Q:

Why do I crave pickle juice?

A:

Pickle juice cravings may stem from too much salt being excreted from the body, triggering an increase in salt intake. Pickle juice is also a common food craving during pregnancy.

Pickle juice is imbibed as a hangover cure, post-workout drink, PMS remedy and heartburn treatment. The salt and vinegar in pickle juice alleviate cramps, replenish sodium and electrolytes, and curb salt cravings.

While it may be true that pickle juice cravings have a biological source, in general, food cravings are more psychological and emotional. Food cravings develop as a response to stress or emotional distress. Even pregnancy food cravings fall under a similar umbrella, especially since most evidence is anecdotal rather than scientific, and almost no studies link food cravings with nutritional deficiencies. However, craving nonfood items, such as coffee grounds, ice or dirt, is usually an indicator of a severe nutritional deficiency.

To manage food cravings, people should typically indulge in moderation and maintain a balanced diet. People battling food cravings should start the day with breakfast, exercise, manage stress and break meals into smaller, more frequent portions. Sprinkling meals and snacks throughout the day can prevent hunger from worsening and leading to binge eating. Finding non-food-related methods of nurturing and pampering aids relaxation and helps manage stress.

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