When you first think about preserved foods, the word ‘healthy’ doesn’t come to mind—as it is no longer fresh. However, when it comes to canned sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), there are beneficial probiotics (live bacteria) being produced during fermentation—the method of preserving food.
What is Sauerkraut?
Before learning more about the health benefits of sauerkraut, what exactly is sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is essentially finely sliced white cabbage that’s been fermented with a bacteria called lactobacillus. Though the process of fermentation, the lactic acid is converted from sugars in the cabbage and serve as a preservative.
Historically, home-canned sauerkraut has existed for about 2,000 years originating from the Mongols in the North of China. It was then later introduced to in Europe by migrating tribes. Today sauerkraut has become a staple in many households.
So, what are the health benefits of sauerkraut?
Research has shown that probiotics found in canned sauerkraut are beneficial to digestive health, ‘feeding’ good bacteria in your gut and combat inflammation. It was found that sauerkraut has helped in reducing gas, bloating and constipation.
Surprisingly, there has also been new research on the correlation between good gut bacteria and long-term physical health and mental health.
With so many promises canned sauerkraut offers to an individuals well-being, here’s a more in-depth lense into the many things sauerkraut can help you with.
Top Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
Improves Your Digestion
According to the Digestive System Research Unit’s study, your gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms or otherwise known as “gut flora,” they are the microorganisms that live in the digestive your tracts.
Canned sauerkraut’s probiotics can act as the first line of defence to combat against toxins and harmful bacteria, helping improve the bacterial balance in your gust after it’s been disturbed.
Therefore, maintaining a healthy gut flora helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and may even boost the production of natural antibodies.
Boosts Your Immune System
Sauerkraut is a rich source of immune-boosting probiotics and nutrients. As the bacteria in your gut can have a strong long-term effect on your immune system, the probiotics found in sauerkraut can help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, keeping your gut lining strong and healthy.
With a stronger gut lining, unwanted substances can be prevented from leaking into your body and causing an immune response.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of developing infection such as the common cold and urinary tract infections (UTIs), regular consumption of probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut is essential.
Another key nutrient home-canned sauerkraut posses are vitamin C and iron, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system. In fact, studies have also found that when you do end up sick, regular consumption of probiotic-rich food can help reduce your chance of needing antibiotics by 33%!
Helps You Shed Off the Weight
Keeping canned sauerkraut in your regular diet can help you not only lose weight but also keep it off. Like most vegetables, sauerkraut is low in calories and high in fibre.
Fibre keeps you fuller for a longer amount of time. And as a result, you will naturally reduce your caloric intake every day.
By adding sauerkraut to your diet you eventually see results in your weight loss journey without having to starve!
Positive Effect on Your Mental Health
As mentioned earlier in this article, there have been studies that have seen a close correlation between your gut and brain. Meaning to say, the healthier the gut the better the brain function.
According to research, there is a type of bacteria present in the gut that has the ability to send messages to your brain, having an effect on the way it functions and perceives the world.
Similar to the first point, sauerkraut has a positive effect on your gut’s well-being. Therefore, regular intake of probiotic-rich foods like canned sauerkraut can contribute to reducing the stress and other negative effects on the brain.
Additionally, another study has found that probiotics have been found to positively improve memory and lower mental-health-related symptoms like depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety.
To conclude, sauerkraut helps improve healthy gut flora and increase the absorption of mood-regulating minerals from your diet. Helping you gain a healthy balance of body and mind.
Helps You Maintain a Healthier Heart
Regular intake of priobiotic-rich foods like canned sauerkraut helps reduce cholesterol levels according to studies. As it was found that probiotics found in canned sauerkraut can lower blood pressure.
On the same note, canned sauerkraut posses one of the rarest plant sources of menaquinone, commonly known as vitamin K2.
The K2 vitamin has been believed to help reduce heart disease as it prevents calcium deposits from accumulating in the arteries. Regular intake of vitamin-K2-rich foods resulted in a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease over the 7–10 year study period, according to an experiment.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Canning Sauerkraut
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) non-iodized salt
- 1 medium green cabbage
- 2–3 carrots, shredded
- 2–3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Tips When Making Home-Canned Sauerkraut
- Use the freshest cabbage available.
- Make sure everything is clean
- Get rid of the air.
- Get the salt right
- Keep the temperature moderate (64-67 degrees)
With the number of positive health benefits home-canned sauerkraut offers, you can’t go wrong with adding it onto your regular diet. By adding sauerkraut to your life, you’ll only reap the benefits it offers!