Should You Really Be Drinking Pickle Juice After a Workout? It sounds gross, but some people swear it helps with recovery.

By Isadora Baum | Aug 3, 2018

If you think of pickle juice as a beverage at all, it’s probably only as an alcohol chaser. But some people swear that there’s a good reason to chug the briny liquid at the bottom of your pickle jar: it can help reduce muscle cramps and expedite your post-workout recovery.

Does taking shots of warm pickle juice at the gym sound appetizing? Not really, nope. So we decided to call up a few experts and find out whether there’s any truth to the rumor.

What is actually in pickle juice?

First off, pickle juice is basically just salt. “Pickling is a method of preserving cucumbers in water and salt over time. The juice that remains is a mixture of water, salt and cucumber juice,” Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD told

How does pickle juice work for recovery?

“During intense activity (usually lasting longer than an hour) or working out in extremely hot conditions, an athlete will sweat a lot and lose electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in their sweat,” says Rizzo.

To not lose steam and to keep up performance, you need to replace those electrolytes and stay hydrated. So after, say, sweating it out during a brutal CrossFit circuit, you may want something with a salty kick.

Because it’s so salty, pickle juice contains a ton of sodium, as well as smaller amounts of postassium and magnesium, explains Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, CPT. Replenishing these electrolytes can perk you up when you’re feeling fatigued and rehydrate you quickly.

Are there any other benefits to drinking pickle juice?

There’s also some evidence

Beyond that, pickle juice may also help to improve digestion. “The pickling (aka fermenting) process creates live cultures (probiotics) in the juice, so the juice may be good for gut health,” Shaw says.

I’d rather not straight-up chug pickle juice. Are there any other ways to take it?

You can cook with pickle juice to benefit from its effects. Shaw recommends using one-third of a cup of pickle juice while browning meat: “Since my family is a big fan of the spicy pickles, I’ve found the liquid in the empty jar serves as an excellent flavor enhancer when I’m browning my lean turkey or pork for tacos and chili,” saysShaw. And because the flavor is so strong, there’s no need to add other herbs or seasonings.

You can also use pickle juice as a marinade for beef or pork. “Marinate a piece of meat with as much pickle juice as needed to coat the meat,” says Rizzo. Keep it in the fridge for 1-3 hours or so for it to sit. Shaw recommends using it to make tacos or Sloppy Joe-style sandwiches, or subbing in pickle juice for apple cider vinegar in this delicious short ribs recipe.

You can also use that pickle juice to make even more pickled veggies, such as shredded cabbage, carrots, or radishes, or as a way to make poached eggs, says Dana Angelo White, MS RD. . “Usually, you poach an egg in boiling water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar,” she says. Instead of the vinegar, use pickle juice. It gives the egg a savory, salty edge that will really wake you up in the AM.

And of course, if you’re really into pickles, you can also use pickle juice to make even more pickles: “Throw some sliced cucumbers into the pickle juice and marinate overnight. They will become pickles before you know it,” says Rizzo.

Isadora Baum Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy.

Originally Published:

The FASEB Journal

Frozen pickle juice reduces mealtime glycemia in healthy adults

By Carol S Johnston and Christy L Appel
Nutrition, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
Published Online: 1 Apr 2009


The antiglycemic effect of 20 g vinegar ingested at mealtime is well characterized; yet chronic vinegar ingestion is impracticable due to esophageal discomfort and astringent taste. Vinegar is more palatable when incorporated in a food matrix. This trial examined whether a frozen pickle juice product possessed antiglycemic properties. Healthy, non-diabetic adults (13 F, 3 M; BMI: 25.4±1.4 kg/m2; age: 29.4±2.8 y) consumed frozen pickle juice (56 g, Pickle LLC; Seguin TX) or sugar free popsicles (71 g, Fla·Vor·Ice Light; Jel Sert Company, West Chicago IL) immediately prior to a carbohydrate load (1 buttered bagel and 6 oz fruit juice) in a randomized, crossover fashion with two weeks separating treatments. Fasting and postprandial blood samples were collected for glucose analysis. The incremental peak glucose concentration at 30 min post-meal was reduced 42% with frozen pickle juice ingestion as compared to control (p=0.05). Postprandial glycemia (incremental area-under-the-curve) was reduced by the pickle juice treatment at 0-60 and 0-120 min as compared to control (-46%, p=0.038 and -39%, p=0.074). These data indicate that pickled food products possess antiglycemic effects similar to vinegar in healthy adults. Foods containing vinegar may help pre-diabetics and diabetics manage their condition and may be considered functional foods. This research was supported by the ASU Nutrition Research Fund.

More information:

Drinking Pickle Juice: 10 Reasons It’s All the Rage

Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD on May 3, 2016 — Written by Alli Rainey

At first, drinking pickle juice might sound kind of gross. But there are several reasons to consider it.

Athletes have been sipping this briny beverage for years. Experts didn’t know all the reasons why pickle juice was good to drink after exercising. They just knew that it seemed to help relieve cramps.

They were right. It appears to help with muscle cramps, plus more. Here’s a look at 10 healthy benefits of drinking pickle juice.

1. It soothes muscle cramps

Dehydrated men experienced faster relief from muscle cramps after drinking pickle juice, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

About 1/3 cup of pickle juice is all it took to have this effect. Pickle juice relieved cramps more than drinking the same amount of water. It also helped more than drinking nothing at all.

This could be because the vinegar in pickle juice may help with rapid pain relief. Vinegar may help stop nerve signals that make tired muscles cramp.

2. It helps you stay hydrated

For most people, drinking water for hydration after a workout is fine. Water is probably all you need if you’re exercising moderately or for an hour or less.

But it’s a different story if you’re exercising hard, exercising for longer than an hour at a time, or exercising in hot climates.

Drinking something with sodium and potassium can help you get hydrated faster. Sodium is an electrolyte that you lose when you sweat. Potassium is another electrolyte lost in sweat.

Pickle juice contains a lot of sodium. It also has some potassium. After a sweaty or lengthy exercise session, sipping some pickle juice can help your body recover to its normal electrolyte levels more quickly.

Watching your sodium intake or on a low-sodium diet? Be sure to check with your doctor and dietitian about pickle juice before drinking it.

3. It’s a fat-free recovery aid

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably not too psyched about consuming high-calorie sports drinks.

It’s still a good plan to replace lost electrolytes after exercising hard, for a long time, or in hot weather. Plus, if your muscles are cramping, you’ll probably want relief as fast as possible.

Pickle juice to the rescue! Pickle juice contains no fat, but it can have some calories. It can have anywhere from zero to 100 calories per 1-cup serving. The amount of calories depends on what’s in the pickling solution.

4. It won’t bust your budget

If you already eat pickles regularly, you don’t have to spend money on sports drinks. Even if you don’t eat pickles, you can still choose pickle juice as a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive workout beverages.

You can also buy commercially prepared pickle juices marketed as sports drinks. They cost more than drinking what’s left in your pickle jar when all the pickles are gone. The upside is that you’ll know from reading the nutrition label what you’re getting in each serving.

5. It contains antioxidants

Pickle juice has significant amounts of vitamins C and E, two key antioxidants. Antioxidants help shield your body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Everyone gets exposed to free radicals, so having plenty of antioxidants in your diet is a good idea.

Vitamins C and E also help boost your immune system function, among other roles they play in your body.

6. It may support your weight loss efforts

Pickle juice contains lots of vinegar. Consuming a little bit of vinegar every day may help you lose weight, as reported in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.

After 12 weeks, study participants who had consumed either about 1/2 ounce or 1 ounce of vinegar daily had lost more weight and fat than those who hadn’t consumed any vinegar.

7. It helps control blood sugar levels

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research showed the effects of consuming a small serving of vinegar before a meal. The vinegar helped regulate blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and obese.

Well-regulated blood sugar levels help keep you healthy. Lots of people have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. Unregulated blood sugar can cause serious health problems such as blindness, heart damage, and kidney damage.

8. It boosts gut health

The vinegar in pickle juice can help your belly stay healthy, too. Vinegar is a fermented food. Fermented foods are good for your digestive system. They encourage the growth and healthy balance of good bacteria and flora in your gut.

9. Dill is healthy

Choose dill pickle juice for more potential benefits. Dill has quercetin in it. Quercetin has cholesterol-lowering properties. A study published in Cholesterol found that dill lowered cholesterol in hamsters. It may have a similar effect in humans.

The study’s authors also mentioned that dill has many traditional medicinal uses. These include treating:

  • indigestion
  • stomach cramps
  • gas
  • other digestive ailments

10. It sweetens your breath

Even if it makes your lips pucker when you drink it, a little bit of pickle juice might make for sweeter breath.

Bacteria in your mouth can cause bad breath. Both dill and vinegar have antibacterial properties. This potent combination may help freshen your breath after you drink pickle juice.

Next steps

Instead of dumping that leftover liquid from your pickle jar down the drain, consider saving it for future use.

You might even find yourself enjoying the salty flavor. Things can taste differently after you exercise than they do normally. So even if pickle juice doesn’t sound amazing right now, maybe it will hit the spot after your next workout.

Even if you don’t ever love the taste, you may end up deciding that drinking pickle juice is worth it for the health benefits.

Originally Published:

Get Pikl’ed note: some links have been removed which will not affect this articles content

Frozen Pickle Juice

Folks getting pickled for pickle juice

By BOB HANSEN / for The Hawk Eye | Posted Feb 12, 2017 at 12:01 AM | Updated Feb 12, 2017 at 2:30 AM

Pass up that sugary Slurpee and don’t spend money on over-priced energy drinks because there’s a new taste concoction in Burlington. It’s semi-frozen pickle juice — the slushy taste adventure created from the briny liquid left in the bottom of the jar when the last gherkin has been grabbed.

Presently, pickle proponents can purchase the slushy mix only at a local roller skating facility and the concession stand at Notre Dame High School basketball games. However, pickle promoters hope it might find wider acceptance.

The pickle pops first flowered at the local basketball games when a group of concessionaire volunteers noted the pickled cucumbers were enjoying a steady demand from young customers. But after the large gallon jars had been emptied, there still was a considerable amount of salty and vinegary liquid left behind.

The parsimonious pickle pushers were reluctant to dump the brine and began to explore freezing it for sale. Immediately, the experimenters learned the high salt content prevented the mix from becoming solid and a true pickle pop could not be offered. The best they could achieve was a semi-frozen soup.

Nevertheless, the volunteers persisted and offered the slush in individual plastic serving cups. Soon, students and fans were watching the basketball action with their noses buried in small white cups

Karen Marino, who helps out at the Notre Dame concession counter, reported the juice has been offered for sale for at least two years. “I’m not really a pickle person,” she explained, “so I don’t understand the attraction. But they seem to be what the kids want.

“They are so popular that we tried another variation; using cherry juice that we had left over but that is not nearly as good a seller. But pickle pops do well, and we make about $11 out of every jar of liquid that we used to throw out.”

Coulter Fruehling, a student at Notre Dame who often purchases a pickle cup when he attends his school’s ballgames, said the attraction is the strong salt taste.

“You pick up some of the pickle taste but it is mainly the salt that I like and I have a lot of friends that buy it for the same reason,” he said.

At Kenny’s Roller Ranch, owner Tim Barraclough considers the Notre Dame pickle purveyors a pack of late-comers, for he claims he has been offering cups of frozen brine since 2001, when his daughter in North Carolina told him of the treats popularity in that state.

“It has been a regular here for a long time but we don’t make it out of any type of pickle juice. We go for the kosher dill because of the strong garlic taste,” Barraclough said.

Unfrozen pickle juice long has been recognized for its restorative qualities by high endurance athletes. Athletes often will quaff about one-third of a cup for an almost instantaneous relief of muscle cramps. The salt restores an electrolyte balance while the vinegar stops nerve signals from cramped muscles.

Burlington’s George VanHagen, physical therapist assistant at Great River Medical Center, also can attest to the competitive advantages gained from drinking pickle juice. In November, he attended the USA Cycling Summit in Colorado Springs and the brine was the subject for discussion.

Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles told the athletes and medical professionals attending the conference pickle juice has been the rage in the race circuit for the last few seasons. She cited a study at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, that found the juice has a positive impact on the body’s electrolytes and prevents muscle cramps.

But regardless of the causation, athletes are turning to pickle juice as part of their pre-race preparation.

There also are arguments regular shots of pickle juice can have long-term health benefits. It can act as a shield against the dreaded free radicals, promote weight loss and aid the digestive system. A less beneficial — yet enjoyable quality — is it makes a great “dirty martini” when mixed with vodka.

The miracle of pickle juice plays out even in the kitchen, where it is used for cleaning the bottom of copper pots.

It appears there is little pickle juice cannot do, so the skaters and basketball fans downing the ice mix may be on the cutting edge of the next great trend in health drinks.

Originally Published:

8 Benefits Of Pickle Juice That Will Make You Want To Drink Some ASAP

Goodbye, salt craving.

Aryelle Siclait Jun 2, 2019

Everyone loves a good pickle (my deepest condolences to the wayward taste buds out there that can’t appreciate them).

However, since pickles are the stars of the jar, too often the juice—you know the stuff responsible for turning your everyday cucumber into crunchy, sour goodness—gets tossed out and forgotten. But not today. Today, pickle juice will get the credit it so rightfully deserves.

After all, the simple liquid packs tons of benefits that nutritionists say you need to take advantage of as soon as the last pickle is gone. So yes, consider this your excuse to buy another jar of pickles, stat. You’re welcome.

1. It’s a next-level source of hydration.

“Pickle juice contains [sodium], potassium, and water, which are all important for hydration,” says Alyssa Lavy, RD. And while water usually does the trick, if you need replenishment after a super hard workout or long day in the sun, electrolytes (a blanket term for good-for-you minerals, including sodium and potassium) can help. And that’s where pickle juice’s all-in-one status comes in clutch.

Lavy says approximately one and a half to three ounces of pickle juice per day should suffice—whether you’re drinking the stuff straight or diluting it with water to tone down the flavor.

That said, pickle juice doesn’t skimp on the sodium—three ounces (or six tablespoons) has 690 mg. “So, you may want to limit your intake if you’re watching sodium in your diet or already eating a high-sodium diet.” (FYI, the FDA recommends consuming 2,300 milligrams a day.) Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Here’s the rest of the pickle juice’s nutrient lineup, in a three-ounce serving, according to the USDA:

  • Calories: 15
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Sodium: 690 mg

2. It’s great for workout recovery.

Water is typically all you’ll need before and during a workout, but if you’re really going hard (like, athlete-level), you’ll need a few more of those aforementioned electrolytes. And pickle juice is THE recovery fluid for replenishing the electrolytes lost during a major sweat session. Plus, it can even help with post-workout muscle cramping.

3. It’s loaded with probiotics.

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Pickle juice is here to work magic on your gut. Okay, well not magic necessarily, but since pickles are fermented, Lavy says, they’re packing tons of probiotics.

That said, Lavy recommends keeping an eye on the labels of store-bought jars. Some “commercially-produced pickles are not likely to contain probiotics, due to processing.” That’s because, in order to extend their shelf-life, they’re manufactured using vinegar and heat, which typically destroys the gut-loving active cultures. So, keep an eye out for vinegar on the ingredients list, it might clue you in on whether those particular pickles are packing probiotics.

Or, if you’re really dedicated, you could just pickle your cucumbers right at home. (Just be sure to go for a classic pickling recipe that involves salt, water, and cucumbers—no vinegar.)

4. It will satisfy your salt craving.

If you find yourself reaching for a bag of chips or pretzels when that 3 p.m. hunger pang hits, Monica Auslander Moreno, RD, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, says pickle juice might just be the nutrient-dense (and tasty) alternative you’re looking for. After all, it tastes just like the pickles that were once inside the jar.

5. It helps regulate blood sugar levels.

While pickle juice made with vinegar may not have probiotic benefits, it does come with its own perks. “Pickle juice may help regulate blood sugar levels,” says Kelli McGrane, RD for Lose It!. “Studies have shown that when consumed prior to a meal, individuals with type 2 diabetes had reduced blood sugar spikes.” And though the vinegar in pickle juice is largely responsible for improving the body’s response to insulin, I probably don’t need to convince you a shot of vinegar tastes a lot better when it’s masked by the sweet and sour flavors of a pickle.

6. It’s a source of vitamins and antioxidants.

Related Story This Restaurant Replaces Bread With Pickles

Pickle juice is a particularly good source of vitamins A and E. It also contains a trace amount of antioxidants, which help protect your body and its cells from harmful molecules. While other foods have higher concentrations of antioxidants (pickle juice shouldn’t be your go-to source), if you’re already drinking the stuff, know you’re reaping these benefits, too.

7. You can use it to pickle more veggies.

If you’re not planning on tossing a straw into your pickle jar, Moreno suggests using the brine to pickle other vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and beets.

8. It’s cost-effective.

Since pickle juice comes with the pickles you were planning to anyway, this probiotic-packed sports drink is super cost effective. Not to mention, it helps do your part to eliminate food waste. Win, win.
Aryelle Siclait | Assistant Editor | Aryelle Siclait is an assistant editor at Women’s Health