Sauerkraut means “sour cabbage” in German. It is fermented cabbage that contains plenty of probiotic bacteria and large amounts of vitamin C, as well as vitamin K, B6, folic acid, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium.
As we all know, sauerkraut it is a great accompaniment to hot dogs, sausages and other meats, and a delicious ingredient of many main and side dishes.
But besides being so tasty, there are also many health benefits of sauerkraut that are absolutely worth mentioning! Some of the most important ones are listed below:
1. Digestive Benefits
Sauerkraut improves digestion, promotes the growth of healthy gut flora, relieves constipation, reduces irritable bowel syndrome and protects the digestive tract against many potential diseases.
Sauerkraut is a fermented food that has a large variety of lactic acid strains of probiotics, which help restore beneficial bacteria levels in the digestive tract. It is one of the few foods that contain Lactobacilli plantarum that has the ability to maintain health of the gastrointestinal tract, enhance the immune system functions, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the digestive system.
The lactic acid found in sauerkraut helps break down food more easily, and thereby acts as an excellent digestive aid.
2. Immune System Booster
One of the great health benefits of sauerkraut lies in its capacity to boost the immune system. It is packed with vitamin C and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, as well as important phytochemicals created during the fermentation process. All these compounds help keep diseases at bay, while reducing many health problems, such as skin disorders, flues and colds, weight gain and tainted blood.
Sauerkraut immune boosting properties are also due to its ability to help beneficial bacteria colonize the intestinal flora. A healthy intestinal flora may prevent many illnesses and diseases, while the over-population of unfriendly bacteria may lead to serious health conditions.
3. Cancer Prevention
Cabbage contains potent antioxidants called glucosinolates, which give cabbage its pungent and strong flavor and smell. During the fermentation process of the sauerkraut, these antioxidant phytochemicalas convert into isothiocynates, which are compounds that have great anticancer effects.
These compounds can prevent and inhibit cancer cell growth, eliminate carcinogens and reduce the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as liver, colon, lung and breast cancer.
4. High Vitamin C Content
Another great health benefit of sauerkraut lies in its high vitamin C content. Consuming sauerkraut on a regular basis may help boost the immune system and prevent many diseases. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays an important role in many physical functions.
It reactivates other antioxidants (such as vitamin E), and is essential for the formation of collagen, which is important for the growth and repair of body-tissue cells. Vitamin C helps maintain healthy gums, muscles, blood vessels, bones and teeth, and promotes good brain functioning.
Vitamin C also helps transform cholesterol into bile acids, and protects the body against free radicals.
5. Heart Health
Sauerkraut contains phytochemicals known as flavonoids, which have the capacity to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, and thereby reduce the risk of many heart diseases.
- 1 cup of sauerkraut contains 32 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and no cholesterol and no fat.
- It is a good source of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and folate.
- It contains important minerals like calcium, magnesium iron, potassium, copper and manganese.
If you are a sauerkraut lover, please leave a comment below and let us know if we have missed anything that you consider important. Share your tips with us!
4 thoughts on 5 Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
The benefits of sauerkraut are amazing. My concern is that no mention was made of the type of saurekraut you were using. I was always under the impression raw, organic sauerkraut brought the most benefit over pasturized sauerkraut in the deli case. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Great article.
Yes raw un Pasturized is best. The vikings would have raw saurkraut on their ships for a reason it prevented scurvy a C vitamin deficiency.
Why buy it when it’s so easy to make? Cabbage, salt, and time are all you need.
I started making my own sauerkraut about 6 months ago. It is so delicious and very crunchy compared to the cooked, processed, limp stuff you buy in the store. My wife, who hates the store bought processed stuff, loves my homemade kraut. I use caraway seeds and crushed juniper berries to season. I will never go back!