Think of calories like money and eating like shopping/buying. You want the best value for your “caloric buck”. I eat only vegan, organic whole food so all of my foods are pretty nutrient dense which is great. However, sauerkraut is one of the best.
Sauerkraut is something that I have made many times and also often buy from the store (especially if I am traveling). I personally LOVE the flavor so much that I can easily eat it plain…but most often add it to salads, rice bowls, beans and veggies or pretty much anything that I am eating. Organic raw fermented vegetables/sauerkraut is a functional food with many nutrients and health benefits.1
The nutrition comes from both the cabbage itself as well as the fermentation process. This food is nutrient dense for sure. It has a lot of nutrition with very few calories. Cabbage is from the cruciferous family and is not only rich in various vitamins and minerals but also has many phytonutrients that have anti-cancer properties such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, coumarins, and carotenoids.2 Cabbage is an excellent source of fiber to begin with but once you ferment it, there are even greater benefits for the microbiome. People who consume fermented vegetables regularly have a greater variety of friendly flora (think of this as your internal army) in their gut.3 This has tremendous implications on digestion, brain function/mental health and the immune system.
If you have lots of digestive issues, struggle with stress, anxiety, or depression or get sick often (or better yet just want to prevent illness), adding a couple of forkfuls of fermented vegetables to your daily food intake is a great step to take.
But that’s not all… Fermented vegetables have also been associated with helping to reduce obesity, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.4 They are also rich in antioxidants which means they are great for supporting phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification as well as reducing inflammation (less inflammation equals less pain and swelling).4
If you’d like more information on making your own sauerkraut, check out my other blog by clicking here.
In addition to fresh fermented vegetables, there are several supplements that can be helpful in a similar way by improving the healthy bacteria in the gut as well as supporting inflammatory pathways.
- Probiotics including:
- Fermented superfood powders:
- Glutamine is great for helping repair a leaky gut (for more on this, see my blog on Zonulin and Leaky Gut)
Ultimately, you want to eat (and supplement) in a way that supports a healthy digestive system as the gut impacts the rest of the body. Clinically, no matter what a client comes to me for, we have to always ensure gut health is foundational to healing anything else. The condition of your digestive tract has implications on your weight, sleep, immune response, stress response, energy and hormones. If you need help getting to the root of some pesky symptoms, please reach out! We’d love to have you.
1. Raak C, Ostermann T, Boehm K, Molsberger F. Regular Consumption of Sauerkraut and Its Effect on Human Health: A Bibliometric Analysis. Glob Adv Heal Med. 2014. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.038
2. Manchali S, Chidambara Murthy KN, Patil BS. Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables. J Funct Foods. 2012. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2011.08.004
3. Taylor BC, Lejzerowicz F, Poirel M, et al. Consumption of Fermented Foods Is Associated with Systematic Differences in the Gut Microbiome and Metabolome. mSystems. 2020. doi:10.1128/msystems.00901-19
4. Shahbazi R, Sharifzad F, Bagheri R, Alsadi N, Yasavoli-Sharahi H, Matar C. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of fermented plant foods. Nutrients. 2021. doi:10.3390/nu13051516
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.