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As a result of the widespread digestion and immune system related issues taking over the public’s health, it has become increasingly important to consume foods that can help rectify these problematic issues. Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and are very anti-bacterial, parasitic, viral, and fungal should be coveted by anyone suffering from digestive or immune related issues. This is where sauerkraut reigns king, and the healing benefits are remarkable.
Nutritional Profile of Sauerkraut
The fermentation process used to make sauerkraut was developed centuries ago as a means to preserving vegetables for consumption through the winter months.
Historical evidence suggests labourers on the Great Wall of China consumed a version of this “pickled” cabbage dish 2,000 years ago. In the late 1770′s, Captain James Cook navigated the world without losing a sailor to scurvy, thanks to the foods his ship carried including sixty barrels of sauerkraut. The Roman army traveled with barrels of sauerkraut, using it to prevent intestinal infections among the troops during long excursions.
The fact that sauerkraut could be preserved for long trips and was inexpensive likely initially made it desirable to these groups of people. Add the fact that is a nutrient powerhouse, and it probably sealed the deal.
Sauerkraut is a high density source of many nutrients that are favourable to good health, including:
- An excellent source of vitamin C and K
- A good source of vitamin B1, B6, and B9
- A good source of minerals including manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron
- A great source of dietary fibre
- An exceptional source of live enzymes and probiotics
- An excellent source of antioxidants and phytonutrients
- Rich in indole-3-carbinol ( a known cancer fighter and xenoestrogen remover)
What makes the nutritional profile of sauerkraut even more impressive is the high bioavailability of the nutrients due to the already “pre-digested” state brought on by the fermentation process. This is especially important to those with compromised digestive systems.
Healing Action of Sauerkraut
Due to the heavy nutrient, probiotic, and enzyme content, sauerkraut has many healing actions that help extinguish inflammation and optimize the bacterial balance in the gut. These 2 actions alone create many healing benefits, including:
- Treating all kinds of gastrointestinal disorders, including Candida and IBS
- Prohibits the growth of cancer
- Helps relieve chronic fatigue
- Helps alleviate allergies
- Naturally relieves constipation
- Helps remove problematic bacteria and parasites
- Improve skin conditions
- Improves liver function
With digestion being the gateway to true health, it makes sense to include a digestive tonic like sauerkraut into your daily routine. It is one of the easiest foods to make, is simple to preserve, and gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of health benefits.
How to Use Sauerkraut in Your Diet
Sauerkraut is incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet as it works well with nearly all foods. Some great ways to include sauerkraut in your diet include:
- As a side to any meal that contains starch and/or animal protein
- Adding it to a salad, or as a side to a soup
- Putting it on your eggs
- As a topping for a hamburger
Whatever you decide to do with sauerkraut make it a daily staple to improve your digestion, which will dramatically improve your health and your life.
*Image of “sauerkraut with carrot” via Shutterstock