Sauerkraut is a traditional German side dish that is made from cabbage and normally served alongside meat. It was originally made because the fermenting process that adds lactic acid bacteria to the cabbage prevents it from spoiling without refrigeration, so it was often given to sailors to prevent scurvy. It turns out that this is not the only disease that sauerkraut prevents, and modern scientific research supports the theory that the sauerkraut recipe is an important part of a healthy diet.
How is Sauerkraut Made?
The fermenting process that creates sauerkraut adds beneficial probiotics to the cabbage that keep it from spoiling and aid in many bodily functions. It can be made easily by chopping up a medium head of cabbage and massaging the cabbage with one and a half tablespoons of kosher salt. The salt will draw the water out of the cabbage after a few minutes of this process, and then the cabbage can be added to a mason jar. After it releases enough liquid to cover the top of the cabbage, the jar can be sealed and fermented for up to 10 days before being ready to eat. This process results in creating food with many health benefits.
How Does Sauerkraut Promote Weight Loss?
The fermentation process used to create sauerkraut results in beneficial probiotics which can alter the general gut bacteria in a person’s body. As many studies have shown, people who are lean tend to have different gut bacteria than obese people, and consuming fermented vegetables changes gut bacteria to make it more like the gut bacteria of a lean person. Researchers theorize that the probiotics in fermented foods and yogurt can aid weight loss by increasing metabolism through altered gut bacteria. Sauerkraut is also high fiber, low-calorie food, so it helps you to feel full and avoid cravings without consuming a lot of calories.
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Will Sauerkraut Lessen Heart Disease Risks?
Though sauerkraut does not have many calories, it is very high in fiber, and just one cup has over four grams of dietary fiber. Eating a diet high in fiber is one of the best ways to reduce heart disease risks, and studies have found that it lowers heart disease risks by up to 40 percent. The fiber in sauerkraut binds to harmful cholesterol particles and moves them through the digestive system before they can be absorbed and buildup in the veins. This prevents blockages in arteries that could otherwise cause heart attacks and other forms of heart disease.
Can Sauerkraut Prevent Cancer?
Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables all contain component that has been shown to reduce cancers. Cabbage contains isothiocyanate, glucosinolate, and indoles, which are all compounds with anti-cancer properties. Studies have found that these compounds can stop cancer cells from developing or even shrink cancerous tumors in lab animals with cancer. These compounds are activated when cruciferous vegetables are crushed, chewed, or cut, so sauerkraut has particularly high levels because the cabbage is shredded into tiny pieces. Cabbage also contains flavonoids that have a protective effect on the tissues of the body. Therefore, researchers have found that people who eat cruciferous vegetables have lower cancer rates in general.
Because of all of these health benefits, adding sauerkraut to your diet is an easy way to improve your health and lessen your chances of getting dangerous health conditions. It is extremely simple to make, so you can make it at home instead of buying versions with preservatives at the store. In addition to helping to fight diseases, sauerkraut is a tasty source of vitamins and minerals that will boost your nutritional health.