Food as Medicine: Sauerkraut

Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years. Fermentation made our food last longer and made it easier to digest, which in turn helped us stay healthier. Along the way, however, we also ended up creating foods that taste great and have excellent health benefits!

Sauerkraut is one of those great fermented wonders. It’s a superfood that’s full of vitamins, probiotics, enzymes, and other nutritional components, and has been connected to many health benefits including increased immune function, decreased heart disease, weight loss, and even cancer prevention.

Here at the clinic, we recommend it regularly for our patients with gut issues, and for those who just want to eat foods that are naturally high in probiotics. According to one study, sauerkraut was shown to contain up to 28 distinct bacterial strains. (When it comes to our digestive tracts, the more strains the better.)

Not all sauerkrauts are created equal. Many supermarket brands have been pasteurized and have added preservatives, which has the unfortunate side effect of killing all the beneficial bacteria–make sure you read the labels. You want a sauerkraut with 2 basic ingredients: cabbage and salt. Some will have added spices or other veggies added, like carrot, but make sure to avoid the brands with added sugars. The natural sugars in the cabbage itself are more than enough food for the little critters to do their magic.

We recommend Bubbies Sauerkraut all the time and it is delicious–you can find it here at the Pantry.

Want to make it yourself? It’s easy! All you really need is cabbage, salt and some time. Let Brad from Bon Appetite show you how.

Bubbies Sauerkraut available in the Pantry at StoneTree Clinic. Drop by anytime!

 

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