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Why Raw Sauerkraut is Healthier

December 4, 2020

Sauerkraut (“sour cabbage”) is a staple in Eastern European diets and is growing in popularity throughout the world. This dish was introduced long ago to preserve cabbage by mixing shredded cabbage with fresh salt and putting pressure on the mixture to release water, ultimately creating the right environment for fermentation. This process encourages the growth of  microbes or good bacteria, commonly known as probiotics.

Fast Facts About Raw Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a nutrition powerhouse, here’s some quick facts about one cup of raw kraut.

Difference Between Raw Sauerkraut and Canned Sauerkraut

Many may not know the difference between raw and canned sauerkraut, but there’s a big difference! Raw kraut has many health benefits, while on the other hand, canned kraut only has a few. Canned kraut goes through a unique heating process to sterilize  the cabbage, then is stuffed into glass jars. Raw kraut is fermented in containers and then transferred to a fridge to slow the fermentation process when it’s ready to eat. It must always be kept in the fridge because the probiotics from the fermentation process are still living and active. Canned kraut loses those healthy benefits during the heating process and produces a different taste and yellow-ish color. Raw kraut has a tangier taste, crunch, and more of a green, fresh color.

What’s in Raw Kraut

Raw sauerkraut has probiotics in it, which are really good for your digestive system.  Probiotic is a Greek word meaning “promoting life.”  Probiotics are microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed. These microorganisms feed the “good” bacteria in your gut to keep things movin and groovin in your digestive tract to keep you healthy. About 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, which means you want to consume things that promote gut health. Eating raw sauerkraut is one of the best ways to do this, and it also contains vitamins K, C & B, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, folate, iron, copper, manganese, and potassium.

Health Benefits

You only need to eat about a tablespoon a day of raw kraut to reap the benefits. Here’s a list of some of the best ones.

Help Improve Digestion

This is one of the most important benefits as raw sauerkraut is easy to digest and contains gut-helping probiotics. If you opt for sauerkraut over unfermented cabbage, it’s a lot easier on your stomach. Fermentation makes the digestive process easier on your stomach, by the time it hits your mouth  some of the digestion work is already done, according to registered dietitian Erica Ingraham, RND. Raw sauerkraut naturally contains enzymes that make the whole process easier. In addition, people with IBS may find that sauerkraut helps alleviate constipation, cramps, bloating or gas.

Improves Immune Function

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C, which is essential for supporting the immune system. One cup packs 21 milligrams of vitamin C. With this, consuming sauerkraut can reduce inflammation in the gut and alleviate allergies.  

Protects Cognitive Health

The gut and the brain are connected. By consuming probiotic foods it can help support brain health or memory and alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can help you handle stress and improve your mood.

Provides Antioxidants to Fight off Diseases

Both sauerkraut and cabbage are good sources of “glucosinolates and ascorbigen, which are cancer-fighting compounds,” Ingraham explained. “Sauerkraut and cabbage contain sulforaphane, a compound that may block HDAC enzymes, which is an enzyme class involved in cancer development. However, more research is needed to determine sauerkraut’s effect on cancer prevention.”

Crockpot Asian Inspired Ribs with Ginger BBQ Sauce and Spicy Sauerkraut

In this recipe we'll pull flavors from ginger, coriander and black cardamom to pair especially well with pork and spicy Gnar Gnar sauerkraut. The sauce itself is optional but adds another layer of sweet and tangy that is just as delicious!

Ingredients

Instructions

Ribs

Sauce

Sources

https://www.wellandgood.com/sauerkraut-benefits/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

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