The Real Reason Pickle Cravings Are So Powerful

Just in case there were any doubts — and it's challenging for us to imagine why there would be — pickle cravings are real. Just about anyone who's ever experienced a pickle craving can attest to the fact that they are not solely a phenomenon among pregnant people. So, we asked holistic health and nutrition expert Piper Gibson of Regenerating Health to please explain to us, once and for all, what is the deal with pickle cravings, and why are they so gosh darn powerful? After all, as Gibson pointed out, apart from cucumbers, what are pickles other than salt, water and a bit of vinegar? Well, apparently, therein lies the rub.

As Gibson explained, even though you might think of briny, salty pickles as a food that makes you thirsty, the reality is that pickles are actually hydrating. Cucumbers are high in water content, and the fact that those cucumbers are pickled in a salty brine keeps helps keep those water levels high. That being said, Gibson also pointed out that there is more to the hydration power of pickles than just the presence of water. This may be the key to understanding the reason your pickle cravings are so intense.

You might actually be dehydrated

Hydration-rich pickles might be something you start craving when your body detects that you're in danger of heading toward dehydration, according to holistic health and nutrition expert Piper Gibson. Another reason that pickle cravings may be as powerful as they are is that these salty spears pack a significant sodium punch. The body needs sodium in order to help regulate fluid volume, which is why rehydrating drinks like Pedialyte also have it. As Gibson explained, "pickle cravings can signal that you are deficient in salt." But dehydration "may not be the only reason" for such a deficiency, Gibson made sure to point out.

According to Gibson, if you've been having powerful pickle cravings, it might be advisable to consider not only whether you might have a sodium deficiency, but also why that might be the case. For example, do you exercise heavily? That could be a factor. So could taking certain medications and certain medical conditions such as POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). "You will also want to consider if you have other symptoms that might indicate why you are craving pickles," Gibson advised. "Fatigue, weakness, and low blood pressure can also be signs of sodium imbalance and dehydration."