Have you ever tasted sauerkraut? Familiar with the name but do not know what it is? Well, it is a fermented cabbage that is characterized by its sour taste. For years, it has remained as a popular condiment or side dish among several people and can also be added to hot dogs or sausages. Though this has remained in the popular culture for a significant time span, many are not familiar with its health benefits. If you are also among them, you may find it interesting to know that the vegetable comes with a host of health benefits, viz. better blood circulation, better digestion, heart health, more energy and better bone strength. It also helps in controlling cholesterol level, eliminating inflammation, maintaining better skin health, vision and might be useful in protecting against some sort of cancer.

Nutrition facts of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is known to be a rich source of different types of vitamins including A, B, C and K. It is also a rich source of protein, calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, manganese and iron.

Rich source of Vitamin C

Sauerkraut was considered to be a miracle food for sailors in the olden days and they always used to carry the same with them, as it was rich in vitamin C. It not only acted as a great food but also saved sailors from scurvy caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C.

A probiotic

Probiotics are created during the souring or fermentation process, which in turn acts as a source of good bacteria helping in digestion. It is always a good choice to take this vegetable after taking antibiotics, as it will help in restoring healthy bacteria.

Cancer prevention

Sauerkraut is a good choice for cancer prevention because of the three compounds mentioned below:

Isothiocyanate- known for its anti-cancer properties

Glucosinolate- known for activating natural antioxidant enzymes.

Flavonoids- helps in preventing narrowing of arteries.

Healthier and stronger heart

High fiber content of this vegetable helps in improving digestion. It also improves brain and heart health.

Some benefits of sauerkraut

  • Low arteriosclerosis risk
  • Low risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Checks bad cholesterol
  • Makes bones stronger

Minerals present in sauerkraut not only improve bone health but also help in preventing osteoporosis. Presence of vitamin K also boosts bone health and vitamins present in it help in maintaining the mineralization of bones.

Promotes weight loss

This type of fermented food gives a significant boost to metabolism, which in turn promotes weight loss. In a recent study it has been revealed that fermentation of cabbage helps in promoting inflammatory process and maintaining obesity as well as lipid metabolism.

Prepare sauerkraut on your own

Sauerkraut that is readily available is often removed of the beneficial bacteria. Therefore, it is better to prepare it at home and the best part is, it is pretty simple. Just follow some simple tips mentioned below and prepare your own sauerkraut. 

Basic Sauerkraut

Serving: 1 gallon

Time to prepare: 20 minutes

Time for fermentation: 1 to 6 months

Ingredients needed:

  • Unrefined sea salt- 2 tablespoons
  • Large green cabbages- a few

Directions for cooking:

  1. Start with coring the cabbage and shred off the remaining. Do it manually or with the help of a food processor.
  2. Put all the cabbage in a large sized bowl and add some salt to it. Now, get it kneaded with hands to break its cellular structure.
  3. Once the cabbage becomes limp and starts releasing juices, you need to get it packed in a sauerkraut crock or vegetable fermenter in a tight way. In case, you do not have one, you can use a glass jar and get it pounded with spoon made of wood.
  4. Pound it till the cabbage gets submerged in the liquid as fermentation would be possible once it gets below the liquid. Exposing the ferment to air would get it contaminated by molds, yeast or other microbes.
  5. Cover the container and keep it in room temperature for fermentation. Depending on your taste, you can keep it for 30 days to even six months.
  6. Test the fermentation after every two days and once you like it, you can store it in fridge for at least six months.