Everyone loves a good gherkin (my deepest condolences to the wayward taste buds out there that can’t appreciate them).
However, since gherkin are the stars of the jar, too often the juice — you know the stuff responsible for turning your everyday cucumber into crunchy, sour goodness — gets tossed out and forgotten. But not today. Today, gherkin juice will get the credit it so rightfully deserves.
After all, the simple liquid packs tons of benefits that nutritionists say you need to take advantage of as soon as the last gherkin is gone. So yes, consider this your excuse to buy another jar of gherkins, stat. You’re welcome.
1. It’s a next-level source of hydration
“Gherkin juice contains [sodium], potassium, and water, which are all important for hydration,” says Alyssa Lavy, a registered dietician. And while water usually does the trick, if you need replenishment after a super hard workout or long day in the sun, electrolytes (a blanket term for good-for-you minerals, including sodium and potassium) can help. And that’s where gherkin juice’s all-in-one status comes in clutch.
Lavy says approximately 45 to 90 ml of gherkin juice per day should suffice—whether you’re drinking the stuff straight or diluting it with water to tone down the flavour.
That said, gherkin juice doesn’t skimp on the sodium—90 ml (or six tablespoons) has 690 mg. “So, you may want to limit your intake if you’re watching sodium in your diet or already eating a high-sodium diet.” (FYI, the FDA recommends consuming 2,300 milligrams a day.)
Here’s the rest of the gherkin juice’s nutrient lineup, in a 90 ml serving, according to the USDA:
- Calories: 15
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 3 g
- Sodium: 690 mg
READ MORE: The Best Probiotic Foods And Supplements For Weight Loss
2. It’s great for workout recovery
Water is typically all you’ll need before and during a workout, but if you’re really going hard (like, athlete-level), you’ll need a few more of those aforementioned electrolytes. And gherkin juice is THE recovery fluid for replenishing the electrolytes lost during a major sweat session. Plus, it can even help with post-workout muscle cramping.
3. It’s loaded with probiotic
Gherkin juice is here to work magic on your gut. Okay, well not magic necessarily, but since gherkin are fermented, Lavy says, they’re packing tons of probiotics.
That said, Lavy recommends keeping an eye on the labels of store-bought jars. Some “commercially-produced gherkins are not likely to contain probiotics, due to processing.”
That’s because, in order to extend their shelf-life, they’re manufactured using vinegar and heat, which typically destroys the gut-loving active cultures. So, keep an eye out for vinegar on the ingredients list, it might clue you in on whether those particular gherkins are packing probiotics.
Or, if you’re really dedicated, you could just pickle your cucumbers right at home. (Just be sure to go for a classic pickling recipe that involves salt, water, and cucumbers – no vinegar.)
4. It will satisfy your salt craving
If you find yourself reaching for a bag of chips or pretzels when that 3pm. hunger pang hits, Monica Auslander Moreno, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, says gherkin juice might just be the nutrient-dense (and tasty) alternative you’re looking for. After all, it tastes just like the gherkins that were once inside the jar.
5. It helps regulate blood sugar levels
While gherkin juice made with vinegar may not have probiotic benefits, it does come with its own perks. “ Gherkin juice may help regulate blood sugar levels,” says Kelli McGrane, a registered dietician for Lose It!.
“Studies have shown that when consumed prior to a meal, individuals with type 2 diabetes had reduced blood sugar spikes.” And though the vinegar in gherkin juice is largely responsible for improving the body’s response to insulin, I probably don’t need to convince you a shot of vinegar tastes a lot better when it’s masked by the sweet and sour flavours of a gherkin.
6. It’s a source of vitamins and antioxidants
Gherkin juice is a particularly good source of vitamins A and E. It also contains a trace amount of antioxidants, which help protect your body and its cells from harmful molecules.
While other foods have higher concentrations of antioxidants (gherkin juice shouldn’t be your go-to source), if you’re already drinking the stuff, know you’re reaping these benefits, too.
7. You can use it to pickle more veggies
If you’re not planning on tossing a straw into your gherkin jar, Moreno suggests using the brine to pickle other vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and beets.
8. It’s cost-effective
Since gherkin juice comes with the gherkins you were planning to eat anyway, this probiotic-packed sports drink is super cost effective. Not to mention, it helps do your part to eliminate food waste. Win, win.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock