How Eating Pickles Could Help You Recover From A Hangover

Ah, hangovers — the pesky aftereffect of drinking alcohol that can make last night's memories mucky with splitting headaches, bouts of nausea, and a general inability to function (via National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). Though they can make some of us want to swear off booze for good, hangover days are also often spent skimming the internet for magical food cures. 

Among them, Brits swear by a full English breakfast, Mexicans vouch for the powers of chilaquiles, Chinese munch on congee rice porridge, and Canadians fancy some poutine, according to Travel and Leisure. Elsewhere, some alcohol enthusiasts think that the best way through an alcohol-induced hangover is to drink more alcohol — a method famously known as hair of the dog (via Healthline).

If more alcohol is out of the question, and whipping up a hangover-curing breakfast is too much effort, there is another simple and handy solution that may help ease a hangover: good ol' pickle juice. My Recipes reports that alcohol causes dehydration, of course, but it also dips the sodium levels in your body. Because salt helps with nausea, salty electrolyte-packed pickles and pickle juice can be great hangover cures. But does science back up this theory?

Scientific evidence of the pickle cure is murky

Healthline explains that electrolyte levels do dip in your body because drinking excessive alcohol leads to dehydration and increased urine production, causing you to run to the loo much more often while ingesting cocktails. This is where pickle juice comes in. The brine has high sodium and potassium levels (which are electrolytes) that are thought to help with dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and its consequent hangover symptoms.

The site, however, stresses that there is little research and evidence to turn this pickle juice theory into a science-backed hangover cure. Small scale research conducted so far indicates that pickle juice does nothing to increase electrolytes in a hungover body and larger studies are needed to substantiate the claim.

What pickle juice can do, though, is cause more harm than good. A mere 2 tablespoons of the brine can contain as much as 230 milligrams of sodium. If you're not careful, drinking too much of it can cause a dangerous spike in your body's sodium level, which comes with its own set of health issues. If you do unquestioningly believe in the powers of pickle juice, Healthline recommends no more than 2-3 tablespoons. 

So, while some swear by the healing power of pickle juice, it might be better to stick to water instead.