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Why Am I Craving Pickles: Top 6 Reasons

Last updated on November 22, 2020

Pickles are strange, and most commonly associated with pregnancy!

However, there are actually a bunch of reasons people crave pickles anytime, but perhaps become more prone during pregnancy.

Pickles:

  • Have pretty much no calories
  • Are canned and last for years
  • Are made from cucumbers

Plus pickles are not sugary like other commonly desired foods such as ice cream.

Why the heck would you crave pickles, or even a whole jar of pickles?!

But interesting fact, it’s not just you who is craving pickles: 

Why do so many of us crave pickles?! Here are the top 6 reasons why you are craving pickles:

1 – You Need Salt

Pickles are really salty.

According to a quick google search, one medium pickle has 785 mg of sodium. That’s 32% of your daily salt needs!

sodium amount for pickles

Do pregnant women crave pickles?

Some pregnant women crave pickles. But as you’ll see, not all pregnant women crave pickles.

For starters, pickles for pregnant women make a lot of sense.

After morning sickness, which often includes vomiting, a pregnant woman could easily be lacking salt.

Vomiting is the number one reason people experience low blood sodium levels.

Therefore, it would be very natural for pregnant women to have cravings for pickles to replace any lost salt.

However, interestingly, the pickle craving data seems to show a different story:

pregnant woman craving pickles

One study followed 200 pregnant women in Tanzania. In Tanzania, the most commonly reported food cravings for pregnant women were:

  • Meat
  • Mangoes
  • Yogurt

One the other hand, in the U.S., the most common food cravings during pregnancy were:

  • Chocolate
  • Fast food
  • Ice cream
  • And … you guessed it … pickles!

While cravings for pickles during pregnancy does make sense, not all women crave pickles when pregnant.

There are other factors that influence food cravings at play!  Pickles and ice cream are much more common purchases in the U.S. than in Tanzania.

Isn’t it interesting to realize that ice cream and pickle cravings are cultural? Cool stuff indeed!

2 – You’re Dehydrated

Another reason you crave pickles is that you’re dehydrated. 

Aside from vomiting, the most likely reason you crave pickles is due to dehydration.

(Please note that certain medications also can deplete salt levels, causing you to experience pickle cravings)

Dehydration means your body is lacking water.

When you are dehydrated, your body begins to experience cravings for two things in particular:

  1. Water
  2. Salt

Now we already know that pickles give you lots of salt!

And pickles also give you water and other electrolytes too!

This makes pickles a perfect food source if you are dehydrated, or craving salt for other reasons like vomiting.

No wonder why the market for pickles is worth $12 billion!

Here are some common ways you could become dehydrated (and be craving both salt and water) without even realizing it:

  • Going all day forgetting to drink water
  • Stress making you sweat more
  • Doing errands, shopping or other chores that involve a lot of walking or lifting
  • Exercising hard where you don’t properly rehydrate

Is Pickle Juice Good For You? Science Says Pickles May Reduce Muscles Cramps

Speaking of exercise, the journal of Medicine and Science for Sports published a study about pickle juice.

These scientists knew that athletes had been drinking pickle juice for decades for better muscle recovery.

However, was the benefit of drinking pickle juice just folklore, or was there any scientific evidence to support athletes’  cravings for pickle juice?

The scientists found that pickle juice works better than water at reducing muscle cramps.

This could also be another reason why pregnant women crave pickles too!

So if you exercise really hard …

And you start craving something like salty foods

Are Pickles Good For You? Other Health Reasons You Crave Pickles

jar of pickles

By far and away the reasons you crave pickles are pretty straightforward.

Your body needs more salt and water, and pickles help with both.

However, there are some other reasons why you might be craving pickles. 

These reasons are not as important as the first two reasons, but are still worth mentioning:

3 – Need More Acid In Your Stomach

Your body needs some acid in your stomach to digest foods properly.

And pickle juice is known to be highly acidic, like lemons.

However, typically speaking the average American diet is too acidic. 

This means that it’s less likely that you’re craving pickles for acidic reasons.

However, it’s possible that your diet doesn’t contain enough acid, even though that’s not super likely if you live in the United States.

4 – Help With Digestion

Pickles contain vinegar which can help with digestion. 

For example, there is much gossip about the apple cider vinegar diet.

While many of the effects of the apple cider vinegar diet are exaggerated …

Some studies have shown that vinegar may help with:

  • Hypertension
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating

Please keep in mind that vinegar (or pickles) would only slightly help in these regards.

5 – Lots Of Vitamin A and Vitamin K

Pickles contain high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin K.

One pickle contains around 20% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is good for:

  • Blood clotting
  • Bone density and strength

Pickles also contain about 20% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for:

  • Vision
  • Immune system

Are pickles good for weight loss?

Here’s one frequently asked question:

Are pickles good for weight loss?

Sure, generally speaking pickles are healthy.

However, are pickles good for weight loss?

I don’t know about that. It would be dangerous of me to say that you can just eat pickles and magically lose weight. 

Pickles can be a part of your diet, yes. However, don’t rely on pickles to lose weight. 

6 – Pickles Have Unique Flavor and Texture

One final reason you may be craving pickles is because of their unique flavor and texture.

That crunch is pretty unique!

That salty brine is unique too!

Their unique flavor and texture means that pickles are ‘rare’. 

Of course you can get pickles at the store so they aren’t ‘rare’ in that sense …

But they do have a ‘rare’ flavor and texture.

So if you’re bored or just need variety, it’s totally possible that you could crave pickles just for these reasons.

For another post about the meaning behind food cravings, read my article here.

Overall, What Are The Health Benefits Of Pickles?

To conclude this article, let’s review the health benefits of pickles:

  • Contain lots of water
  • Contain lots of salt and other electrolytes
  • Are green (and green foods are good generally speaking!)
  • Contain vinegar which may help with acidity and digestion
  • Lots of vitamin A and vitamin K

So go ahead, get a spear, and enjoy!

If you are curious if you have Binge Eating Disorder, please take this short 8 question quiz.

The quiz questions are based on medical criteria used in treatment settings to diagnose Binge Eating Disorder.


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