Read on to learn about the many health benefits of sauerkraut and why it deserves a spot on your diet.
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In this article:
- Sauerkraut Is Rich in Fiber
- It Is Rich in Probiotics
- It May Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Sauerkraut Supports Healthy Liver Function
- It Is a Good Source of Vitamin K
- Sauerkraut Also Contains Vitamin A
- It Also Provides Iron and Folate
- Sauerkraut Promotes a Healthy Immune System
- It May Encourage Weight Loss
Health Benefits of Sauerkraut: How This Fermented Food Is Great for Your Body and Gut
1. Sauerkraut Is Rich in Fiber
One of the primary benefits of sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is its fiber content. A cup of it already contains around 4 grams.
For comparison, it’s like eating:
- A cup of broccoli, which has 5 grams of fiber
- A medium-sized apple, which contains 5.5 grams of fiber
- A cup of bran, which has about 5 grams of fiber
- A medium-sized banana, which contains 3 grams of fiber
Dietary fiber is an essential component of your diet. Some of the benefits of fiber include:
- Making you feel full, so you don’t overeat
- Helping you maintain or lose weight
- Lowering your cholesterol levels
- Controlling your glucose or blood sugar levels
2. It Is Rich in Probiotics
Sauerkraut also promotes better digestive health with its probiotic content. Why does this matter?
The heart of your digestive tract is a community of microbes called the microbiome. It is a community of viruses, bacteria, and fungi that all exist together to regulate many functions of your body.
Ideally, they should live harmoniously. Sometimes, though, your digestive health experiences an imbalance.
It may be due to:
- Poor immune system
- Bad diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Exposure to environmental pollution
- Chemical exposure
What happens is bad microbes can outgrow and overpower the good ones. Any imbalance may also result in dysregulation in the production of much-needed substances like enzymes.
3. It May Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
One of the proven sauerkraut health benefits (at least in a small study) is its ability to manage symptoms of IBS.
IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It refers to a cluster of symptoms that manifest in the gut such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in the bowel movement
- Bloating and gas
- Food intolerance or food sensitivity
- Increased frequency or manifestation of new allergies
A 2018 study in Food & Function revealed that sauerkraut may help ease these symptoms because of lactic acid bacteria. These are the microbes present in fermentation, creating the food’s tangy taste.
The study was double-blind and placebo-controlled. The researchers worked with 34 Norwegians with IBS.
They divided them into groups. Some individuals consumed either pasteurized or non-pasteurized sauerkraut for six weeks along with their regular diet.
What is pasteurized sauerkraut? It is a type of sauerkraut exposed to mild heat.
Based on their analysis, the sauerkraut juice benefits among those who ate it included reduced symptoms. They also experienced changes in the composition of their gut bacteria.
4. Sauerkraut Supports Healthy Liver Function
Do you know the liver performs hundreds of critical processes? It detoxifies the body, as well as metabolizes drugs.
It also secretes bile, which is a fluid the gallbladder stores but the small intestine needs. Bile helps break down fats, fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins.
It also helps eliminate bilirubin. It is the yellowish substance formed from the breakdown of red blood cells.
If your bilirubin is high, it can result in jaundice, a condition where your skin and eyes turn yellow.
You excrete bilirubin through excreta. It explains why healthy poop should be brown—it needs to have bile!
One of the possible benefits of eating sauerkraut is improved liver function. In a review of studies in Hepatitis Monthly, it was mentioned that probiotics may:
- Decrease inflammation that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NALD), a condition where excess fat accumulates in the organ
- Reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which happens when cells become less receptive to the glucose hormone
Another research said that probiotics can prevent dysbiosis or imbalance in the gut flora. This condition can produce toxic metabolites.
These metabolites then travel to the liver for detoxification. Eating sauerkraut may reduce these metabolites and thus decrease the liver load.
5. It Is a Good Source of Vitamin K
One of the health benefits of sauerkraut is vitamin K2.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in:
- Bone growth and development
- Blood clotting
- Thyroid health
It helps prevent osteoporosis, and one study suggests it may even protect against chronic kidney disease (CKD) and buildup of calcium deposits in the blood vessels.
Note: To further improve thyroid function, you can pair your sauerkraut with Thyroid Support System.
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6. Sauerkraut Also Contains Vitamin A
Besides vitamin K, sauerkraut has another kind of fat-soluble vitamin: vitamin A.
This vitamin is critical for numerous things:
- It helps convert the light the eyes perceive into electrical signals the brain can interpret.
- As a retinoid, it regulates the growth of cells.
- It promotes better bone health.
Vitamin A may also decrease the risk of acne. It can prevent the excessive production of a protein called keratin in the hair follicles.
Note: Want to enhance bone health and collagen production? You can supplement sauerkraut with options such as Body Protective Complex.
7. It Also Provides Iron and Folate
One of the health benefits of sauerkraut includes iron and folate. It meets 12% and 9% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDI), respectively.
Let’s discuss each of these:
It is a mineral the body needs for red blood cells, especially in producing hemoglobin, a blood protein that transports oxygen to different parts of the body.
Iron, therefore, helps prevent anemia and fatigue. It may also enhance gastrointestinal processes.
Note: Iron from plants is non-heme iron. The body cannot absorb this type of iron well, but it may prevent the chances of iron overload.
It is a B vitamin which works alongside iron in producing red blood cells. It is also necessary for creating DNA or genes.
This is why those who are pregnant need to consume folate for proper fetal development. They may then consume sauerkraut, but it’s best to ask their doctor for dietary advice first.
8. Sauerkraut Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Another of the long list of benefits of sauerkraut juice or food deals with your immune system.
About 70% of your immune system is in the gut. This is because the microbes there help this system in recognizing threats and non-threats.
The immune system is also sensitive to changes in the gut flora. A 2019 study even revealed that the probiotics in sauerkraut can result in the movement of immune cells.
Probiotics also help preserve the lining of the small intestines. This part allows a “harmonious” communication between the gut and the immune system.
Factors such as poor diet and stress can gradually make this lining more permeable or “leaky.”
When this happens, microbes, food, and other metabolites and toxins can enter the bloodstream. It can potentially lead to an overactive immune system.
Hyperimmune cells may promote chronic inflammation. It may also trigger autoimmune diseases, which are conditions where immune cells attack the organs and tissues.
9. It May Encourage Weight Loss
You need to do much more than eat sauerkraut every day to lose weight. Consistency in your diet and exercise remains crucial.
Nevertheless, you can still enjoy sauerkraut benefits in weight loss:
- It is low in calories and high in fiber.
- It may prevent chronic inflammation.
- Sauerkraut helps improve liver function, so it avoids the buildup of toxins and fats.
- It makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- It stimulates healthy digestion.
Are you looking for ways to upgrade your meals? Serve some sauerkraut on the side or as a snack. Your gut will love you for it.
How do you maximize raw sauerkraut benefits? Share them in the comments section below!
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