The term “getting pickled” means something quite different than it used to a few years ago. Rather than meaning getting drunk, it can now refer to a way of getting rid of a hangover along with many other benefits including replenishing the beneficial gut bacteria, aiding with digestion and improving sports performance. However, it is important to note that when it comes to health benefits, not all pickle juice is created equal.
What is Pickle Juice?
Just in case you have never seen a pickle in your life, pickle juice is the liquid that is left over when cucumbers are fermented in water and salt, and not vinegar as many people think. Pickling requires only three main ingredients, cucumbers, salt, and water. The actual fermentation process is kick-started by the lactobacillus bacteria that naturally live on the cucumber’s skin. Unfortunately, this beneficial probiotic bacteria is removed during most commercial processing and white vinegar is added to preserve the pickles instead.
To make sure that you are buying pickles that have the natural lactobacillus bacteria look for brands that are in the refrigerated area of your grocery store and stay away from the pickles that are on the dry goods shelves. The exception is if you are looking to use pickle juice to control your blood sugar, In that case, it can help to buy the commercial pickles because vinegar has been shown to help lower insulin resistance in healthy adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20068289.
The Health Benefits of Pickle Juice
In general, pickle juice contains trace amounts of carbohydrates (,04 per 100 ml), calcium (1-5% RDA), potassium (3% of the RDI) and magnesium (3% of the RDI.) If you are trying to improve your gut health then keep in mind that this same 100 ml of pickle juice also contains up to 10,700 colony-forming units of friendly bacteria.
However, when it comes to using pickle juice as a health supplement it is important to remember that taking just taking just one tablespoon of the pickle brine is quite healthy for you UNLESS one of your goals is to restrict sodium in your diet. That is because 100 ml of pickle juice also contains between 50 and 115% of your daily requirement for sodium. Those same pickles that replenish your intestinal flora with good bacteria might also cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
Still having a shot of pickle juice may have the following benefits:
Consuming 3 to 5 ml of pickle juice may help remedy an upset stomach because it helps to relieve stomach pain caused by a lower than normal gastric acid level.
Consuming 5 ml of pickle juice may alleviate muscle cramps due to exercise if you drink it before working out.
Consuming 5 ml pickle juice may improve athletic performance by helping to prevent dehydration, but this claim is more anecdotal and not backed by research.
A folk remedy for relieving sunburn is to blot a cloth or tissue soaked in pickle juice directly on your skin.
If you are a Type 2 diabetic eating commercially bottled pickles may improve the body’s response to insulin and reduce sugar levels after meals because vinegar has anti-glycemic properties
Keep in mind that even though pickles have probiotics, they are not a therapeutic remedy for low intestinal function.
Of course, drinking a shot of pickle juice is not for everyone and that the best practice is to get to the root of your stomach discomfort, leg cramps, insulin resistance or any other issue. For more information about nutrition,, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.caor call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.