Why Am I Craving Pickles?

Published on: February 26, 2023
set of jars with pickles

Pickles are a salty, tangy snack that are notoriously craved during pregnancy. When you have certain cravings, like for pickles, it can mean your body wants or needs nutrients in the item you crave. If you wonder, “Why am I craving pickles?” there may be an answer beyond pregnancy.

What Is In Pickles?

The secret behind why you may be craving pickle juice or pickles in general can be in the ingredients and nutrients included in this crunchy snack. The basic ingredients needed to make pickles include cucumbers, vinegar, salt and spices, which contain various nutrients.

When you are craving a food, it can be due to a deficiency of one of the nutrients it contains. While this is not the only reason for cravings, it is common. Pickles and the juice in which they are packed contain a few substances that your body may need. These include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Sodium
  • Electrolytes such as potassium
  • Acidity
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Phosphorus

Pickles have very few calories, but they do have plenty of nutrients that the body may want or need. This explains why some women crave pickles when pregnant, as their bodies need many nutrients to sustain while forming a new human. But why am I craving pickles – and am not pregnant?

Reasons for Craving Pickle Juice and Pickles

If you have pickle cravings and are not pregnant, you may have other reasons for desiring these tangy vegetables. Like many pregnant women, you may be low on certain nutrients in pickles, which can explain your inexplicable craving for a salty, tangy snack, which may be due to the following reasons.

Low on Sodium
Americans typically eat way more sodium than they need – it is estimated that over 90% of Americans eat more than the recommended sodium each day. However, if you are one of the few that does not eat too much sodium, you may be craving pickles to add more sodium to your diet.
Pickles and their juice are loaded with salt, which is extremely high in sodium. One medium to large pickle can contain over 1000 mg of sodium, nearly half the recommended daily sodium for most adults. If you need a quick source of sodium, pickles are an excellent choice to increase your levels.
Along with low sodium in your diet, dehydration can be another reason you crave a pickle fix. If you have been sweating excessively from heat or exercise, or you have been vomiting or losing other fluids, you could be dehydrated. Loss of fluids results in loss of sodium and electrolytes.
Alcohol consumption is another common way to become dehydrated. Craving pickles after too much alcohol the night before can be due to fluid loss. Many people believe that pickle juice is a home remedy for an alcohol hangover.
Pickles and pickle juice contain high sodium and electrolytes like potassium that your body needs when it is dehydrated. There is also plenty of water in these juicy vegetable snacks. While you are craving pickle juice, you may also need to drink plain water to restore your hydration levels.

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Vitamin A and K Deficiency

If you eat a diet that is low in green or leafy vegetables, you may have vitamin deficiencies that make you crave certain foods. Pickles are great sources of vitamin A and K, which may be why you desire them. Even those who are not fans of many vegetables can enjoy the flavor of pickles.

Digestive Distress

The stomach needs acid to break down foods. In some cases, those craving pickles may be specifically craving pickle juice. The vinegar used for most pickles is apple cider vinegar, which is not only acidic, but contains many nutrients that can help with digestion and other health concerns.

Other Reasons for Craving Pickles…

Not all food cravings are biological in nature. There are other reasons you have the urge to seek out pickles and wonder, “Why am I craving pickles? I’m not pregnant, not dehydrated or nutrient deficient.” These reasons are more mentally and emotionally based than physical.

One simple reason you want to experience the crunch and zest of a pickle is that you enjoy the taste. Pickles come in a variety of enjoyable flavors, from sweet or salty to spicy and savory. Just like many food cravings, you may just desire the taste of your favorite type of pickle.
plate with variety of pickles
Another reason for craving pickle juice and pickles can be an emotional link to the food. You may have memories of eating pickles with a loved one or during certain happy events. Taking a bite of a pickle may bring you back to moments in time, giving you an emotional boost when you need it.

There is no reason to be alarmed if you are craving pickles. In most cases, it is just due to low sodium or slight dehydration after exercise, illness or too much alcohol consumption. However, if you are concerned that you are low in nutrients, visit your doctor to discuss nutrient deficiency testing.

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