In 2000, during a pro football game being played in 109F heat, one team had a problem with dehydration and cramping, and the other didn’t and went on to win the game. The difference? The winning team drank pickle juice during the game.
Following that game, studies went on to be completed in order to test the “pickle juice theory”. It was found that pickle juice does, in fact, help prevent or relieve cramping. It actually was shown to relieve cramps 37 percent faster than drinking water! Definitely an eye-catching statistic.
Further research has been done on our reaction to different substances, and studies have found that pain may actually be more in our mind than in our body. After putting participants of one study on stationary bike and having them pedal away for 30 minutes, they were given a carb-laced energy drink to swish in their mouths. They didn’t even swallow the drink, yet their brains sent a message to their body that more energy was coming.
We have so many receptors in our mouths, that when we consume something it gives our body a heads up to what’s on the way. This may be the case with the pickle juice. Receptors in the mouth may have just sent a signal to the brain, which told our muscles to relax. Either that or it shocked the system and took the players’ minds off of the cramping. Sort of like when you have a pain somewhere on your body, if you press or provide pain to another part of the body, it will take away the pain in the original spot. Try this the next time you have a headache.
So whether the sodium in the pickle juice was helping with the cramping, or our brain was immediately triggered by one of the products in pickle juice, it’s definitely an interesting thing to think about. Maybe next time you go out for a long run, carry a pickle with you!
The body and mind works in amazing ways, doesn’t it? I’m not sure we will ever understand the full capability and power of our brains. The article was an interesting read though. If you are interested, here’s the link!