Savory Brekky Bowl

Why is sauerkraut good for your gut?


Sauerkraut is a simple fermented food that is made from cabbage and salt. The word sauerkraut translates in English to “sour cabbage.” Though it is a traditional German food, today it is a popular side dish and condiment in many cultures. Sauerkraut has a pungent odor and a strong, sour flavor. Because sauerkraut is made from cabbage, it has many of the expected health benefits of your average leafy green. However, the fermentation process adds both a boost of flavor, as well as a boost in nutrients.

Sauerkraut contains an abundance of lactic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber; all of which are important for optimal health. In 1 cup of sauerkraut there are 4 grams of fiber, this is important for fueling your #goodgut bugs because fiber is not hydrolyzed by human digestive enzymes, it is acted upon by gut microbes. The gut microbes then produce metabolites like short chain fatty acids, they contribute to shaping the gut environment as well as many other important functions. In addition vitamin C is one of the most abundant compounds in sauerkraut, it aids in protection against infections and oxidative stress as it is also an antioxidant.


More importantly, fermentation begins when yeast and bacteria that are naturally present on the cabbage, your hands, as well as in the air, come into contact with the sugars in the cabbage. The fermentation process introduces the growth of probiotics into the cabbage. Probiotics are bacteria that help support digestive balance. One analysis on the nutrient profile of sauerkraut found it to have a whopping 28 different bacterial strains. In addition, A small study in 2018 showed eating sauerkraut for 6 weeks improved the IBS symptom severity and gut microbiome (it was only 34 people). This could be due to the positive effect of adding beneficial microbes into the gut. Probiotics from fermented foods, such as cabbage, can improve the digestibility of the food, as well as the bioavailability of the nutrients it contains. Probiotics also serve as food for good bacteria within the gut microbiome. This supports a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for overall health. It also plays a major role in immune function as part of our body’s first line of defense against pathogens and infection. Probiotics have also been shown to have a beneficial impact on digestive function, and may be particularly beneficial for alleviating symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea suffered from those who have IBS, Chron’s and ulcerative colitis. Additionally, research suggests that probiotics may aid in weight loss, by suppressing dietary fat absorption and increasing the amount of dietary fat that is excreted in feces.


Ways to eat it

  • On top of avocado toast

  • Mixed into salad, or use the brine in a salad dressing

  • Combine with hummus for a flavor-packed dip

Note: To still reap the probiotic benefits of sauerkraut, but cut down on some of the sodium, you can strain and rinse sauerkraut in water


Recipe: Savory Brekky Bowl













Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked

  • 4 cups collard greens, chopped

  • 2 cups potatoes, shredded

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced

  • 1 cup sauerkraut, for serving

  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving

  • sprinkle nutritional yeast

  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash cabbage and sanitize all equipment.

  2. Slice cabbage thinly by hand or with a shredder.

  3. Transfer cabbage to a large bowl, sprinkle over the salt, and roughly massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands for 10 minutes. Mix in any additional seasonings.

  4. Transfer the cabbage to your mason jars, packing it in tightly to extract even more liquid from the cabbage. Pour any additional liquid from the bowl into the jars so that the cabbage is completely submerged.

  5. Place your weights on top of the cabbage and push down, again making sure the cabbage is below the surface of the brine.

  6. Seal your jars with the fermenting lids and keep them at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

  7. Allow the cabbage to ferment for 15-30 days. Remove the fermenting lids according to package directions and store the sauerkraut in the fridge.

Heal with each meal!

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References

Hungin, A. P., Mulligan, C., Pot, B., Whorwell, P., Agréus, L., Fracasso, P., . . . European Society

for Primary Care Gastroenterology. (2013, October). Systematic review: Probiotics in the

management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms in clinical practice -- an evidence-based

international guide. Retrieved from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925990/

Lu, Z., Breidt, F., Plengvidhya, V., & Fleming, H. P. (2003, June). Bacteriophage ecology in

commercial sauerkraut fermentations. Retrieved from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC161505/

Ogawa, A., Kobayashi, T., Sakai, F., Kadooka, Y., & Kawasaki, Y. (2015). Lactobacillus gasseri

SBT2055 suppresses fatty acid release through enlargement of fat emulsion size in vitro

and promotes fecal fat excretion in healthy Japanese subjects. Lipids in health and

disease, 14, 20. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-015-0019-0

Raak, C., Ostermann, T., Boehm, K., & Molsberger, F. (2014). Regular consumption of

sauerkraut and its effect on human health: a bibliometric analysis. Global advances in

health and medicine, 3(6), 12–18. https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2014.038

Swain, M. R., Anandharaj, M., Ray, R. C., & Parveen Rani, R. (2014, May 28). Fermented fruits

and vegetables of Asia: A potential source of probiotics. Retrieved from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058509/

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