Sauerkraut is a tasty and nutritious dish made from cabbage that is fermented with salt. It is a popular food in Germany, and it is gaining a following in other countries too, particularly with people who follow the Paleo diet.
Sauerkraut contains a lot of fibre, as well as vitamins C and K. It is also rich in iron and is thought to offer some probiotic benefits. You can ferment your own cabbage to make this dish, or you can purchase it in pre-packed formats. However, the pre-packaged versions include low-sodium variations for those who have been advised to avoid sodium by their doctors.
Fermented cabbage includes a diverse range of bacteria, and these bacteria are primarily the good kind of bacteria that live in your gut. Replenishing this supply of bacteria can help to inhibit the growth of other, less desirable organisms, and can also boost your immune system. Some bacteria help to synthesize the B vitamins, and others can even help to relieve diarrhoea. You should be aware that you will only get those benefits if you purchase unpasteurized versions, or versions that have live bacteria added after the pasteurization process.
Cabbage is naturally high in soluble fibre. This fibre binds with fats and cholesterol and helps to carry them out of your body. This means that your overall blood cholesterol is reduced, and less fat is absorbed too, A single serving of this tasty side dish contains four grams of fibre, and women should aim to consume 25g of fibre per day, while men should aim for 38g of fibre a day.
Rich in Vitamins
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, while vitamin K is used in the blood-clotting process. Both of these vitamins are essential for healthy bones. In particular, vitamin K helps to produce the proteins that regulate the process by which calcium and phosphorus attach to collagen to create bones. Eating foods rich in vitamins C and K can help to prevent osteoporosis later in life.
High in Iron
People who follow the Paleo diet should not have to worry about eating enough iron, since grass-fed beef, spinach and other Paleo-friendly foods are rich in iron. However, it is always good to be aware of other rich sources of this essential mineral. Iron is essential for healthy circulation, and a deficiency in iron causes a condition known as anaemia, which is easily recognized because of the extreme fatigue that accompanies it.
Sauerkraut is doubly good for preventing anaemia because it is not only rich in iron ? it is also high in vitamin C and lactic acid, both of which help with the absorption of the iron.
Managing Your Sodium Intake
There is one potential downside to eating this food. A single cup contains 39% of your RDA of sodium. If you already eat a lot of high-salt foods, or season your food with salt, then you may end up consuming too much sodium if you add more fermented dishes to your diet.