The Real Reason You're Craving Pickles

Who doesn't love a crispy, crunchy, salty pickle? According to Statista, in 2019, 4.67 million Americans consumed six (or more) jars of pickles. That's a lot of pickled cucumbers — many people clearly find they're delicious. Pickles and the vinegar-based brine they are packed in are loaded with goodness. Low in calories, according to Healthline, there are only around 8 calories in two small spears, along with around 600 mg sodium (which isn't insignificant — it's more than a quarter of most people's RDA). 

These tangy babies also contain a whopping 23 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin K which is needed to help your blood clot, along with anywhere from 21 to 24 percent of the daily amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A is required in your diet for a healthy immune system and good vision (via WebMD).

But what does it mean if you are constantly craving these crunchy favorites? While admitting to friends that you have a hankering for pickles gets many people thinking you might be pregnant — well, at least if you are female — that's generally not the case. In fact, if you find that a pickle is the only food that can satiate your appetite, it could actually mean there's something else going on between you and your taste buds. 

This is what your pickle craving might mean

A craving for pickles could simply mean you are dehydrated. When your electrolytes are out of whack, the salty nature of pickles and their beautiful green juice they call home can help alleviate this problem and restore the right balance back to your body. But the urge to eat pickles could also mean your body is lacking some other nutritional element and the pickles are providing it (via Healthline). However, the pickle's high sodium content has also led many experts to believe it may really be the addictive nature of salt that our body fancies that results in these cravings. Registered dietician Amy Shapiro told PureWow, "Research shows that salt, just like sugar, can be addictive and hit the areas of the brain that put out signals for cravings." 

Additionally, one study found that the craving for salty food like pickles could also signal a blood pressure disorder like hypotension. Lee Cotton, a registered dietician nutritionist told PureWow, "Research indicates that craving salt could be a symptom of a health condition such as adrenal insufficiency or Bartter's syndrome. It also could be a sign of dehydration or PMS." 

Cotton also said the most important thing to remember if you are experiencing such cravings and are concerned it might be something more than a fleeting food desire is to talk with your physician.