Surprising Health Benefits of Pickles

There’s nothing like the crunch of a pickle on a good burger, but does the cookout staple offer any health benefits? A registered dietitian weighs in.

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CLEVELAND - There’s nothing like the crunch of a pickle on a good burger, but does the cookout staple have any health benefits?

“When it comes to the health benefits of pickles, it depends on the kind of pickle as well as the consumer,” explained Beth Czerwony, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic. “It's important to be mindful of any health conditions to determine how healthy pickles are for you, or how often you can consume them. The type of pickle that you like will also determine the health benefits.”

Czerwony said pickles generally offer fiber, antioxidants as well as vitamins to support eye and heart health.

Fermented pickles, specifically, are a good source of probiotics, which are helpful for gut health.

Pickles are also often low in calories, but it’s important to remember that sweet pickles tend to have added sugar while dill pickles are high in sodium.

Aside from the pickle itself, Czerwony adds the juice can have other benefits because of the electrolytes.

“We've seen some people resolve cramping in their legs with a shot of pickle juice. Athletes will also often use pickle juice as an electrolyte replacement if they're not using an oral rehydration solution,” Czerwony said.

Although pickles have some health benefits, Czerwony said it’s important to read the label on your go-to jar.

You want to keep an eye on the amount of sugar and salt, especially for those with health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

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Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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