Wondering how I came up with this topic? My very special grandson loves pickles, so I try to have some in my refrigerator. Sweet pickles are tasty, but sour dill pickles are the best. So yesterday I stopped at the local deli to buy their crunchy homemade version. The server surprised me with the question, “How are you going to USE these pickles?” He didn't say, “eat,” he said “use!” Turns out, he’s an awesome source of pickle wisdom.
Ready? You’ll never look at a pickle as just food again — or to be more accurate, you may never again throw the pickle juice away. It seems that dill pickles and their juice have amazing healing powers. Here are just a few good uses for them:
Curing muscle cramps
If you find your legs seizing up during exercise, or you’re awakened with acramp at night, pickle juice has been proven to help. Sounds crazy I know, but just a couple of sips will do it. In a 2010 study, pickle juice halted post-workout muscle cramps in 85 seconds. This could be because the vinegar in pickle juice helps with rapid pain relief by stopping nerve signals that make tired muscles cramp.
It’s also an effective way to replace lost electrolytes and sodium which can cause serious cramping and dehydration. You might even see football players and runners drinking it on the sidelines if their coaches are more old school than the sports’ drink generation.
While there’s no research I can find on this, pickle juice has also been touted as a remedy for menstrual cramps too. I don’t know if it works but it’s a harmless thing to try and if you eat the pickle with the juice, it could satisfy the munchies too.
Reducing spikes in blood sugar
Science supports the fact that eating pickles reduces spikes in blood sugar, especially after consuming food high in carbohydrates. The vinegar in pickles improves the body’s response to insulin. A little bit of pickle juice after a meal can rebalance your blood sugar if you’ve eaten something that throws it out of whack. My deli maven tells me that’s why they put those crisp and juicy bowls of pickles on the table when the waiter brings the overstuffed sandwiches and fries.
Fixing tummy trouble
Treat tummy troubles with pickle juice too. Vinegar is a fermented food, and fermented foods are good for your digestive system. They encourage the growth and healthy balance of good flora and bacteria in your gut. When heartburn strikes, try 2 to 3 sips of pickle juice. Like apple cider vinegar, the juice helps balance the pH in the stomach calming acid reflux. If heartburn comes back after a while, try drinking a little more.
Because drinking pickle juice aids the digestive process, it works as an all natural laxative. And my source claims that the number-one cure for hiccups is a small glass of pickle juice. Given how well it seems to work on everything else, I’m inclined to believe it.
Eliminating a hangover
Pickle juice is a known folk remedy for hangovers. It replenishes depleted sodium levels and helps to assist in rehydration.
Soothing a sunburn
I've saved one of the strangest uses of pickle juice for last. Apparently it's a popular remedy for healing sunburns, but there’s no science behind it that I can find. My deli sage puts leftover pickle juice in the ice cube tray of his freezer. To soothe a sunburn, you can blot pickle juice on it directly, or rub the pickle or the frozen pickle-juice cube right on your skin. Some people soak a paper bag in the juice, and lay that on the sunburned area. My source challenges drug store remedies to match the effectiveness of pickle juice.
If you ever try this please let me know. Most likely there’s something to it, as long as you’re okay smelling of pickles and tasting a little vinegary.
I left the delicatessen with more than the pickles I went shopping for. I left with all these tips and with great respect for the wisdom people in every walk of life are willing to share — just for the listening.
Pickle power. Try it!
P.S. Hall of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan, soaked the fingers of his pitching hand in pickle juice to prevent blisters. Seems like the more I look, the more pickle power emerges.
Sources: Melvin, Healthline.com, YouGoProBaseball.com