Why am I craving pickle juice?

by 3142 · July 09, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Alright, cravin' pickle juice lately so I'll give you some facts and then hopefully y'all can hack this .. Also, including salt information because after some googleage I have some people saying it might be a sodium deficiency? But I've also seen something about a magnesium or potassium deficiency and frankly, I'm dubious.

  • First off, I am not pregnant. (Aren't some pregnant women known to crave pickles and pickle juice?)
  • I don't use salt ... on anything. The only way I would get any salt would be the occassional kipper snack (1-2 times a month) or the occasional salted avocado (1-2 a month).
  • I supplement with fish oil, vitamin d, and Natural Calm. Though, the latter when I remember and seeing how I can't afford it anymore ... probably no more in the future.
  • I gave blood two days ago. I think this might factor in (e.g. if I had low sodium this pushed it over the edge)? (Note: I do have high iron though, weeee. You need to be at 38 and I was at 47 ... mmm Paleo ...)
  • I eat pretty strict paleo, minus the pickles I guess, mostly red meat, some chicken, lots of eggs, vegetables, avocado, and healthy fats.

Thanks for any advice or comments!

Edit: I am drinking pickle juice and eating pickles, I didn't mention that. I love them in the first place, it's just uncharacteristic to crave them like this.

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18 Replies

15120 · July 15, 2011 at 1:33 PM

the stereotype of pregnant women craving pickle juice is because its loaded with sodium, and preggos needs tons of it in the beginning as their bodies dramatically increase blood supply. PERSONALLY, i went for the old el paso hot enchilada sauce in a can. 4000mg sodium! nom nom nom.

maybe take a queue from that and eat more sodium! or, just drink the pickle juice- its really, really, way, way yummy. if youre not adding salt to your food, you probably need some. if you go the pickle juice route, just make sure its the good stuff, and not the HFCS-laden garbage. but something tells me you would be fine going for some kale chips, extra sea-salt.

12804 · July 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

If you don't use salt on anything that is your problem. Sodium and chloride are essential nutrients and unless you use salt, drink a ton of coconut water or eat a ton of celery you will come up short.

11049 · July 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

The human body needs salt to function properly - we are essentially one big electrical circuit, sodium & potassium among other things are required for the proper conduction of nerve electrical impulses. Seems your body is telling you what it needs, listen to it. CW says that salt increases blood pressure, this has been shown to not be the case, if anyone is worried about that. I actually had high BP a while back, after researching it I increased my sea salt intake and what do you know my BP went back to normal.

627 · July 15, 2011 at 1:16 PM

I used to crave beer. What I found out was that I just really needed water. So every day when I come home I drink 3-4 glasses of water and I hardly every think about beer anymore.

I see in other posts that you're pretty active and you recently quit coffee?. And it doesn't look like you eat many fruits and vegetables (which contain water)? I found that I was losing 1-2 pounds during the course of my day from exercise and just beeboppin' around all day. More water really helped me cut out the cravings that I was having. Seriously, load up on the water just to see if your cravings subside.

15261 · July 15, 2011 at 5:19 PM

In the summer I crave more salt, and sometimes potassium. This usually shows up as craving an avocado drenched in lime juice and salt.

Once I had a jar of pickled carrots on the counter, and just opened it and drank the liquid. It hit the spot like a key in a lock.

I am betting your body is craving salt. I bet the blood donation is what triggered it, your body needs more electrolytes when rehydrating or restoring your blood supply.

When I crave salt, I just eat it, and make it natural salt mixed with some good Paleo food. It doesn't happen that often, and I let my body regulate it.

Pickle juice has a lot of sodium, colors, preservatives, chemicals, etc. You might find a more natural salty food to have.

1346 · July 15, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I get to craving vinegar sometimes, so I usually have some salad or cottage cheese and dump Balsamic all over it. My theory has been that my tummy wants a little help with acid production. but these other people may be more correct, maybe it is a sodium thing?

10 · February 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Try drinking coconut water which is full of potassium and sodium (electrolytes essential for your body). I've also read that pickle juice craving can come from an upset digestive system trying to balance out upset and nauseas feelings. My daughter has been craving pickle juice. She is not lacking in salt, but because of medication issues has a constantly upset and nauseas stomach. And I've read also that if your body is craving something, you should give it what it's asking for!!! Hope this helps

40 · July 15, 2011 at 9:14 PM

When I changed my eating habits, I also took out salt, but it turns out, that led to some problems. 1) really bad leg cramps & 2) cravings for salt or something very salty. Of course, it turns out I took out too much. We're all different so there's really no one measurement for all. You just have to add it back in and monitor yourself. As long as you're using unrefined sea salt! As has been stated, it's been proven that this type of salt does not increase blood pressure or cause water retention. That's caused by the refined stuff. Search Dr Mercola's website for information. He does a good job of explaining all this.

7490 · July 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Lately, I've been drinking the liquid of my lacto-fermented dilly beans, and it is SO good. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

I don't know if cravings mean anything. They may not. But you could try giving in and see if it helps. I recommend the lacto-fermented stuff if you can find it since it would have some healthy benefits.

And yes, I would consider upping the sodium. There's some interesting research about sodium going on right now and unless you have high blood pressure, there's no medical reason for restricting it.

1231 · July 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM

potassium. try upping it and see if the cravings change.

0 · July 09, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Totally random answer here. Last summer i finally did some doctor visits, among other things found out I was quite anemic. Two weeks after starting iron tabs and using cast iron, several major changes. I could jog more than 100yds, I quit chewing ice insatiably, lost my irrational crave for anything pickled (green olives, dill pickles, marinated mushrooms, dilly beans, capers). Give me a bloody mary and I was in heaven! I was literally trying to hide my purchases of Costco-sized pickled stuff from my husband. The oxygen flow to my poor blood cells is an easy answer, and I have found that ice chewing is a symptom of anemia. Now I am looking around for any connection to the pickled cravings.

692 · June 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Start using some sea salt. For one, sea salt contains some other great minerals that you want.

Like you, I was an anti-salt hero for years. Unfortunately, this did harm.

I got all no salt crazy back in the 1980s when my dad was told to lower sodium because of heart issues. Okay, to keep it short, that was THE EIGHTIES and within the last 5 years, dad has had 5 heart attacks. My mother has had 3. I'm putting that in here to show my family most certainly has heart issues and it kind of shows one reason why I took a fairly insane (now that I see it) course of action.

I've been dealing with potassium deficiencies for years now -- probably due to hating on salt! I'm now using salt and that has fixed my that issue (I always eat foods high in potassium but it didn't seem to absorb without salt to help).

It's something worth looking into (sea salt). Start small! I'm still not used to using it because my 'taster' doesn't love it, so I'll over-salt or under-salt since I haven't learned yet but I'm definitely adding salt, especially to my chard, kale, other greens. It's doing wonders for my potassium!

0 · June 25, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Because pickle juice is like fine wine! Pickle shine. Pickle Perrier.

0 · June 25, 2013 at 1:41 AM

I looked this up hoping to find an answer as to why I crave pickle juice the day after I've been drinking. The responses all seem to lead to the same conclusion: salt and maybe minerals. Exsercise and drinking alcohol will both cause the body to loose sodium, resulting in the craving. Anyhow, this post and all of the answers about pickle juice have been helpful. :-)

123 · February 28, 2013 at 2:05 AM

There is a reason animals are drawn to salt licks, bodies need sodium to function, and animals lick deposits because there often isn't enough found in their food. Paleo people likely did the same. Add some salt to your diet, it's actually good for you.

0 · July 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

WEll I was looking for the same answer, as to why I was craving pickle juice at times. My cravings would come after an intense workout or running for 2+ hours straight. After putting together what everyone else is saying to what I know about my body I conclude that salt is most likely to culprit. I don't drink sports drink when I am doing these workouts I drink water (though I do use energy gels or drops). I believe salt is the answer.

8753 · July 15, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Cravings may or may not mean anything but for me it does tend to mean I'm dehydrated or missing something in my diet. My hubby is thinking of getting me salt lick! lol.....![alt text][1]

0 · July 15, 2011 at 4:56 PM

because it's good

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