One of the most well-known foods in Germany, sauerkraut literally means “sour cabbage.” It refers to cabbage that has been thinly sliced and subjected to fermentation or pickling by the use of lactic acid bacteria. This concept of pickling green cabbage was actually invented by the Chinese who used it to supply nutritious food to the workers building the Great Wall of China. Later, this technique spread to Europe and sauerkraut health benefits have today made it a popular food in many parts of the world.
Why Sauerkraut is Beneficial?
Sauerkraut contains a lot of vitamin C from the cabbage and is a concentrated source of lactobacillus. Besides, it also contains vitamin K, vitamin B6 and folic acid, along with minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium. Although it is high in water and carbohydrates, the fat content in sauerkraut is very low.
Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
The unique combination of components is responsible for most of the sauerkraut health benefits that include increasing body resistance, aiding digestion and potential anticancer action.
Immune System Benefits : Sauerkraut is considered as an immune booster that helps people keep healthy and safe from conditions such as skin problems, cold and cough, weight gain and impure blood. All these sauerkraut health benefits are a result of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which are created during the fermentation process. This benefits of sauerkraut is known for centuries.
Digestive Benefits : Sauerkraut has a positive effect on the functioning of the digestive system and is believed to improve digestion, relieve constipation and cure stomach upsets. Most of these effects are a result of the lactobacilli it contains and the greater the concentration of these bacilli, more effective is the sauerkraut in treating digestive problems. When a person consumes sauerkraut, it leads to an increase in the healthy bacterial load of the intestinal tract, leading to better digestive processes.
Anticancer Benefits : Sauerkraut health benefits against cancer are fast gaining recognition in the medical field. Studies have shown that during the process of fermentation, the glucosinolates present in cabbage get degraded into the phytoconstituents called isothiocynates that have anticancer action in organs such as the liver, colon, lung and breast.
Benefits to heart : According to the reports by American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee, Sauerkraut contains flavonoids, a phytochemical which is known to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to Select and Store
Delicious Homemade Sauerkraut!
Commercially available varieties of sauerkraut may contain small quantities of vinegar to give the fermented smell. Some even go through a process of pasteurization to prevent microbial growth. As a result, they may have very low levels of lactobacilli. The best sauerkraut is therefore the one made at home.
When not to eat Sauerkraut
Some people who are not accustomed to consuming acidic foods may have a stomach upset when they begin consuming sauerkraut. The way out is to start with very small portions, and observe if your body gets adjusted to this food. If your digestion continues to be affected even after trying to introduce this food in small quantities, it is best to avoid taking it.
Although many people eat this food because they like the sour taste, the sauerkraut health benefits are so immense that you ought to make it a regular item on your menu.