Obsessed with pickles? This might be why

Obsessed with pickles? This might be why

The zesty, crunchy bite of a pickle hitting your taste buds, with a mix of salty and tangy notes, is a flavor journey to a place of pure joy. So much joy that the average American eats about nine pounds of pickles each year, according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Is this craving merely a quirky preference or is there a deeper reason behind it? As it turns out, there is a healthy explanation.

For starters, the fermentation process of making pickles involves a host of beneficial bacteria, essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. This can improve digestion, boost immunity and even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Pickles also have high levels of vitamin K, supporting cardiovascular function, bone health and reducing inflammation.

Pickles are soaked in a brine containing minerals, like calcium, magnesium and potassium, which help regulate blood pressure and maintain overall electrolyte balance.

“Pickles are extremely versatile,” says Pamela Voelkers, a dietitian and integrative health coach from Aurora Health Care. “They can be enjoyed on their own as a quick, healthy snack, or they can be added for a burst of flavor to salads, sandwiches, burgers and even beverages. Pickles are low in calories and fat, but high in fiber and antioxidants.”

Eating pickles may also help:

But why do pregnant women often crave pickles? Voelkers says the craving may be attributed to:

  • Changes in hormones. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can affect a woman’s taste buds, making her crave certain foods she may not typically enjoy.
  • The need for electrolytes. Pickles are a good source of electrolytes, like sodium, which pregnant women may need more of due to increased blood volume during pregnancy.
  • Alleviating morning sickness. The sour taste of pickles can help settle a queasy stomach, making them a go-to snack for many pregnant women.

The next time you crave a tangy, salty and sour snack, Voelkers encourages you to reach for a pickle. “Just don’t overdo it. Remember that pickles are high in sodium and overconsuming can pose health issues.”

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About the Author

Amber Thompson
Amber Thompson

Amber Thompson is a marketing graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. In her free time, Amber enjoys passion-filled projects including blogging and photography. Amber loves spending her free time reading journalistic columns, listening to motivational podcasts and discovering creative recipes to get her young son to eat his vegetables.