Top 5 Health Benefits of Sauerkraut!

As we have seen with kimchi, fermented foods date back a long way. It seems that the Romans already mentioned preserving turnips and cabbage with salt. Sauerkraut originated from China and was then “exported” to Europe, some claim, by the Tartars who changed the original recipe a bit by substituting rice wine with salt. Others claim it was the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan who brought it to Europe. Sauerkraut is very popular in Eastern and Central Europe and in countries such as France (know there as ‘choucroute’) and the Netherlands (as zuurkool). With the history and culture squared away, let’s get into these Top 5 Health Benefits of Sauerkraut!

1. Promotes digestion
Thanks to the production of good bacteria and probiotics generated during the fermentation process, sauerkraut helps to keep your gut healthy. It’s a very good source of fibre which helps to smooth out and regulate your bowel movements. Since it regulates the digestive system, it may well aid in the prevention of illnesses such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s disease, cancer of the colon and gastric ulcers.

2. Cholesterol-lowering
Being a lacto-fermented food thereby rich in probiotics, it appears to help in reducing LDL cholesterol levels, which could in turn prevent heart attack, strokes, atherosclerosis and other serious cardiovascular issues.

3. Iron power!
It’s suggested that its high iron content might improve and prevent conditions of anemia and work as an energy booster by increasing the oxygenation of your organs, blood circulation and metabolism. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, C and K and minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate and manganese).

4. Brain ally
The many potent probiotics contained in sauerkraut, indicate that it might help improve your mood as well as bring relief from social anxiety and stress. According to some academic research, foods rich in probiotics, like sauerkraut, may also help in preventing conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), autism and depression.

5. Promotes excellent skin and eye health
Vitamin A, lutein, and carotenes present in sauerkraut make it an excellent antioxidant, preventing damage caused by free radicals. It has also been linked to the improvement of ocular, or eye health (from the vitamin A contained), the reduction of cataract formation and macular degeneration. An extra benefit of vitamin A is that it slows down the effect of aging by reducing the appearance of blemishes, fine lines and wrinkles.

Interestingly, it seems that Captain James Cook, the British explorer, always brought and stored some sauerkraut on his sea voyages to prevent scurvy! Love sauerkraut and fermented foods -been taking them a long time? What health improvements have you noticed? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these articles on apple cider vinegar, kefir and kombucha to Keep YOUR probioFIT on – for life!)

Patrizia Carbone

Patrizia has major interests in food, travelling, and health. She was born in Italy, Genoa but soon discovered her passion for living in different countries. She's lived so far in Spain, France, UK, China, and Colombia; although her soft spot is for South East Asia. At the moment she's experimenting with cooking/baking sugar-free cakes and biscuits and she'll soon be starting a Ph.D.

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