Fermented foods are now widely accepted and acknowledged to be hugely beneficial to our health. It’s a great idea to include more in our diet. Sauerkraut is one of the most popular and easily accessible fermented foods out there. Lets look at Its amazing health benefits and How to Make it. Click here to download my Wild Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe.
It’s short and sweet this week at just a 3.5 minute read. Here’s a brief outline.
- What is Fermented Food
- Why Eat Sauerkraut
- How to get Sauerkraut into Your Diet.
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What is Fermented Food
Humans have been fermenting food as a method of preserving it for thousands of years. During the natural fermentation process microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria change carbohydrates like sugars and starches into acids or alcohol.
Common Fermented Foods
- Sauerkraut – A cabbage dish popular in Germany
- Kimchi- A cabbage dish from Korea and popular throughout Asia
- Butter – cultured dairy (for more click for my recent blog post)
- Yoghurt -cultured dairy
- Cheese – cultured dairy
- Kefir – a fermented drink often made with milk. (click for more)
- Kombucha – a fermented drink, (click to read more)
- Sourdough bread – made with natural yeasts
- Beer and Wine – are also popular fermented drinks
In this post I’m going to be concentrating on Sauerkraut:
- It’s incredibly healthy,
- It’s easily accessible and
- It’s something I make and eat personally on a regular basis.
Sauerkraut is popular in Germany and translates as Sour Cabbage
Kimchi is very similar to Sauerkraut with just two additions, a lot of raw garlic and a special chilli powder.(pictured below)
It’s the Asian version of Sauerkraut, or it’s probably more accurate to say Sauerkraut is the European version of Kimchi since Sour Cabbage is thought to have originated in Asia.
During Sauerkraut fermentation, the natural bacterias and yeasts present on the cabbage, the air around and the hands of the person making it convert the sugars present in the cabbage into lactic acid.
It’s this lactic acid that preserves the cabbage and gives the sauerkraut its funky flavour.
It also becomes a nutritional powerhouse.
Why Eat Sauerkraut
1. It tastes good.
Sauerkraut has a tangy, pungent taste. You would swear it’s in vinegar but it’s not. A basic sauerkraut has just 2 ingredients, cabbage and salt.
2. It’s very convenient.
I love having a jar of this stuff in my fridge. Once made it will keep for months. It doesn’t last long in my house!!!
I like to eat raw vegetables with my evening meal. If I have none left or Im in a hurry I always have my sauerkraut sitting ready made and waiting for me in the fridge I also just add it to my regular salad.
You need to eat just a little every day for maximum health benefits.
3. Its very healthy
1 cup of sauerkraut gives the following (taken from Healthline.com)
- Calories: 27
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Sodium: 39% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 35% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 23% of the RDI
- Iron: 12% of the RDI
- Manganese: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 7% of the RDI
For maximum health benefits you need to be eating wild fermented, raw, unpasteurised Sauerkraut.
‘Wild Fermented’ just means that ONLY the natural present yeasts and bacteria are used. Nothing is ADDED to start the process.
In addition to all the nutrients already present in a raw cabbage, Sauerkraut is also a great source of probiotics, friendly bacteria and enzymes all of which are good news for keeping our bodies in tip top condition.
The fermentation process increases the digestibility of all the nutrients of the food. This mean that the body is more able to use all the goodies it offers thereby increasing its nutritional value.
Sauerkraut delivers more nutrients than simple raw cabbage.
Sauerkraut promotes healthy gut flora. The link between a healthy gut and good overall health is now widely accepted.
A healthy gut is crucial for a healthy body.
I totally recommend this ground breaking book “Gut” by Giulia Enders. This is not a drearily boring rendition all about the gut, its surprisingly entertaining and full of jaw dropping information delivered in such a digestible (forgive the pun) format. I read/listened to it on Audible.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Although Sauerkraut may initially cause bloating and gas…
… it is actually thought to be helpful in relieving the symptoms of IBS.
Vitamin K2 – Healthy Heart and Bones
K2 is a vitamin that is quite hard to come by. Sauerkraut is a good source of Vitamin K2 which is only found in fermented foods and animal foods. It is thought to have vital health benefits including promoting good heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and Blood pressure.
Vitamin K2 is also know to support strong and healthy bones and teeth.
Click here to read more about the wonderful Vitamin K2.
Studies are increasingly showing a link between good gut health and good brain health. Click here for an article exploring this in greater detail.
The probiotics in Sauerkraut help give us a healthy gut
A healthy gut = A healthy Immune system.
The vitamin c and iron found in Sauerkraut also aid a stronger immune system.
Sauerkraut is high in fibre and low in calories. Making you feel full for very few calories.
There are some studies showing that the probiotics found in foods like Sauerkraut may aid in weight loss too. Click to read more.
Studies are showing that consuming Sauerkraut, cabbage and Sauerkraut juice may lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Heres a link to the results of one such study. published by the National Centre for Biotechnology.
How to get Sauerkraut into your diet
Most shop bought sauerkraut (and indeed fermented foods) are pasteurised, The pasteurisation process destroys most if not all of health benefits fermentation offers. Also beware of added sugars and other chemical nasties.
It may be possible to buy a good sauerkraut from specialist suppliers.
However making your own is sooo cheap and easy and is always going to be safer and more reliable, not to mention tastier too.
Make Your Own
Why not give making your own a go. I highly recommend it. Click here to download my Wild Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe.
This is one of those things that it’s much better to show you rather than tell you. I will be including a video recipe in my soon to be launched Healthy and Loving It online course.
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As always I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, questions below. If you have any questions regarding the recipe you can also pop these down below.