What It Really Means When You're Craving Pickles

Food cravings, defined by the insatiable desire for a specific kind of food, are very common. Pickle cravings seem to be one of the most common and are often attributed to pregnant women. But there's actually some science behind why you might be thinking about this briny treat. Although pickles have a distinctive flavor, most of that flavor comes from salt. According to Healthline, two small pickle spears contain about 600 milligrams of salt. This is more than one-fourth of the recommended daily sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams.

Craving pickles may mean that your body is really craving salt. There are many reasons you might be craving more sodium in your diet. "Research indicates that craving salt could be a symptom of a health condition such as adrenal insufficiency or Bartter's syndrome. It also could be a sign of dehydration or PMS," registered dietician nutritionist Lee Cotton told PureWow. If you find yourself craving salt (or pickles) or an extended period of time, it's a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor. You'll want to rule out any health conditions that may be causing your cravings.

Health benefits of pickles

Although pickles have a high sodium content, you don't need to give them up completely if you don't want to. Pickles are simply cucumbers that have been soaked in a brine or fermented to change the texture and flavor. With that in mind, pickles are a great source of vitamin K, which is found in cucumbers. "The micronutrient profile of pickles is relatively similar to that of cucumbers—containing vitamins A, C, and multiple B vitamins as well as calcium, potassium, and fiber, although in relatively low amounts," Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, told Well + Good.

Most pickles also go through a fermentation process, which gives them the same kind of good bacteria you can get from foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. Pickles may also help alleviate or prevent cramps in athletes, although the research to support this theory is still ongoing. Overall, pickles can offer several important nutrients and shouldn't be eliminated from your diet completely. As long as you enjoy them in moderation and keep an eye on your sodium intake, you can enjoy this crunchy, briny treat.