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Why you should pack pickles for your next outdoor adventure

  • May 16, 2016

An experienced hiker never hits the trail without the right gear, like the Pro Trek PRW3500T-7 watch with triple sensor technology and a water bottle, but new research suggests that a common food item may be worth bringing on your next excursion. Pickles, and more specifically pickle juice, are great for staying hydrated and fueled while out on the trail.

Things like heat exhaustion, dehydration or even just cramping can be a serious peril during a hiking trip, and as it turns out, pickle juice is perfect for treating all of these conditions.

Cramping
In a study published by the National Institute of Health, it was found that individuals that were given pickle juice experienced cramps that were almost one minute shorter than those who drank regular water. 

The site Active.com stated that pickles are so helpful for preventing cramps because the fluids and sodium are natural agents that inhibit cramping. It is also believed that the vinegar found in pickle juice is a major contributor to these findings. 

Vinegar seems to trigger the brain to relax and stop contracting. The source explained that this sets in almost immediately after the vinegar reaches a person's tongue receptors. Even just a small sip of pickle juice can help minimize or eliminated cramping.

More serious conditions
Section Hiker found that pickle juice may be beneficial in helping protect against other serious issues that may occur while exploring the great outdoors. Aside from alleviating cramps, pickle juice can replace salt and electrolytes that are otherwise lost when sweating. 

Heat exhaustion can set in when the body is depleted of these resources, and lead to weakness, dizziness, confusion, nausea or fainting. Heat stroke - also known as sunstroke - is another serious condition that can affect an individual who is dehydrated, and requires immediate medical treatment. Section Hiker reported that symptoms like a throbbing headache, shallow breathing or confusion should not be ignored. Sunstroke may even result in unconsciousness.

Not only can pickles provide important hydration, sodium and electrolytes, but because vinegar is essentially acetic acid, pickle juice can be important in giving the body the right tools to metabolize carbohydrates and fat. Energy in the form of ATP - a naturally occurring molecule that powers the body - is provided to the cells. Staying hydrated and well-fueled is critical while out on the trail. The body needs the right resources to fight against heat exhaustion and other conditions, and pickle juice is a wonderful agent in that pursuit.