Over four millennia ago, the Chinese discovered how to ferment cabbage. Since then, the world has enjoyed sauerkraut. The Germans taught us how tasty it is with sausage, and the Russians use it as a filling for savory perogies. But is sauerkraut healthy?

Modern science has studied fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, and have produced numerous positive reports. Sauerkraut has gone from a simple preserved treat at farmers’ tables to a feature in haute cuisine. In this article, we will discuss some fascinating facts about this ancient dish. Is sauerkraut healthy enough for your diet? Read on and judge for yourself.

Sauerkraut bowl on a table

General Information About Sauerkraut

According to pickledplanet.com, natives of Northern China were fermenting vegetables at least 4,000 years ago. As Chinese cuisine spread across Asia and Europe, they probably introduced the world to sauerkraut. Early German cooks adopted the fermented cabbage into their dishes and called it Sauer (sour or fermented) kraut (cabbage). However, it is known by other names in different countries. So, is sauerkraut healthy, according to people of other nations?

Although sauerkraut recipes vary, the essential ingredients are chopped cabbage and salt. Harmless bacteria causes fermentation by converting naturally-occurring sugars in the cabbage to lactic acid, shares Wikipedia.org. This acid gives sauerkraut its hallmark sour taste. Salt helps preserve the cabbage dish.

People over the world still produce delicious homemade sauerkraut, and can it for future use. You may also find different varieties of canned or vacuum-sealed sauerkraut in the grocery store. While most consumers find store-bought sauerkraut tasty and inexpensive, aficionados prefer homemade. But is sauerkraut healthy for you?

Ingredient List For Sauerkraut

  • Cabbage (any variety, usually chopped finely);
  • Kosher salt (some recipes call for sea salt);
  • Water (some recipes);
  • Other herbs and spices, according to the recipe;
  • Other fruits and vegetables, according to the recipe;
  • Added sugar (many store brands);
  • Preservatives (many store brands).

Dangers Of Saurkraut

1. Sodium

Before we find out whether sauerkraut is healthy or not, consider its salt content. If you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, warns livingstrong.com, you should limit how much sauerkraut you eat. Consider buying a reduced-sodium brand of sauerkraut, or reduce the salt when you make it from scratch.

2. Headaches

An article from the Cleveland Clinic explains that certain enzymes in fermented food (including sauerkraut), might cause headaches in some people. If you have a history of headaches or migraines, you should talk to your doctor and ask, “Is sauerkraut healthy for me?”

3.Painful Bloating and Gas

If you have a sensitive digestive system, states epainassist.com, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods can cause painful bloating, gas, and possible diarrhea. Is sauerkraut healthy for people who have celiac disease or are taking certain medications? Talk to your doctor before eating any sauerkraut.

4. Improperly Canned Sauerkraut

Although the risks are low, says renegadehealth.com, food that is improperly fermented and canned may cause botulism. This bacterial infection can cause serious illness and can be fatal. The source recommends that anyone who makes homemade sauerkraut use sanitary equipment and proper canning procedures. If your homemade sauerkraut has an “off” taste or smell, it is better not to eat it.

Are There Benefits For Sauerkraut?

Is sauerkraut healthy in your diet? Probiotic experts claim that studies demonstrate several health benefits from eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Here are some benefits to consider:

An article from Dr.Axe.com says that research indicates several health benefits from consuming fermented foods, like sauerkraut. Is sauerkraut healthy for your mind? It may improve your cognition and overall brain functioning. Do you have immune issues? The source says that daily servings of sauerkraut may benefit your immunity. The probiotics found in fermented cabbage may detox your body’s systems, and help you absorb other nutrients more efficiently.

Some of these studies suggest that the probiotics in sauerkraut can reduce the chances of certain diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or even cancer. Is sauerkraut healthy for losing weight? Researchers opine that eating sauerkraut regularly can not only help you lose weight, but it may also keep you from becoming obese.

Do you enjoy eating a fresh plate of sauerkraut? Is sauerkraut healthy for you? There are enough studies to suggest that it is. With any food, too much of a good thing can hurt you. If you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or other health issues, you probably do not need the extra salt. If you want to increase your probiotic intake, then sauerkraut would be a delicious way to do it. Discuss any dietary concerns with your doctor.

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Image source: depositphotos.com