In recent years, fermented foods like are becoming more and more popular because of their healthful probiotic benefits. Nutrition Expert Lindsey Pine dishes the info about an unlikely probiotic source and superfood: sauerkraut!
Sauerkraut isn’t just for hot dogs and German cuisine anymore!
This super healthy and delicious fermented cabbage can be eaten on its own, as a sandwich topping, added to salads and omelets, mixed into your favorite plant powered bowl and even quesadillas.
Sauerkraut is made by covering raw cabbage with only salt and spices and leaving it to ferment by good bacteria called Lactobacilli. Because this fermented superfood contains live cultures, it’s best to buy refrigerated brands that do not undergo heat pasteurization. Be sure to keep it in your fridge and do not heat past 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When in doubt, try making your own!
Have you heard of the gut microbiome? This hot topic in the nutrition world refers to the friendly bacteria that reside in our gastrointestinal tract, which impacts everything from digestive function, immunity, mood, and chronic disease. Not only does sauerkraut contain billions of live cultures to support a healthy gut community, but it also contains fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and even calcium.
Don’t forget to fill up on probiotic rich foods, such as sauerkraut, especially after taking a round of antibiotics. You will want to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria, which may be depleted after medication.
Let’s find out how the probiotics in sauerkraut can help our health:
Lactobacilli bacteria has shown to promote healthy bowel movements and decrease bloating, especially in those with digestive disorders such as IBS.
Much of our immunity resides in the gut and can benefit from fermented foods like sauerkraut! The good bacteria forms a barrier in the intestinal lining to protect against illness caused by pathogens, viruses, and parasites.
Not only does sauerkraut contain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, that aid in combatting inflammation in the body, but some preliminary studies indicate Lactobacilli may also work to fight the formation of free radicals.
The brain and the gut constantly talk to each other via something called the gut-brain axis. The healthy bacteria work with our brain chemicals to make us feel less stressed and happier.
For the ladies
If you’re prone to the #1 type vaginal infection, bacterial vaginosis, the probiotics found in sauerkraut may help balance the bacteria population in this region of the female anatomy.
Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT is a Los Angeles-based dietitian, specializing in food sensitivities and culinary creations. Whether she’s working with students at University of Southern California or in her private practice, Lindsey helps others find the healthy foods that they love so help sustain their long-term success. To find your tastiest balance in life, connect with Lindsey at Tasty Balance Nutrition.