would have it that pickle juice is beneficial for performance in sports due to the high sodium content, it is thought it may increase hydration before workouts and improve performance. Actual studies on this are varied, with one such study having participants consume 3 oz of pickle juice per 200 lbs of weight before exercise, which had zero effect on performance, body temperature, or sweat rate. The rumours also suggest that drinking pickle juice after exercise is also beneficial.  Some studies showed zero effects at all, others studies have shown that it did help increase blood levels of sodium and water intake after exercise.

 

Another claim is that pickle juice cures muscle cramps. Recent studies show this to possibly be true. Within 60 seconds after drinking 1.5 oz for every 100 lbs recovery rate was 45% faster than drinking nothing at all, and 36% faster than with drinking plain water. Researchers suggest that there may be something in the juice triggering a reflex in the mouth into sending a signal to the nerves to stop, adding that more research needs to be done in order to confirm this.

 

A popular myth is that a glass a day may relieve you of stomach issues. Vinegar is a popular home remedy for an upset stomach, vinegar is also a main ingredient in commercially produced pickles. Some cases of stomach pain may be caused by low gastric acid, in these cases the pickle juice acidity may help restore levels to normal. There are no scientific studies to support this claim in either direction.

 

Dehydration is a partial cause of hangovers, the high salt content consumed in pickle juice may trigger you to drink more water, which will help to flush your system of the toxins causing the hangover. However there are zero scientific studies to support this claim as well.

It is also used as a remedy for sunburns by blotting the juice directly onto the affected skin area, or by soaking a paper bag in the juice and then apply it to the burned area. Once again there is nothing to support this by way of scientific data. But may be worth trying if you have nothing else on hand to try as an alternative method.

 

Although there is no scientific research showing that pickle juice relieves menstrual cramping, it is a very popular home remedy, and not a far stretch to suggest that it may soothe as in similar manner as in other types of cramps. The high sodium content may possibly help curb cravings for other salty foods during PMS as well.

 

Pickle juice is said to boost digestion and immune function, while reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer, with the benefits being linked to the antioxidants and probiotics that are thought to be found in it. It is possible, but there is no research to support these claims of an antioxidant effect. Pickles cured in vinegar would likely be sterile with no beneficial probiotic bacteria left, only fermented pickles would, and those aren’t what you find in the grocery store, also you’d need to consume a large quantity to get a therapeutic dose.

 

The vinegar found in commercially produced pickles may help to lower blood sugar level. Chronically high blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Vinegar has been shown to improve the responses to insulin and reduce blood sugar after meals. That being said only 1 study has shown that pickle juice reduces spikes in blood sugar after eating. Pickle juice may lower blood sugar levels by slowing digestion.

 

Pickle juice boasts many claims to fame about benefits and uses, but it’s not for everyone. Due to the acidity levels it may cause issues for those who suffer from gout. Consuming high amounts of salt may cause your blood pressure to rise. High sodium can lead to water retention. Too much pickle juice can lead to diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. Some doctors say that it may cause electrolyte imbalances and worsen cramping. Drinking pickle juice for the health benefit claims of old wives tales is like an experiment, it may work, and it may not, at least it’s a tasty one. Take it with a grain of salt, well on second thought, maybe hold the salt.

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