What is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage and has been popular throughout Central Europe for hundreds of years. Sauerkraut is a combination of one the healthiest foods there is (cabbage) and one of the most beneficial and time-honored food preparation techniques ever used (fermentation).
Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes. It’s also a good source of natural lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacillus. Sauerkraut juice has been studied to benefit digestive issues like leaky gut, diarrhea and constipation, and is also effective at helping you kick a cold fast.
Sauerkraut is very low-calorie, but as you can see it’s an anti-inflammatory food and is packed with benefits. Besides having probiotics to offer, sauerkraut is a good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber, thanks to its main ingredient: cabbage. Even eating a small amount daily — just several tablespoons — provides a great source of nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and phosphorus — and, of course, probiotics. As an added bonus, the proliferation of microorganisms in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases absorption of their various nutrients.
The Institute for Integrative Medicine at the University of Witten in Germany says that sauerkraut is one of the most common and oldest forms of preserving cabbage and can be traced back as an important food source to the fourth century B.C. (1)
What Are the Effects of Sauerkraut’s Probiotics?
First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active probiotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body too.
A 2006 report published in The Journal of Applied Microbiology states that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include: (5)
- Reduced overall inflammation (both in and out of the GI tract)
- Improvement of digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, IBS and pouchitis
- Improved immunity
- Better nutrient absorption
- Prevention and treatment of diarrhea
- Prevention and symptom reduction of food allergies, including lactose intolerance, milk protein allergy and others
- Improvement of high blood pressure
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Alleviation of arthritis inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis and chronic juvenile arthritis)
- Reduction of eczema symptoms
- Lowered cholesterol
- Protection against H. pylori infection
- Improved vaginal health and prevention of bacterial infections like UTIs and bacterial vaginosis
- Natural remedy for the liver/brain disease hepatic encephalopathy