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Why Every Athlete Should Have Pickle Juice

By Kelli Jennings For Active.com

Muscle cramps can bring even the strongest athlete to his or her knees. And while, there are a number of theories as to what causes cramps—including hydration, bike fit, form and electrolytes—they seem to happen more in races than in training.

Despite the lack of answers as to why cramps occur, a number of remedies have cropped up in recent years. Some of them are probably already in your pantry.

The Research

Research, as far back as several decades ago and as recently as 2013, suggests pickle juice relieves cramps. In the 2013 study, cramps lasted about 49 seconds less when participants drank pickle juice rather than water.

The first assumption is that fluids and sodium are anti-cramping agents.  However, other studies have concluded that the plasma volume and plasma concentrations of sodium remain unchanged after pickle juice consumption, leading researchers to believe something else is causing the cessation of the cramps.

Most experts think it’s the vinegar.

It’s believed that the vinegar triggers a reflex that alerts our brains to tell our muscles to stop contracting and relax, and the muscle cramping is reduced as soon as the vinegar touches receptors in the mouth.

Bring a small amount of pickle juice with you on your next training session (2 ounces is usually enough) or try the Pickle Juice Sports Drink.

Mustard contains vinegar in smaller, but potentially effective amounts as well. However, it has not been as well studied as pickle juice. Packets of yellow and honey mustard are portable on the trail or road, and often easier to consume than pickle juice. Mustard has up to 100 milligrams of sodium per packet and also contains turmeric, which is helpful for muscle soreness and inflammation.

Beyond the cramps, pickle juice and mustard provide other benefits for athletes:

Sodium: Adequate intake can improve hydration and reduce cramping, at least in practice. Just 1 tablespoon of mustard has 200 milligrams sodium and 2 ounces pickle juice has more than 400 milligrams sodium. Just 2 ounces of the pickle juice sports drink has about 225 milligrams sodium.

Glycogen Replenishment: Vinegar, which is chemically known as acetic acid, can provide the acetyl group. This is a fundamental building block for the Krebs Cycle and helps to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy and ATP for cells. 

If you’re prone to cramps bring a bottle of pickle juice or packet of mustard to your next training session or race. Consume them at the first sign of cramps and you might be able to keep training or racing and full speed.

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC.

Originally Published: https://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/why-every-athlete-should-have-pickle-juice

The Science Behind Everyone’s New Obsession With Pickle Juice

By Lana Bandoim | Forbes Contributor | Sep 21, 2018

From deep-fried pickles to dill pickle chips, pickles in different varieties are showing up on more menus and grocery store shelves. At the Natural Products Expo East, the trend continued this year with the Pickle Juice Company featuring pickle juice sports drinks. There are many reasons why this salty trend is not going away soon.

Walk through the aisles of today’s grocery store, and you will probably see pickles featured in several places, in addition to the canned goods section. You can pick up a bag of pickle popcorn, grab some dill pickle chips and maybe try the frozen pickle pops. Now, pickle juice is growing in popularity, and even Sonic released a pickle juice slush. You no longer have to purchase a jar of pickles to get the juice since it is sold on its own in a variety of forms. You can find pickle juice sports drinks, shots and alcohol.

By 2020, Statista’s prediction, based on U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), is that 245.56 million Americans will eat pickles. Likewise, Technavio’s report shows that the global pickles market will continue to grow and will have a value of $12.74 billion by 2020. In the United States, it is expected to have a value of $6.70 billion by 2020.

The reasons why you crave salty foods, like pickles, can vary. Similar to sugar, salt can be addictive, and researchers at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health found the brain pathway responsible for the craving. They discovered that a specific circuit, which is part of the brain’s opioid system, can also make you want salt. In addition, you can build a tolerance to salty foods, so you need more of them to activate the reward center of the brain.

Some other common reasons for craving pickles include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or Addison’s disease. Pregnant women often want pickles because nausea and morning sickness can also make them dehydrated. All of these medical conditions can make you turn to salty foods or pickle juice as a way to restore the electrolyte imbalance in the body.

There is a positive side to the current pickle juice obsession. For years, athletes have been drinking pickle juice to relieve muscle cramps after exercising, and it is one of the multiple health benefits. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that pickle juice works better than water at reducing muscle cramps. Another study showed that pickle juice could lower blood sugar spikes in healthy adults. In addition, pickle juice has a variety of antioxidants, including vitamin C and E.

Here is another reason why you may have a hard time resisting pickle juice: Your digestive system benefits from it, so you feel better after drinking it. The juice contains vinegar, which is fermented, and good for your gut. Researchers also found that pickle juice can slow down gastric emptying.

If you do not have any health problems and can tolerate salt, then do not feel guilty about drinking pickle juice in moderation.

Originally Published: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanabandoim/2018/09/21/the-science-behind-everyones-new-obsession-with-pickle-juice/

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.

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a27556128/pickle-juice-benefits/
Aryelle Siclait | Assistant Editor | Aryelle Siclait is an assistant editor at Women’s Health