Sauerkraut is a highly nutritious, probiotic-rich food, and you are recommended to eat about a tablespoon or 10 grams per day. You may gradually increase the intake of sauerkraut up to six tablespoons or 60 grams per day if you are comfortable. However, you are recommended not to overconsume.
To benefit from consuming sauerkraut, you are recommended to maintain the consistency of quantity and consume it regularly. Sauerkraut can be eaten at any time of the day but consuming it early in the morning is considered the best time.
What is sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut, which roughly means “sour cabbage,” is fermented cabbage with salt and spices, giving it a somewhat sour flavor. It is a popular dish in Germany and other European countries, but its roots originate from China. Sauerkraut is commonly served as a side dish or as a condiment with sausages or hot dogs.
- Sauerkraut is made from fresh cabbage, which is fermented in salt brine for several months.
- Bacteria and yeast cells, which are naturally present in organically produced cabbages, will break down the carbohydrates in the cabbage and generate lactic acid during the fermentation stage. The fermentation process is similar to that of kimchi or pickles.
- Heat is not used because it kills the bacteria that allow the fermentation to occur.
The fermented cabbage, which contains lactic acid produced during the fermentation process, has a sour flavor. It is a popular probiotic meal that contains lactic acid, tyramines, vitamins, and minerals.
Store-bought vs. homemade sauerkraut
The taste of sauerkraut is mostly sour and salty, but it may have an additional sweet or spicy taste depending on the recipe.
You can consume both homemade and store-bought sauerkraut. However, store-bought sauerkraut is regarded as less healthy than homemade sauerkraut because of the processing. Most store-bought sauerkraut variants are pasteurized during the canning process, which destroys any active probiotic content.
Nutritional content of sauerkraut
|Calories||19 per 100 grams of serving|
|Carbohydrates||4.9 grams, 2 percent of the daily value (DV)|
|Sodium||661 mg, 28 percent of DV|
|Dietary fiber||2.9 grams, 12 percent of DV|
|Protein||0.9 grams, 2 percent of DV|
|Total fat||0.1 grams, 0 percent of DV|
|Saturated fat||0.0 grams, 0 percent of DV|
|Polyunsaturated fat||0.1 grams|
|Vitamin A||18.0 IU, 0 percent of DV|
|Vitamin C||14.7 mg, 24 percent of DV|
|Vitamin K||13.0 mcg, 16 percent of DV|
|Calcium||30.0 mg, 3 percent of DV|
|Iron||1.5 mcg, 8 percent of DV|
|Potassium||170 mg, 5 percent of DV|
|Magnesium||13.0 mg, 3 percent of DV|
|Zinc||0.2 mg, 1 percent of DV|
9 health benefits of sauerkraut
- Improves gut health
- Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics that promote digestion, absorption of vitamins and minerals, and prevent constipation. Sudden intake or excess consumption of sauerkraut may lead to diarrhea. However, with daily consumption, your body gets accustomed to it and gradually diarrhea is prevented. Sauerkraut is believed to reduce the flare-ups of inflammatory bowel syndrome.
- Boosts immunity
- Sauerkraut has been scientifically proven to have immune-boosting qualities. Creating equilibrium inside your gut results in a healthy gut lining, which allows the development of natural antibodies that keep your body secure and protected. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Protects the brain
- Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that protect the body from dangerous bacteria and poisons. These beneficial bacteria connect with the brain processes and have been shown to boost memory and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
- Reduces calorie intake
- Sauerkraut is low in calories and high in fiber. The high fiber content in sauerkraut keeps you fuller for longer, potentially allowing you to lower your daily calorie consumption as a diet aid.
- Improves liver health
- The probiotics and vitamins in the sauerkraut help remove toxins from the liver and regenerate new, healthy liver cells.
- Improves bone health
- Sauerkraut may be beneficial to the bones. A controlled study found that vitamin K is vital to maintaining the strength and integrity of your bones. Vitamin K helps remineralize the bone and delay the onset of age-related bone problems in menopausal women.
- Prevents diseases
- Sauerkraut can help reduce the risk of various diseases in the body, such as bladder diseases, liver issues, and skin problems, so it is regarded as a superfood.
- Reduces risk of cancer
- Fermented foods contain cancer-fighting chemicals. Consumption of foods, such as sauerkraut and other fermented foods, such as kimchi and kefir, may prevent DNA damage, excessive cell production, and cell mutations to some extent.
- Improves overall health
- Because sauerkraut is high in folate, it has a variety of health advantages. It is healthy for the gum health. Furthermore, the risk of heart disease and stroke is reduced. Folate is required for cell division and DNA creation. The anti-inflammatory properties of sauerkraut and its vitamins benefit overall health.
Risks of sauerkraut
Even though sauerkraut has various benefits, its consumption should be limited and even avoided in people with certain disorders.
High salt content
- Sauerkraut is fermented in salt brine, so the sodium content in sauerkraut is quite high.
- High sodium levels in the body increase blood pressure and the risk of unwanted cardiovascular and renal issues.
- If you suffer from any diseases, you are recommended to take your doctor’s advice before consuming sauerkraut.
6 other side effects of sauerkraut
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Raak C, Ostermann T, Boehm K, Molsberger F. Regular consumption of sauerkraut and its effect on human health: a bibliometric analysis. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014;3(6):12-18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268643/
WebMD. Health Benefits of Sauerkraut. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-sauerkraut
Nutrition Data. Sauerkraut, canned, solids and liquids Nutrition Facts & Calories. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2614/2
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