Naturally fermented sauerkraut is a traditional preserved food made from shredded green cabbage. It is quite unlike other pickled products as the typical heat and refrigeration treatments are not utilized anywhere along the process of preserving and storing the vegetable. Instead, the main ingredient cabbage is cured by adding salt and lactobacilli and allowing the helpful bacteria to populate so as to bring about natural fermentation.
Though considered by many as just a humble relish or side dish, naturally fermented sauerkraut in fact packs a punch nutritionally.
Read further and learn more about the benefits of naturally fermented sauerkraut and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends this vegetable.
Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut Benefits:
The pickle’s main ingredient cabbage has abundant amounts of glucosinolates, organic compounds that are also found in other Brassica oleracea species of vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Glucosinolates, once ingested and digested, bring about indole-3 carbinol and its digestive breakdown product diindolylmethane or DIM. Glucosinates’ interaction with the enzyme myrosinase also make isothiocyanates available to the body. DIM and isothiocyanates have been found in both animal and human studies to be capable of multi-targeted prevention of certain cancers.
The results of the Polish Women’s Health Study confirm said benefits, particularly against the development of breast cancer. In the study, it was found that adolescents who had high intake of raw, short-cooked, or naturally fermented cabbage in the form of sauerkraut have been found to have lower breast cancer risk. Meanwhile, those who did not have said dish as staple were three times more likely to develop the disease. The DIM and isothiocyanates are touted in said study as the compounds responsible for this cancer-protective property of the vegetable.
Naturally fermented sauerkraut contains multiple types of lactic acid bacteria, all of which provide healthful benefits as well. For one, lacto-fermentation helps improve the value of food by breaking down indigestible compounds, thus making available nutrients that would have otherwise been unusable. For another, the ingested lactobacilli bacteria tend to outnumber the pathogenic bacteria present in the stomach and intestines, consequently resulting in the latter getting flushed out. This may be the reason naturally fermented sauerkraut has long been utilized as a home remedy for gastrointestinal maladies like diarrhea.
The healthful benefits of cabbage are retained during lacto-fermentation as well. In the case of vitamin C, for instance, much of this nutrient is preserved though it’s water-soluble. In fact, European sailors back then have been known to bring with them barrels of sauerkraut during their voyages to fight the once deadly vitamin C deficiency called scurvy.
Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut Practical Uses:
It is crucial to note that this variety of sauerkraut differs from most commercial versions which have gone through the process of pasteurization and subsequent refrigeration. The former is a process commonly utilized to ensure no microorganisms, including healthy lactobacilli bacteria, are present in the product. The latter, meanwhile, is usually employed to prolong shelf life.
If you are unable to find unpasteurized and unrefrigerated sauerkraut, you can easily make small batches at home. Cabbage is available throughout the year though it’s best to buy the vegetable in-season during late fall through winter. Buying in-season is cheaper and there’s a better chance of finding nutritionally superior organically grown cabbages, too.
Keep in mind crucial things when making sauerkraut at home. For one, ensure to sterilize the glass crock or glass jar as well as the utensils you’ll use. Also, the phytochemicals in this cruciferous vegetable react with carbon steel so make sure to use a stainless steel kitchen knife so that the cabbage won’t turn gray once shredded. Lastly, skimping on salt shouldn’t be done. Bear in mind that a minimum amount of salt, around three to four tablespoons per one regular-sized cabbage head, is necessary to inhibit pathogenic bacteria growth.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of naturally fermented pickles that will help you in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Bok Choy
Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:
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