Pickles are one of those things—you either love them or you hate them. And yet, no matter what your opinion may be, they will inexplicably show up beside every sandwich you ever order. Actually, there is a reason for that…. It started in a Jewish deli in New York as a palate cleanser (the acidity supposedly helps you enjoy the taste of your sandwich). It’s tradition!
But whether you take your pickle or leave it, one cannot deny the health benefits of pickles. Consider the following:
They ease muscle cramps. Like crazy fast. Local drummer Wayne Heidel, whom the writer of this article is probably married to, knows this to be true. In fact, he carries a water bottle filled with pickle juice to every show he plays. If he gets a leg cramp while playing drums, drinking pickle juice effectively relieves the cramp within moments. You can purchase pickle juice by the gallon on Amazon.
Pickles aid with digestion. They are full of probiotics—at least real pickles are. We can start getting really snobby really fast when it comes to pickles. Look for fermented pickles versus pickles made with vinegar, if you want to get the biggest probiotic bang for your gut (see what I did there??). We generally think of yogurt for probiotic health, but don’t discount pickles, either!
Pickles can fight against disease. Who knew? The lowly, often undervalued pickle packs the nutritional punch to fight back against heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory diseases, and more! That’s thanks to the high amounts of beta-carotene (an antioxidant) that converts to Vitamin A in the body. Lower your chances of disease with a simple deli staple.
Bring on the Vitamin K! An average pickle spear has 15% of the daily recommendation of Vitamin K. This vitamin aids in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and it helps regulate blood calcium levels. All that from a little pickle spear! Score!
Rehydrate with pickles. That’s right—a tough workout means you sweat. And to rehydrate, you might want to snack on a few pickles with your water. They will help replenish your electrolytes and give an extra oomph to your hydration.
It’s important to note that not all pickles are created equal. Check the label. Locally sourced pickles made through fermentation will be the healthiest option, short of making them yourself. The health benefits listed above are based on traditional dill pickles. They are a great low-calorie snack and don’t have any fat.
That humble little pickle that seems so random actually serves a great purpose. A really, really delicious one, in fact.