Woman stretching in park

Rarely does a Pilates class go by where someone doesn’t get a toe or foot cramp, and sometimes a cramp in the calf or hamstring. While I don’t typically get leg and foot cramps anymore I do feel for people who have them because I used to get terrible Charley Horses in the middle of the night.

I always suggest that people curl their toes (flexing their feet) and stretch. And luckily that is the right advice, but I’d also always understood that dehydration played a role in cramping, although it turns out there is no evidence to prove that. Still, I don’t think recommending people go home and hydrate is necessarily the worst idea.

However, here is the cool thing… A recent research study at Brigham Young University found that pickle juice seems to reduce leg and foot cramps. But why? It might not be what you expect. I assumed it had something to do with the salt or vinegar in pickle juice. The researchers aren’t sure yet what about pickle juice can stop a cramp, but it happens so fast (before it could have gotten out of the stomach) that they think the juice must inhibit something else in the body from happening–perhaps a nerve from over firing and causing an exhausted muscle to cramp.

That means that cramping may be brought on by tired muscles. So next time you get a cramp take a break. Your body may need it, and it is being very clear about what it needs. Click here to read the full article in the New York Times.

So how much pickle juice do you need to reduce the cramping? I read in another article 1/3 cup of pickle juice should do the trick.