Sauerkraut: A Superfood You Should Be Eating

The other day, I decided to make some raw, homemade sauerkraut, since it had been a while since I made any. It is one of the top foods I would recommend incorporating into your diet. 70% of your immune system lies in your gut so it is really important that we have the necessary bacteria present to fight off any pathogens that may enter our system.

Reasons I love using cabbage:
1) Unique cancer preventative properties with respect to bladder, colon and
prostate cancer.
2) Rich in antioxidants
3) Rich in anti-inflammatories

Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research in regards to cabbage. It is impressive in terms of antioxidants, which is partly responsible for its cancer prevention benefits. You can also count on cabbage to provide cardiovascular support in reducing cholesterol. The fiber in cabbage binds to bile acids and when this happens, your liver replaces the lost bile by drawing upon your existing supply of cholesterol, and as a result, cholesterol levels drop.

Given the outstanding benefits of cabbage, when you ferment it or any other vegetable it becomes a superfood. To gain the benefits from sauerkraut, it MUST be made the traditional way and consumed raw.

Apart from its deliciously tangy flavor, sauerkraut offers remarkable health benefits. The fiber and lactic acid bacteria improve digestion and promote the growth of healthy gut flora, protecting against many diseases. It is low in calories, rich in enzymes and high in vitamin C. Sauerkraut has 200 times more vitamin C than the head of cabbage before fermentation!

Lactic acid is one of the most powerful antiseptics. It kills off tons of bacteria… so as the lactic acid starts producing, it kills off the putrefactive and pathogenic microbes and preserves the food. Another bonus to eating sauerkraut, is that it is higher in B vitamins than cabbage, particularly B12, making it an excellent food for vegans and vegetarians. The lactic acid produced by the bacteria actually “digests” the food, making sauerkraut extremely easy to digest and making the nutrients present more easily absorbed by the body.

In a 4-6 ounce serving of fermented vegetables there are literally ten trillion bacteria. That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut has more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. This means one 16 ounce of sauerkraut is equal to 8 bottles of probiotics!

Finnish researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that the fermentation of cabbage produces compounds called isothiocyanates which protect against cancer.

So… if you’re feeling like you need a physical boost of wellbeing… TRY SOME! 🙂

Here’s a basic recipe I like to use to make sauerkraut:

You will need:
A large bowl
A glass jar
Cabbage
Kosher salt (the salt must not contain iodine, which inhibits bacterial growth)

To start, remove about 3 of the outer leaves and set aside.

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then slice the cabbage thinly. I like to use my mandolin.

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Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl, adding salt as you go. You want to use a tablespoon of salt (I like to use Celtic Salt) for every 2 pounds of cabbage (generally, a medium-sized cabbage)

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You can use a pounder to pound the cabbage but I like to use my hands and squeeze the cabbage to draw out the juice. You will see the cabbage become watery and limp.

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Pack the cabbage into the jar, pressing down on the cabbage with a wooden spoon while pouring the brine over the cabbage as you go.

Leave an inch or two of space from the top. Roll up the outer leaves that you set aside and place them on top of the sauerkraut to keep it submerged.

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Put the lid on the jar and place the container in a cool, dark place where it will not be disturbed.

Small batches can be finished in as little as 4 days. The time you want to ferment is up to you. I recommend at least 4 weeks for maximum probiotic benefit.

Once your sauerkraut is ready, store it in the refrigerator where it will last a very long time.

Enjoy!

Xo, Kristine

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