The real reason you should be drinking pickle juice

Pickle juice (also known as pickle brine) has several health benefits, including relieving muscle cramps, keeping you hydrated, providing you with vitamins and antioxidants, helping you lose weight, and regulating your blood sugar. The best part is that it's budget-friendly. 

Keep a jar of pickle juice or some pickle shots on hand in your refrigerator so you can drink some if you feel a muscle cramp coming on, even if it's menstrual cramps. Drink two to three ounces if you're starting to cramp up and you should feel better in a minute or two. How does this work? A 2010 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that pickle juice helps relieve muscle cramps by stimulating a reflex in the back of the throat. This reflex relaxes muscles by reducing the activity in the alpha motor neurons. 

Another 2010 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that pickle juice relieved a muscle cramp 37 percent faster than drinking water. Muscle cramps disappeared in one and a half minutes. The study participants downed 1.5 ounces of pickle juice for every 100 pounds of body weight. Researchers believe it's the vinegar in the pickle juice that causes this, but more research needs to be done on how it works. 

Other health benefits of pickle juice

Pickle juice contains sodium and potassium, both electrolytes, which can keep you hydrated longer than water alone. One shot of commercially-available pickle juice (2.5 ounces) contains 470 milligrams of sodium, 47 milligrams of potassium, 7 milligrams of vitamin C, 1 milligram of vitamin E, and 2 milligrams of zinc. The best part? Zero calories. 

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry showed that vinegar, the main ingredient in pickle juice, can help you lose weight. Researchers studied 12 obese participants in a double-blind trial where they gave the participants a daily beverage with either 15 milliliters of vinegar, 30 milliliters of vinegar, or no vinegar. At the end of the study, the participants who had the vinegar, in both groups, had lower body weight, BMI, waist circumference, visceral fat, and serum triglyceride levels. 

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research that included 11 participants who were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes showed that vinegar can also help regulate blood sugar levels, especially for those with type 2 diabetes.

So next time you have a jar of pickles, instead of tossing the jar after the pickles are gone, keep it in your fridge for its potential health benefits.