Should You Be Drinking Pickle Juice After Your Workout?
Or are there better ways to help your body recuperate? A dietitian digs deeper into the truth about drinking pickle juice after a workout.
By now you likely know that post-workout drinks can be key for recovery and performance. Typically you'd reach for water, Gatorade, or good ol' chocolate milk. But the Pickle Juice Company now sells a drink, Pickle Juice Sport, with claims that it'll help replace electrolytes and relieve muscle cramps after a long workout. But is this legit? Does sippin' on pickle juice after a workout really help you crush your next sweat sesh? (Related: The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout)
What’s the Deal With Pickle Juice After a Workout?
The main elements of most workout recovery drinks are carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, and water for rehydration. Pickle juice contains sodium, an electrolyte frequently lost through sweat in a tough workout, but it's low in potassium, which is also key for preventing cramps. One 2010 study showed that a small amount of pickle juice might help skeletal muscular cramps in endurance athletes, but it's uncertain which ingredient actually causes the beneficial effects…so it may not have anything to do with the brine. Further research is needed to prove the effectiveness of pickle juice after workouts for regular athletic activity (ya know, for all of us who don’t run 10+ miles a day). All in all, it's unlikely to be effective enough to warrant a change to your post-workout beverage. (Speaking of which, have you heard about Switchel?)
So What Should I Drink After Exercise?
Instead of drinking pickle juice after a workout, pick up coconut water, as it contains both potassium and sodium. Or, if that's not really your style, try watermelon water, another good source of potassium.
And even though electrolytes and adequate hydration are important, don't underestimate complex carbs and protein—the two can really give your muscles a little TLC pre- and post-workout. Up your recovery game with easy-to-pack snacks, like an apple or a banana with peanut or almond butter, a protein bar, a handful of nuts, Greek yogurt, or your favorite smoothie. And aim for about 150 calories to keep your recovery snack in the snack category—rather than a meal. (Up Next: 14 Post-Workout Snacks Trainers and Dietitians Swear By)