Pickles are great with a sandwich or burger, but when you finish the jar of pickles in your fridge, you may be neglecting to use the best part of the jar – the juice that the pickles were soaking in. It may surprise you to learn that pickle juice is actually very healthy for you. It's worth saving it to drink by itself or to add to other beverages. Take a look at some of the little known health benefits of pickle juice.
Good Source of Antioxidants
The brine that pickles soak in is a good source of antioxidants. To understand why that's important, you need to understand what antioxidants are. Antioxidants are compounds of chemicals that prevent cell damage by counteracting free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms with odd numbers of electrons that can cause cell damage or cell death when they react negatively with the cell membrane. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals. It's believed that a diet high in antioxidants can lower your risk of things like cancer and heart disease.
Pickle juice is high in common antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene. The juice contains these elements because of the ingredients used to flavor the pickles and because of the nutrients the juice absorbs from the soaking cucumbers. Drinking pickle juice is an easy way to introduce more antioxidants into your diet.
Prevent Muscle Cramps
If you know any athletes, ask them if they're on to the benefits of pickle juice. You may be surprised to find out that they've been drinking it for awhile. Why? Because pickle juice can help prevent the muscle cramps that can occur due to dehydration during a workout.
Heavy sweat leads to an imbalance of potassium and sodium in the body. It's this imbalance that is believed to cause the annoying muscle cramps that occur when you're dehydrated. You probably know that pickles are high in salt, which means that pickles and the juice that they soak in are both high in sodium. The juice also contains plenty of potassium. Drinking it can keep those levels balanced and prevent painful cramps.
Reduce Bacterial Infections
The primary ingredient in pickle juice is vinegar. Vinegar is very acidic, and as such, it's very hard on bacteria. However, vinegar is still fairly mild on the lining of your stomach. Consuming vinegar can help rid your stomach of infection-causing bacteria without irritating your stomach lining.
Of course, vinegar alone doesn't have a particularly pleasant taste. But if you enjoy the flavor of pickles, drinking pickle juice can be a way to get bacteria-fighting vinegar into your stomach without gagging.
There are a number of easy ways to consume pickle juice. You can drink it alone, mix it into tomato juice, or add it to marinades, salads, or veggie dips. You can even mix it into a dirty martini in place of olive juice. Don't throw out that jar of pickle juice after you've eaten the pickles – the juice from your favorite kosher pickle brands may just be the best part.