Last year, my boyfriend ran a 5K and came home with a race bag. Normally these have a T-shirt, a race program, and some free snacks for the runners. But this time there was something neither of us had ever seen in one of these bags: a tiny bottle of pickle juice. As soon as he saw it, my boyfriend wrinkled up his face in disgust.
Pickles are one of the most divisive foods out there, and he and I are on different ends of the pickle-enjoyment spectrum. I’ve always loved pickles, but he can’t stand them. Still, when he offered me the pickle juice shot, I wasn’t all that interested.
However, it did make me wonder why they were giving pickle juice to runners.
I realized pickle juice must have some exercise benefits, but what were they exactly?
Before long, I decided to try it for myself. Scroll through to learn more about what happens to your body on pickle juice.
Benefits Of Pickle Juice
There are a ton of purported benefits to drinking pickle juice — most of them come from the fact that the brine is mostly made up of water, salt, and vinegar.
The first benefit of pickle juice? It relieves muscle cramps. According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, pickle juice inhibits electrically induced muscle cramps.
Another benefit of pickle juice is that it helps you stay hydrated during workouts — the sodium and potassium in pickle juice are electrolytes you lose when you sweat, so they help keep your body in tip-top condition while you’re exercising.
Because of its exercise benefits, it’s also important to note that it’s fat-free! While many people choose to recover from workouts with sports drinks, those sugary drinks are high in calories — if you’re trying to lose weight, pickle juice is a much better option.
According to a study in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vinegar (of which there is a lot in pickle juice) helps people lose weight when it is consumed daily — thus, pickle juice may aid in your weight-loss efforts.
Pickle juice also has a lot of antioxidants, which fight against cancer-causing free radicals, explains Rice University. More specifically, cucumbers (which pickles are made of) contain vitamin A and vitamin E, which are powerful antioxidants.
Because pickles juice is a fermented food, it’s good for your digestive system and can boost gut health.
Vinegar also helps relieve bad breath, so pickle juice has been known to freshen breath.
Finally, pickle juice can help control blood sugar. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Researchshowed that vinegar consumed before a meal helped regulate blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 2 diabetes.
How To Consume Pickle Juice
There are a lot of ways to add more pickle juice into your diet — in fact, people have created wacky pickle juice snacks all over the country!
From pickle juice slushies to pickle-infused vodka, pickle lovers have come up with everything.
I decided that to test the benefits of pickle juice, I’d do something a little simpler: I’d drink a shot of pickle juice once a day.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 1
I love eating pickles, but I won’t lie — I was a little intimidated by the idea of drinking pickle juice.
Honestly, I had to work up the courage to actually drink the pickle juice shot. I probably stood in the LittleThings office for about 10 minutes just staring at the pickle juice before I actually drank it.
I was pleasantly surprised that the pickle juice didn’t taste bad at all — it was strong, but it mostly just tasted salty. Even though pickle juice has a lot of vinegar in it, it didn’t taste too acidic.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 2
On Day 2 of my pickle juice experiment, I had some period cramps, so I hoped the pickle juice would help — since it’s known to ease muscle cramps, I was hopeful that the pickle juice shot would get rid of my cramps.
By the end of the day, my cramps were gone — whether they went away on their own or because of the pickle juice, I’m not sure. But either way, they were gone.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 3
By Day 3 it felt pretty normal to drink my shot of pickle juice.
After work, I went to barre class — and let me tell you, I was definitely expecting to have some muscle cramps after barre, as I almost always do.
The class was as difficult as usual, so I was pretty sure I’d be sore the next day.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 4
On Day 4, I was almost certain that I’d have muscle cramps from the barre class — but I didn’t.
I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t sore, but I was so busy reveling in my lack-of-soreness that I forgot to drink pickle juice at my normal time.
I ended up drinking my pickle shot at the end of the day, but I don’t think it made too much of a difference.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 5
Usually, the second day after working out is when I’m the most sore, but I still had no cramps from barre class — I don’t know if that’s natural or from the pickle juice, but hey, I’m all for it either way.
By the time I got to Day 5, drinking pickle juice felt pretty normal. I no longer had to work up the courage to take my shot, but I still felt a little silly drinking pickle juice in the LittleThings kitchen.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 6
Day 6 was my first day drinking pickle juice at home — I felt pretty comfortable with it, but my boyfriend, who is a pickle-hater, couldn’t keep the look of disgust off his face.
That being said, he didn’t run away when I tried to kiss him, which leads me to believe the breath-freshening benefits of pickle juice definitely worked.
Drinking Pickle Juice: Day 7
On Day 7, I was happy to be nearing the end of my pickle juice experiment — not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I was looking forward to just getting to eat pickles like a normal person again.
Overall, the experiment was definitely a success, but I was happy to not have to carry my measuring shot glass with me to work every day.
Drinking Pickle Juice Results
I can’t say whether or not pickle juice helped regulate my blood sugar, fight against free-radicals, or help me lose weight, but it did help with my muscle cramps and bad breath.
The most successful benefits seemed to be the ones related to exercising, so I’ll definitely keep pickle juice in mind next time I’m considering buying a sports drink.
Drinking Pickle Juice Final Thoughts
Would I recommend pickle juice to a friend? Sure! Obviously I’d only recommend it to people who like pickles, but there are so many potential benefits, I don’t see why I wouldn’t tell a friend to drink it. Plus, as far as I can tell, there are no negatives, so if you’re considering drinking pickle juice, you might as well go for it.
Would I drink pickle juice again? Yes, but probably only as a pre- or post-workout drink. I don’t know that the other benefits are powerful enough for me to feel, but I’ll definitely drink pickle juice again to prevent and relieve muscle cramps or soreness.