Pickle Juice: Nutrition, Benefits and Side Effects
Pickle juice is valued for its benefits. We explain how to take advantage of them, what they really are and what science says.
Pickles are pickled vegetables that have been cured in brine. Pickle juice is valued for its preservative and antiseptic properties, which allow the commercial life of this vegetable to be extended. But health benefits have also been detected.
Is named pickle either Cucumis sativus L.. to the fruit of an annual herbaceous, vine type, of the Cucurbitaceae family. It is harvested when its size reaches a maximum of 15 centimeters and it is destined for consumption in pickles. There are varieties of smooth surface or with warts.
For example, for athletes, pickles and their pickled juice they seem to improve performance and reduce cramps. It would also help relieve hangovers and improve intestinal health.
Some benefits have scientific support and others do not.
A bit of history and characteristics of pickles
Pickles are native to India, near the Himalayas. Its cultivation dates back more than 3000 years ago and was found in Africa, Greece, Italy and Asia Minor.
In the 1300s they arrived in England. Then Christopher Columbus took them to Haiti. From there it passed to the United States at the end of the 16th century.
this fruit belongs to the same family as the melon, pumpkins and squash, that is, to cucurbits. Its plant is creeping and the fruit has an elongated cylindrical shape with narrow points. The best pickles should have shiny, smooth skin, no signs of bruising, and a firm texture.
When the pickle is peeled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Then it loses texture. Once it is cut, it does not last more than 24 hours.
As some people do not digest them well, it is recommended to cut and salt them and then store them for an hour in the refrigerator. Another way to consume them is vinegared or pickled.
Pickled gherkins keep for a long time because of the acidity that the vinegar induces. This causes low microbial growth, as long as they are kept refrigerated. The vinegary juice where the pickle is prepared has some benefits that we will see later.
One study revealed that 3.5 ounces of pickle juice provides only 0.5 grams of carbohydrates. The minerals magnesium, potassium and calcium barely cover 3 to 5% of the recommended daily intake.
Instead, sodium content ranges from 50 to 115% of recommended intake. The reason is that the pickle is cured in brine before receiving the vinegar.
Unpasteurized pickle juice without vinegar has also been found to provide good amounts of probiotics. However, most of what is marketed is pasteurized.
benefits of pickle juice
Anyone would think that pickle juice is just vinegar, water, and salt. Nevertheless, science has linked it to some benefits which we will show next.
Reduces muscle cramps
Research found that when a group of dehydrated men drank 1.5 ounces of pickle juice for every 100 pounds of body weight, muscle cramps disappeared. In addition, recovery was 45% faster than when no fluids or just water was taken.
It is hypothesized that pickle juice can stimulate a reflex in the mouth so that it sends a signal to the nervous system and the person stops having cramps. However, other studies are required to confirm this finding.
Helps regulate blood sugar levels
An investigation in people with type 2 diabetes measured the effect of vinegar consumption on muscle sugar metabolism. It was found that vinegar managed to reduce the increase in sugar after meals and increased insulin levels. The increase in blood triglycerides was also reduced without affecting lipid degradation.
When alcoholic beverages are taken in excess, the typical hangover occurs. This course with headache and nauseaamong other symptoms.
Generally, it is caused by dehydration. Therefore, when you drink pickle juice, you are encouraged to drink more water, due to the high sodium content. But there are no scientific studies to back it up. So it is still a home remedy.
Could improve gut health
Pickle juice is a fermented food product, with an acidity that can benefit gut health. Fermented foods encourage the growth of bacteria and healthy microbiota in the intestine. In addition, intestinal acidity retards the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
On the other hand, it should be clarified that pasteurized pickle juice can favor the growth of beneficial bacteria, but it is not considered a vehicle for such microorganisms. However, unpasteurized pickle juices can be a carrier of probiotics.
Could facilitate weight loss
Acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, suppresses body fat accumulation in experimental animals. A study of obese people who ate 1/2 to 1 ounce of vinegar a day revealed that they lost more fat than those who didn’t.
Works as a moisturizer
Practicing constant exercises for more than an hour, in a hot climate, can cause dehydration. Sweat causes you to lose both sodium and potassium.
So in such circumstances a quick way to hydrate is required. Pickle juice provides electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, in addition to the pickling water itself.
Drinking pickle juice after a sweaty workout can help replenish lost electrolytes. However, if you have any blood pressure problems, you should consult your doctor.
Pickle Juice Side Effects
Before including it in the diet, there are some aspects to consider about pickle juice:
- Can be heavy to digest: gas, reflux, diarrhea, or stomach pain may occur when drinking too much pickle juice. If taken frequently, it worsens the symptoms of gastritis and peptic ulcers.
- Increases blood pressure: the high values of salt contained in pickle juice increase blood pressure.
- Provides too much sodium: when there is a lot of salt in the food, water retention, abdominal distention or even edema is possible.
- Hydroelectrolytic imbalance: although studies say otherwise, some doctors believe that pickle juice can cause an electrolyte imbalance.
Is it convenient to drink pickle juice?
Although there are detractors, so far the science supports several effects. Especially the relief of muscle cramps.
Our recommendation is that if there are no associated pathologies and you notice an improvement in your cramps when exercising with this juice, then take it. Do not forget that you must take care of the total sodium ingested in a day. Therefore, consult with your doctor.