Can Sauerkraut help your gut health?
What is Sauerkraut?
Pronounced sow-er-krowt, it is thought to have originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and is a type of fermented cabbage with major health benefits.
Fermentation is one of the new buzz words when it comes to wellness and gut health and Sauerkraut is especially appreciated in Germany, where its name originates from.
Due to the fermentation process it undergoes, Sauerkraut offers nutrition and health benefits far beyond those of fresh cabbage, though fresh cabbage is also very good for you.
Vitamin C, B6, Iron, Folate and Potassium are just some of the nutrients to be found in Sauerkraut and you’ll be pleased to know it is also low in calories and high in fibre.
It is particularly nutritious because it undergoes fermentation, a process during which microorganisms on the cabbage digest its natural sugars and convert them into carbon dioxide and organic acids.
Sauerkraut fermentation creates conditions that promote the growth of beneficial probiotics, which are also found in products like yogurt and kefir.
The Sciencey Bit
Your gut is said to contain over 100 trillion microorganisms or "gut flora," which is more than 10 times the total number of cells in your body.
Unpasteurised Sauerkraut contain probiotics, and these are beneficial bacteria that act as the first line of defence against toxins and harmful bacteria.
They can also improve your digestion, gut and overall health.
Probiotics help improve the bacterial balance in your gut after it has been disturbed by the use of, for example, antibiotics.
Research* also shows that probiotics help reduce wind, diarrhoea, bloating, constipation and symptoms linked to Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Probiotics are bacteria that provide powerful health benefits, they can also help make foods more digestible, which increases your gut's ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Your Immune System
Sauerkraut is a source of what we call immune-boosting probiotics and nutrients.
Bacteria which populate your gut can have a strong influence on your immune system.
Adding probiotic foods like Sauerkraut may reduce your risk of developing infections, such as the common cold and urinary tract infections.
If you do become ill, regularly consuming probiotic-rich foods may help you recover faster.
In addition to being a source of probiotics, sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C and iron, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.
Your Brain Health
While your mood can affect what you eat, the reverse is also true: what you eat can affect your mood and brain function.
An increasing number of studies** are discovering an intimate connection between your gut and brain.
Probiotics have been found to help improve memory and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and more.
Sauerkraut may also maintain brain health by increasing your gut's absorption of mood-regulating minerals, including Zinc and Magnesium. More studies are being done to look into this connection.
Food is the best source of nutrition but it's not always easy to get the right stuff onto our plates.
Our probiotics also support your gut health and can be bought from our shop on this website.
And if you fancy making your own Sauerkraut, the BBC Good Food website has a recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/simple-sauerkraut
The Guardian also has some more recipes if you’re feeling adventurous : https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/07/pickle-ferment-recipes-six-of-the-best