Is Sauerkraut Good For You? – Sauerkraut is a Superfood

Have you ever heard anyone tell you to eat more SAUERKRAUT to improve your health? Guess what? Sauerkraut is considered by many to be a super food. Get past thinking of sauerkraut as a garnish for a fatty sandwich, hot dog or for bratwurst. Start thinking about how you can include this more in some healthy meals that you never considered before.

So what exactly is sauerkraut?

What is sauerkraut?

Believe it or not, sauerkraut is chopped cabbage that has been pickled in brine and allowed to ferment until sour.Sauerkraut

Does that not make your mouth water? Ha, not for most of us.

Would you be surprised that sauerkraut did not originate in Germany. The Chinese were the first ones to develop it. Sauerkraut became a staple of the German diet in the 1600s and soon made it’s way to North America.

Sauerkraut is traditionally served with pork, sausage, steamed potatoes or dumplings.

How is sauerkraut a potential super food when it is typically served with fattening foods?

Sauerkraut is a super food – No Matter What it is Served With

Sauerkraut is still good for you even though most people think of having it with less than healthy foods. Here is why sauerkraut is considered a super food by many. An article by AARP sums up why sauerkraut can be so beneficial and I will only list some of the reasons here:

  1. Sauerkraut contains many vitamins
    1. Vitamin C
    2. Vitamin K
    3. Calcium
    4. Potassium
    5. Phosphorus
    6. The fermentation process makes the nutrients easier for you body to absorb.
  2. Sauerkraut boost you digestive system
    1. It contains probiotics, especially when made at home (or not cooked)
      1. Has been shown to lessen gas (not sure about that claim), bloating, diarrhea and constipation.Weight Loss
  3. Sauerkraut may help you lose weight
    1. It is a low calorie food
    2. It contains a lot of fiber
  4. Sauerkraut may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
    1. Probiotics has been shown to affect people’s memory
  5. Sauerkraut is good for your heart
    1. It can reduce cholesterol
    2. It can reduce triglyceride levels
    3. The fiber in sauerkraut may get rid of the cholesterol on the walls of arteries and blood vessels.

One note of caution is that sauerkraut is fermented with salt which makes it high in sodium. Look for sauerkraut with low sodium or find a recipe that will have less sodium that you can make at home.

So, how can we make sauerkraut even more healthy for us by not serving it with hot dogs and bratwurst?

Healthy Meals with Sauerkraut

I have recovered from a stroke and I am doing my best to eat healthy and exercise more so the idea of benefiting from Bowl of sauerkrautsauerkraut is interesting but I need to find more healthy things to serve it with.

I learned right away in several diet programs that skinless chicken breast was one of the “go to” proteins. There are many healthy proteins but this is one of my favorites. One of the things I like to keep around the house is healthy foods and snacks for when hunger hits. I also remove most of the unhealthy items so I am less tempted. I have a family so I am not allowed to remove all unhealthy foods.

Every week or twice a week I will bake four skinless chicken breasts and place them in a sealed container. I keep some of my favorite sauerkraut on hand plus some fruits and vegetable. It never fails that life happens and nothing healthy is planned for dinner or I get a late night craving. When this happens I choose a healthier option than processed foods or a quick trip to the local fast food drive thru. Here’s the simple thing I do:Chicken Breast

  • Cut up one cooked chicken breast into bite size pieces.
  • Place approximately 1 cup of sauerkraut over the chicken.
  • Microwave the meal for 2.5 minutes

Presto, I have a healthy meal that keeps me satisfied for hours.
I won’t go into all the foods to eat with sauerkraut but here are a few websites with healthy sauerkraut recipes:

Please don’t blindly start chowing down on sauerkraut.

Be Careful with Sauerkraut

Maybe you have read this far and now you’re ready to get big plate of sauerkraut with some other healthy foods. Stop and read the rest of this first.

Sauerkraut has some side effects and other things you should be aware of. Here is a short list:

  • 1st, sauerkraut will lose many of it’s health benefits if you cook it or buy it in the store. It may be best to find your local health food store and look for a low sodium and uncooked sauerkraut that still has probiotics.
  • 2nd, sauerkraut is usually high in sodium so just be aware of this.
  • 3rd, there are some initial side effects you need to know so it’s best to introduce smaller portions of sauerkraut initially and then build up when your body is used to it. Some information below is referenced from an article at Livestrong.:
    • Intestinal gas and bloating
    • diarrhea and abdominal cramps
    • dietary imbalance

PainI can attest to some of these side effects. I took off at a sprint and dumped a huge amount of sauerkraut on my grilled chicken breast. Oh my! What a mistake! Remember that sauerkraut is also high in fiber so that is part of the problem when you’re not used to a lot of fiber in your diet. I remember the first week of eating a significant amount of sauerkraut. I was bloated, had a lot of gas and was constantly sitting on the toilet begging for mercy. All I was thinking was, “who needs an intestinal flush or a cleanser when all you have to do is eat sauerkraut!”

Wow! I’m lucky those days are gone as my body has adjusted to the sauerkraut. Please keep this in mind and start off with a small amount of sauerkraut and build up to more.

Sauerkraut is not just for the ballpark

Reading an article on sauerkraut may have been the last thing you imagined reading today. The thing is, there are so many healthy foods that many of us don’t consider eating. It’s good to read and research new things. If you want to improve your health by eating better and exercising more, it’s best to just take one thing at a time.

You may find that sauerkraut is not something you ever want to eat and that’s fine; but keep your eyes open and look for new things to incorporate into your life that may bring incredible health benefits.