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The 3 Immune System Benefits of Sauerkraut

Posted by Meghan Wilson on
Bags of sauerkraut on a lunchbox in the snow

You may know that sauerkraut is a fermented food with centuries of rich cultural tradition, but did you also know that it can be a delicious, nutrient-packed way to boost your immune system?

More than just a dietary supplement, sauerkraut can benefit many facets of your health that contribute to proper immune function. 

From an enhanced microbiome to an improved gut-brain relationship and a strengthened immune response, this tasty fermented option can pack more than just great flavor.

For information on the positive powers of this tangy, crunchy, wonderful dish, read on for our Cleveland Kitchen Guide to The Immune System Benefits of Sauerkraut:

Enhanced Microbiome

According to research from the National Institute of Health (NIH), microorganisms (bacteria) in your gut are essential for regulating your microbiome and improving your body’s immune function.

So, how can we support our microbiome?

First, we can craft a diet built around healthful, nutritious foods that provide our body the tools it needs for optimal function.

Unsurprisingly, sauerkraut can play a pivotal role in this effort:

One cup of sauerkraut alone is chock full of nutrients that benefit our microbiome and immune functions, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Iron 
  • Potassium
  • This diverse mix of nutrients comes partly from the basic ingredients of sauerkraut (cabbage, garlic, healthy seeds, assorted vegetables, etc.) but also derives from the process of fermentation.

    Benefits of Fermentation

    The fermentation of sauerkraut relies on powerful bacteria that preserve its mixture of ingredients and “eat'' excess sugars and carbs. This process produces beneficial lactic acid and makes it easier for our body to use the many probiotics found in sauerkraut.

    This second function of fermentation is vital because probiotics play an important part in further developing robust, healthy bacteria that support our microbiome.

    Each time we consume probiotic-rich, fermented foods, our body and immune system receive several potential benefits:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Better Absorption of Vitamins and Minerals
  • Stronger Defense Against Harmful Bacteria
  • These positive effects can aid many parts of our body, but there’s likely no advantage more important than the contribution to our immune system.

    By adding foods like sauerkraut to our diet and increasing the presence of necessary bacteria in our microbiome, we can give our immune system the balance, support, and fuel it needs to function correctly.

    Healthy Gut-Brain Relationship

    Another potential benefit of sauerkraut is its positive impact on the connection between our gut (microbiome) and brain -- also known as the gut-brain axis.

    According to research from the NIH, the gut-brain axis is the system that connects our mind and microbiome through a complex series of communications.

    Surprisingly to many, our microbiome has a powerful, regulating influence on our brain’s emotional and cognitive functions in our daily lives.

    This role can play a positive or negative part in our general health -- depending on how we fuel our microbiome.

    When we supply our body with healthy foods and nutrients that provide our microbiome with beneficial bacteria, our body can readily receive several potential benefits:

  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Improved Cognition
  • Enhanced Stress Response
  • So, how can these benefits help our immune response?

    Reduced Stress

    In ensuring our microbiome is flush with the full array of microorganisms it needs to function at its best, we can positively harness the interactions between our gut and brain.

    Doing so can beneficially impact our neurological health and reduce our stress over the long term.

    As you may know, a reduction in stress is key to helping our immune system perform to its fullest potential, allowing our body to better fight off any invaders.

    Echoed by research from Harvard Medical School, the American Psychological Association, and the Cleveland Clinic, stress can weaken our immune system and reduce its ability to fight illness and disease that can cause us harm.

    So, while a dish of sauerkraut isn’t a guaranteed fix for any anxiety you may be dealing with, the nutrients and healthful bacteria found within it can help minimize the effects of stress -- therefore strengthening your immune system.

    Stronger Immune Response

    So we know that essential nutrients and bacteria in sauerkraut can improve gut health and support mental health, but did you also know it can boost your immune system when it’s already under attack?

    According to research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, healthy probiotics in fermented foods like sauerkraut can prime our immune system to better handle harmful infections. 

    In studies on illnesses ranging from the flu to the common cold, research shows that a diet high in beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus can help promote:

  • Proper Levels of White Blood Cells to Fight Viruses
  • Healthy Antibody Responses
  • More Comprehensive Ranges of Protection Against Illness

  • In addition to corresponding findings from the NIH, these studies help support the growing belief that probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can help establish a healthy immune system that benefits from a balanced microbiome.

    While many factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and other aspects of your diet play a massive role in boosting your immune system, many scientists encourage viewing your microbiome as a critical ally to your immune functions.

    A person holding tongs with sauerkraut in them

    Cleveland Kitchen’s Krauts

    Now that you know the potential health benefits of sauerkraut, it’s time to dive into the versatile flavor and serving options of this health-boosting fermented food.

    Here at Cleveland Kitchen, we take great pride in creating and fermenting a delicious, immune-system-friendly array of the best sauerkrauts to please any kind of food lover.

    Packed with gut-healthy probiotics and mouth-watering flavor, our krauts taste great straight out of the pouch or as the perfect addition to any number of snacks and meals. 

    Whether you want to add a tangy cabbage kick to your burger, a satisfying crunch to your salad, or check out any one of our many flavorful recipes, Cleveland Kitchen is your one-stop shop for the best krauts out there.

    Feel free to check out any of our seven spectacular flavors listed below -- or a Variety Pack if you can’t decide!

    Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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