Pickles, you either love them or hate them. For the most part, we LOVE them. The stats show that the average American will eat 8.5lbs of pickles a year. That sure is a lot of pickles! Varieties such as dill, sweet, crunchy, baby sized, sliced, or garlicky – there are so many ways to enjoy a pickle.  Despite their popularity, there are a ton of lesser known facts and benefits about pickles. From curing hangovers to beauty enhancing properties, these traditional garnishes for your sandwiches are ready for the limelight with these fun and surprising things you didn’t know about pickles!

1. Dill Pickles May Relieve Heartburn

That burning sensation in your esophagus and back of your throat is a an issue well known to many called “heartburn”. Heartburn is typically caused by the stomach acids travelling back up your esophagus, when it doesn’t close properly. Spicy, citrus and fatty foods are well-known causes for this.

What many don’t know, is that dill pickles and/or dill pickle juice can help relieve the symptoms of heartburn! If you’re looking for a safe at home remedy to try, eat a dill pickle or have a shot of dill pickle juice. You may be surprised at how it works. However, you should start small,  as for some – this folk remedy being a highly acidic food, may not help at all. Regardless, many swear by this method of heartburn relief.

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2. Pickles May Increase Your Metabolism

Pickles for weight loss? Yes, please! Since pickles are cucumbers brined and pickled in a diluted vinegar, they contain acetic acid which is fundamental in the body’s metabolic processing of carbs and fat into energy. In some studies, acetic acid was shown to suppress fat accumulation in animal studies…so who knows, it may just work on us humans, too.

Another fun metabolism booster of pickles, is the introduction of Vitamin B-12 into the cucumbers with the build up of healthy bacteria through the pickling process! Since B-12 is proven to have benefits on digestion and metabolism, it may just help you get a little extra boost. Be warned though, not all pickle juices are alike so not every pickling technique will be high in B-12. Not only that, but since pickles are also high-sodium, consuming TOO many can cause water weight gain, especially for those with high blood pressure or hypertension. Chat with your physician next time you see them to see if they think some pickles are an ok addition to your diet.

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3. Dill Pickles Are Basically Calorie Free

Pickles are considered what many call “negative calorie foods” meaning that the calories burned while eating them, equate to more than the food itself. In the case of dill pickles, that typically ranges from around 0-24 calories per serving. So chew away, you’re burning the calories as you go!

While their sweet variety has added sugar and therefore an increase in calories, the classic vinegar or dill brined pickles are nothing to shy away from when you’re watching your caloric intake. Take note though because like mentioned before, too many of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Since pickles are high in sodium, you may see water weight pack on if you’re enjoying too many of these calorie-free treats.

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4. The Juice Can Cure A Hangover

Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Struggling the morning after a fun night out of a few too many alcoholic drinks? You may be experiencing that awful side-effect, called a “hangover”. The worst. So when you’re needing of a fast remedy to your dizzy, shaky, headachy state – take a stroll to the fridge and grab out a jar of pickles.

A shot of pickle juice can give your body the revival it needs! Since alcohol can strip you of your body’s hydration and electrolytes, you can simply replenish them with pickle juice! Pickle juice is high in sodium, which makes it an ideal candidate for that zap of electrolytes your body is craving and balance that tired and sore body of yours, back into (hopefully) some normalcy. Some even claim that a shot of pickle juice with your alcoholic beverage, may prevent the hangover altogether!

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5. Pickles Can Reduce Muscle Cramps

Ok, this one is just weird. However, the research shows that when tested between pickle juice and water, participants found their cramps lasted a whole 49 seconds less when they were consuming the pickle juice.  Since muscle cramping can be a common ailment for many, especially athletes, maybe it’s time we start stocking up on pickles as remedy!

It’s thought that because the sodium is high in pickle juice, perhaps it’s the electrolytes doing their work again to balance the body and help it heal from it’s cramps. Other experts adhere to the idea that it’s the vinegar that helps the muscles to relax and stop contracting. Either way, it sounds like a win!

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6. They’re The Perfect Low Carb Snacking

Ever tried a low-carb diet? You’ll quickly find out that snacking is often the hardest road to navigate while on a carb restricted diet such as Adkins or the ever so popular, Ketogenic Diet. All the go-to options tend to be loaded with carbs and added sugars.

Finding recipes like Low Carb Pickle Boats can help you get through those cravings! Since pickles are a no-carb option, they make the perfect filler when you need it. Remember these don’t really have nutritional value though, so try pairing it with something (like tuna salad in the recipe here) to make it well-rounded fuel in your diet.

7. Pickles Are Good For Your Gut

Like all fermented foods, pickles are high in healthy bacteria that’s good for your gut! Aiding in digestion and balancing out your digestive health. Fermented foods are nature’s probiotic, an essential to any healthy diet.

Now, not all pickles are created equal. Common grocery store brands are often made to mimic true fermentation process with things like distilled vinegar, which is comparable to the taste of the sour flavor of a naturally fermentation. Additionally, most commercial pickles are made with vinegar that’s heated up first which sadly, kills all that good bacteria. Opt for the real organic stuff, maybe even at your local farmer’s market, or in the organic section of your grocery store. Most importantly, read your labels! You shouldn’t be seeing any funny words in your ingredient lists like yellow food dye, rather all natural ingredients like cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, garlic and some other natural flavors.

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8. You Can Make Pickles Yourself

It’s true, friends! Pickles can be made right at home, and very inexpensively. The good news is – it’s not as terrifying or difficult as you may be imagining. With just simple ingredients that you may already have in your cupboard and a few mason jars, you can make batches to last you weeks or even a year.

By making them at home, you are getting the opportunity to not only be sure that these are naturally fermenting (to get those good probiotics we talked about before) but you can also customize them to your own taste. Love garlic? Hit those jars up with it. Spice? Extra Dill? You name it, it’s yours. This may completely change your pickle game. Jars of pickles also make fantastic gifts for a friend, loved one, teacher, neighbor, and more.

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9. They Can Help With Morning Sickness & Nausea

It’s no secret that pregnant women LOVE pickles. The whole joke of pickles and ice cream at 2am, is no joke at all…it’s a real craving and whether it comes from society’s suggestion or the body’s cravings for sugars and salt, it’s most definitely a common trait for many women during their pregnancies.

One little tip that some pregnant women have discovered, is that pickles can actually help with morning sickness and nausea! This may be a bit of a folk’s cure to morning sickness and nausea, but many swear by it. Since it’s a salty, sour food – it’s also bound to make you thirsty, which is an added bonus as your hydration will also help with those nauseating feelings.

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10. Kool-Aid Pickles Are A Thing

What exactly are Kool-Aid pickles? Well for one, their proper name is “Koolickles” and they are the dream child of the Delta region of Mississippi. They are unnaturally electric-colored pickles (due to the dyes in the kool aid mixes) and are one adventurous way to enjoy that sweet & sour flavor.

They simply take dill pickles, drain them, cut in half, then soak in jars of water, sugar and Kool-Aid, then left to “bathe” for a week before enjoying. In the south, these are quite well-known for selling out completely at fairs. While these are most definitely an indulgence, they certainly sound fun.

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11. They Can Help Clear Your Skin

Okay, I’m about to take up stock in pickles. Say whaaaat? Yes, apparently it’s true! Pickles due to that amazing fermentation process, make them a prime food to ingest to help balance out and perhaps – clear your skin. This is all comes back to the fact that by eating pickles, your digestion is improved. It’s well known that your skin is directly linked to your digestion, and that digestion is improved by eating fermented foods that are good for your gut. So, coming full circle… that can mean eating pickles may just clear up skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

One of the most legendary beauty icons in all of history – Cleopatra, claimed that pickles were the reason she was so beautiful. We aren’t sure why she made these claims, but in ancient Egypt she definitely started a trend with everyone from peasants to Pharaoh’s who consumed pickles believing that they too would have enhanced beauty.

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12. They Really Enhance Bloody Mary’s & Caesars

Who could use a new go-to drink? Depending on where you live, you likely have consumed a few Bloody Mary’s or Caesars in your lifetime. Sometimes, they are garnished with fun things like celery, olives or pickles. But, the pickle-professionals suggest you take that a step further.

If you’re looking to amp up your alcoholic tomato juice cocktail, try added some pickle juice to it! It will give it a sour snap that is balanced so well into the drink. Serve it up this way at your next party, and you’re certain to draw attention to your new favorite adult beverage.

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13. Pickles Are The Reason We Have Mason Jars

Who knew pickles were so important to household aesthetics? Pinterest just wouldn’t be the same without them. Back in 1858, John Mason worked to develop the Mason jar because he needed a thicker glass jar that would be able to withstand the heat needed to sterilize and seal a lid during pickling.

So the next time you’re pumping your cute soaps out of a Mason jar, or making cupcakes in a Mason jar, packing a salad in a Mason jar, or organizing all of your cupboard ingredients and spices with Mason jars and oh-so-trendy chalkboard labels…remember, it’s all because of pickles.

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14. It’s A Really Awesome Ingredient

Sure, pickles are awesome on the side of sandwiches, but until you’ve tried pickles chopped up in a tuna salad, or in a ham & pickle sandwich, you haven’t lived! This Forkly recipe is something to bookmark. It’s a one-pan recipe that yields four servings, 10 minutes of prep, and up to 40 minutes of cook time in the oven.

We like to take things a level up, and made dill pickle stuffed chicken. It’s quite honestly one of our favorite recipes, which combined two favorite menu items, chicken & fried dill pickles, into one dill-icious stuffed chicken dinner. See the full recipe on Forkly here.

15. Dill Pickles May Counteract Bloating

Dill is naturally filled with essential oils that are known for calming the stomach, and reducing cramps and stomach pain. Therefore, eating a dill pickle or having a shot of the dill pickle juice may calm that stomach bloat right down. Additionally, dill is a diuretic, which can flush out toxins from the body, and help with the dreaded bloat so many suffer from.

Ever have a colicky baby and give them gripe water, just to notice that familiar smell of dill pickles? Well, that’s because gripe water is also known as “dill water”, a common homeopathic treatment for the gastrointestinal disruption of baby’s bellies. So it’s no surprise that pickle juice can help calm the stomachs of adults, too. Don’t have too much though, or that increase of sodium can lead to water-bloat.

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Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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