My 23-year-old son, DJ, called me from his home. He was very sick with a stomach flu and was in a considerable amount of pain with stomach cramps throughout the night. With a half cup of pickle juice in hand I went over to his home. I went into his room which was dark with no lights. There I found him in sorry shape. He said he hadn’t slept all night because his stomach kept cramping. He was unable to keep anything down and also had a fever. I placed my jar on the counter and said, “DJ, take small sips of this juice every half an hour until the juice is gone. If you do this, you will be up watching TV and eating some rice by tonight.” Later that evening when I came back over to check on him, he was sitting on the sofa watching TV and eating a bowl of plain rice. Nothing makes me happier than to see this happen. DJ is the kindest soul I know, and when he is in pain it kills me. These magical pickles had done their magic again as they had done many times before.
I have stories and stories about pickles, and how they have helped so many on the path to wellness. Let’s face it, cultured vegetables are an amazing food, but there are not many pickles on the market that are lacto fermented. Making your own pickles is easy and fun and the benefits are many. Check out all the things fermented pickles and their juice can do.
Your immune system fights pathogens with bacteria and your T cell helpers. They destroy foreign invaders, especially when they have large numbers of good microbes. You’ll also get lots of vitamin C that boosts your immune system. These extra microbes do it so effectively that your immune system will become stronger making sickness a thing of the past. 1
All fermented foods can play a really important role in rebalancing the gut flora and recovering from gut imbalances such as Candida. 2 They bring things into balance quickly. Candida yeast doesn’t have the room to grow and flourish as these helper microbes crowd them out, keeping them in their proper place. I should add a note of warning here. Eating large amounts of fermented foods is more powerful than taking large amounts of probiotic supplements. If you consume a lot of fermented foods, this can lead to a Herxheimer reaction. As the harmful pathogens die off ,they can release toxins that can mimic a yeast infection.
Natural antioxidants found in cucumbers help in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are formed naturally in the body, and can lead to cell damage. While cooking food may break down some of the heat sensitive nutrients, culturing vegetables preserves their antioxidant power and supplies them with more vitamins and minerals through the magic of fermentation.
It’s all the rage among athletes these days – I see many of them on TV in their dugouts drinking pickle juice. They swear by it as it helps to rebuild electrolytes post workout. Pickle brine has been shown to reduce muscle cramping and also prevent it if they hydrate with pickle juice before a workout. 3
One of the big reasons people feel so terrible when they’ve had too much to drink is because alcohol is a diuretic, leaving them feeling dehydrated. Drinking pickle juice, especially fermented pickle juice, helps to replenish depleted sodium levels. When pickles are fermented, lactic acid is created. This acid helps to lower fat in the bloodstream, improve circulation, lower high blood pressure, and restore electrolyte balance.
Having lots of beneficial microbes, as a result of eating pickles, can give you not only extra microbes, but digestive enzymes that help you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
Check out all my pickle recipes below!
- Kaplan, JL et al., (2011) The role of microbes in developmental immunologic programming. Pediatric Research 69 (6), 465-472.
- Hamad, M., Muta’eb, E., Abu‐Shaqra, Q., Fraij, A., Abu‐Elteen, K., & Yasin, S. R. (2006). Utility of the oestrogen‐dependent vaginal candidosis murine model in evaluating the efficacy of various therapies against vaginal Candida albicans infection. Mycoses, 49(2), 104-108.
- Miller, K et al., (2010) Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 42 (5), 953-961.