Most people believe that yogurt is the only food which contains ‘good bacteria’ so it really is quite surprising to learn that sauerkraut, the popular German side for most dishes, is teeming with probiotics as well. Not a lot of people are very fond of this with its odd salty and sour taste. Since the presence of probiotics in sauerkraut is scientifically proven, it would be beneficial for us all to include this in our diet.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics is derived from two Greek words which literally mean ‘for life’. United Nations health experts defined these as live microorganisms added to food stuff which will make it beneficial to one’s overall health.
When people hear the word ‘microorganisms’, they immediately think ‘bacteria’ – the bad sort which causes disease. But there are bacteria normally found in the body (also known as the normal flora). Often, these are the first barrier against health problems since good bacteria maintains the balance within the body.
A Short History of Sauerkraut
How It’s Done and Why It is Said to be Good for You
Sauerkraut is made by fermenting cabbages, very much like how pickles and the Korean kimchi is done. This is simply prepared by slicing cabbage leaves into thin strips, mixing in salt, kneading it all together and then placing it inside a tightly-closed jar for three days to a few weeks.
A long time ago, in the age when refrigerators were not yet invented, fermentation was a type of food preparation done to ensure that there would be vegetables to be eaten during the winter. Sauerkraut was served to sailors on ships and to soldiers during long campaigns when there were wars. Besides making their daily fare more flavorful, expected diseases like scurvy and digestive problems were practically non-existent. Soon, because of Sauerkraut Benefits, large crates of sauerkraut became a must-have during long trips.
Probiotics in Sauerkraut
Not a lot of people know that cabbage, on its own, is veritable trove of health treasure. It contains compounds called isothiocyanates which are tough Cancer fighters. Once it is made into sauerkraut, it gains more ‘health powers’, so to say.
First of all, it contains Vitamin C which is prevents numerous diseases like colds and Influenza. Nutritionists also say that this is quite high in Vitamin A as well. It also has lactobacilli, a friendly bacteria which can be normally found in our gut and the gastro-intestinal tract. This good bacteria prevents all sorts of inflammation since it combats parasites and yeasts in the region. Some researchers have even found that it arrests the development of cancer tumors in the area.
Sauerkraut and Other Fermented Foods
Finding probiotics in sauerkraut is very good news. But these amazing microorganisms aren’t found only in sauerkraut. A lot of fermented foods actually contain these good bacteria as well. As mentioned earlier, the Korean Kimchi (very much like sauerkraut but more spicy) is also an example. Kombucha and Kefir are also abundant in probiotics.
Those who love sauerkrauts in their hot dogs and sausages are quite lucky since they are already getting their share of the wonderful benefits of probiotics. For individuals who have not tried this yet, it would be a very good idea to start munching on this extremely healthy food. Just make sure it’s raw sauerkraut.