Raw fermented sauerkraut is delicious, and good for us! Let’s talk sauerkraut benefits.
We’ve been enjoying sauerkraut benefits for a long time. It’s probably the fermented food we eat the most. Other fermented foods we really like are dill pickles, pickled beets, fermented cranberries, and cultured dairy.
I love how homemade fermented foods contain more beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements (source). They’re better at surviving the digestive system, and they are a fraction of the cost!
I show how to make sauerkraut here. If you’re interested in learning to ferment in a crock and are looking for one, I share my fermentation crock comparison here. Learn how to make sauerkraut in a crock here. If you want lots of ideas for what to eat with sauerkraut, get 38 ideas here.
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What is sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Fermentation was originally used as a method to keep food from spoiling.
Before refrigeration, people would harvest their cabbages at the end of the growing season, and then make them into fermented sauerkraut. This way, they would have vegetables to eat all winter.
Where did sauerkraut come from?
It is thought that fermented cabbage came from China over two thousand years ago. For many years, sauerkraut has been very popular in Germany.
Scurvy, which is vitamin C deficiency, was a common problem for sailors. On long voyages, sailors didn’t have fresh vegetables to eat, and became deficient in vitamin C.
Eventually sailors discovered that bringing sauerkraut along with them solved this problem. Sauerkraut is extremely rich in vitamin C. And, because it is fermented, it keeps well on long sea voyages. Dutch sailors first brought sauerkraut with them to the United States.
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Benefits of sauerkraut
Sauerkraut has more nutritional value and health benefits than fresh cabbage. Something about the fermentation process unlocks more nutrients and makes them more available for us. Here are some sauerkraut benefits:
- Is a source of vitamin C, K, and folate (source)
- Is easy to digest
- Improves digestion by adding beneficial bacteria
- Has more beneficial bacteria than yogurt
- Boost the immune system
- Reduces the risk of certain cancers
- Promotes heart health
- Promotes stronger bones
If you’re following the GAPS diet, fermented foods like sauerkraut are essential. They are one of the key things I used to overcome gut dysbiosis.
While on the GAPS diet, you will eat and drink many types of lacto fermented foods and beverages – and a lot of them! Because they add more “gut good guys” to your system, lacto fermented foods foods help turn the tide on gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut flora caused by too few beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Not only that, but lacto ferments are true superfoods in many other ways – Monca Corrado, The Complete Cooking Techniques for the GAPS Diet, page 118
Sauerkraut benefits FAQs
Here are answers to common questions when it comes to sauerkraut benefits.
Why is sauerkraut good for your stomach?
Sauerkraut boosts the body’s production of stomach acid, which helps with digestion. That makes it great to enjoy along with meat.
How much sauerkraut should you eat?
The short answer is, as much as you want! There’s no such thing as too much sauerkraut, unless you’re very new to eating it.
If you’re new to fermented foods, you’ll want to work your way up slowly, starting with a small amount. If you eat too much to fast, your body might go into detox mode, which can be uncomfortable.
Is it okay to eat sauerkraut every day?
Absolutely! If you’re already used to it, and you know your body does well with it, the more fermented foods, the better.
Is sauerkraut a superfood?
In my book it definitely is. It’s full of probiotics, full of vitamins and other nutrients, and has so many health benefits. For me, that makes it a superfood.
Does sauerkraut give you gas?
If you get gas after eating homemade sauerkraut, it means some die off is happening. That’s a good thing! This means that the beneficial bacteria in sauerkraut is doing its work of cleaning up.
If you get a lot of gas, you might want to reduce the amount of sauerkraut you’re eating for a bit until your body gets used to it.
Will sauerkraut make you poop?
It can! This is a very good thing. If you struggle with constipation, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, recommends sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice to help relieve constipation.
Is store bought sauerkraut good for you?
There are some brands of commercial sauerkraut that are raw and probiotic. However, these are still often lightly pasteurized. Homemade fermented sauerkraut will always be the best quality and have the most beneficial bacteria.
Where can I buy sauerkraut?
You can find raw probiotic sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of many health food stores. Many regular grocery stores are starting to carry it, too.
Just read the label to make sure it’s truly raw and doesn’t have any sugar or vinegar added. This is a good brand.
How do you make sauerkraut?
It’s one of the easiest homemade fermented foods there is! You shred or cut cabbage up finely, sprinkle salt on (1 TBSP per head of cabbage), pound the cabbage a bit to let the juices start to come out, and pack it into a jar. Don’t overfill the jar.
Add some filtered water and a cabbage leaf or fermentation weight to keep it submerged. Put a lid on, and let it sit out at room temperature for 5 – 7 days or longer, until you like the taste. Once it’s ready, keep it in the fridge or another cool, dark place. Check out my full sauerkraut recipe here.
If you’re in the market for some fermentation lids, check out my complete fermentation lid review and comparison here.
What should you eat with sauerkraut?
Any meat is tasty with sauerkraut. Pork is especially good. We have it with eggs and bacon or sausage in the morning, mixed into salads and sandwiches for lunch, and alongside our main dish at dinner. It’s good with so many things!
What is the best sauerkraut for probiotics?
Homemade fermented sauerkraut will always have the most beneficial probiotic bacteria. Raw sauerkraut from the store has some, but homemade is always best.
What are the benefits of sauerkraut juice?
Sauerkraut benefits extend beyond just the fermented cabbage itself. The liquid brine, or juice, has some amazing benefits as well.
It contains all the beneficial bacteria that sauerkraut does, but without fiber. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, says this can be very helpful for anyone with an irritated, leaky gut.
Sauerkraut juice is also a great electrolyte drink or pick me up. Dr. Becky Plotner, author of GAPS, Stage by Stage, with Recipes says that drinking a glass of sauerkraut juice when you feel a cold or flu coming on will stop the illness in its tracks.
More on fermented foods
Do you enjoy sauerkraut?
What do you like to eat with it? Have you noticed any benefits from eating it?
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The information in this blog post is my personal experience and opinion. It is for general information purposes only, that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own physician’s medical care or advice. Always seek advice from your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding nutrition, medical conditions, and advice. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on this blog.