Pickles exposed: Salt and vinegar in this tasty snack can help cure hangovers

This week is the time for us to go out and make questionable decisions with our recently reunited friends before classes get too hectic. I don’t make the rules. It’s just the way it is. But if you’re anything like me, even the most fun of nights can be easily overshadowed when I’m lying in bed the next morning with a pulsating head and one very, very grumpy stomach. While other people go after the closest bottle of ibuprofen and water, my go-to “morning after” fix comes in the form of a pickle – or two or three. Little did I know, eating pickles or drinking pickle juice was an ancient remedy to the common case of a hangover. Does it really work though? Have we been suffering after countless fun nights when the solution was just in our refrigerators?

*Pickles, or pickle juice, can prevent or cure a hangover: TRUE*

Well, it’s half true at least. It’s more of what pickles have in them: vinegar and salt. When you’re hungover, you’re extremely dehydrated, and the excess amount of sodium in pickles essentially provides a buildup of water in your body — water your body desperately needs.

The blast of sodium your body experiences after you consume, say, one shot of pickle juice is an overload of water that was lost while you were having too much fun the night before. It makes you feel better, simply put.

But saying the pickle juice itself actually is a cure for your hangover may be bit of a stretch.

You will eventually be rehydrated, and you will eventually feel better. Saying pickle juice alone did the trick might just all be in the mind.

“It’s true that hydrating helps with a hangover,” said Bruce Chassy, professor of food sciences and human nutrition. “But anything that helps with (hydration) could help.”

So while pickle juice may help, it’s not necessarily a secret easy fix. Chassy explained that since it’s just hearsay, we could say anything cures our hangover if we believe it does. It’s hard to put a finger to what is actually making someone feel better – there’s really no way to measure such a thing. But hey, if you believe in the power of the mind, take a shot of pickle juice before your next night out.

*Pickles can help lose weight faster: FALSE*

It’s been shown that vinegar, which is what pickles are soaked in, have enzymes in them that slow digestion of carbohydrates in the stomach.

It’s no secret that pickles are practically calorie-free. Once again, there is nothing in pickles that will magically melt the pounds off you. Choosing any other vegetable to eat for a snack rather than chips and ice cream would do the same thing. While pickles may slow the digestion of carbs, the amount of salt in them would counteract the progress it made in your weight anyway.

But getting full from pickles, which could act as an appetite suppressant, Chassy said, is much better than getting full of foods higher in calories.

*Pickle juice helps muscle cramps: TRUE*

Again, it’s all about the influx of sodium and electrolytes, not necessarily the power of the pickle juice itself.

When you have a muscle cramp as a result of exercising, it’s because of the dehydration that occurs as you sweat and lose salt and electrolytes. Cue the pickle juice. It helps rehydrate your body and muscles with its high electrolyte content, making your muscles contract more easily.

This works the same way most sports drinks do, except pickle juice has a considerably larger amount of electrolytes per volume than, for example, Gatorade.

But really, muscle cramps could seemingly be remedied with a higher intake of anything salty.

All in all, it’s clear that we just like to take ideas and run with them when it comes to remedies for our bodies.

_Meghan is a sophomore in Media._