Tangy, crunchy, and delicious, sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage. Eaten and enjoyed across Eastern Europe for many centuries, it’s been gaining popularity in recent years for its healthful properties.
Here are a couple of reasons why you might like to introduce it into your diet this winter:
1. Cabbage is naturally high in vitamin C and the fermenting process used when making sauerkraut actually increases these levels significantly. Fun fact: back in the days before refrigeration, people were forced to preserve vegetables to eat through the winter when fresh ones were scarce. So sauerkraut, with its high vitamin C content, would have prevented people from getting scurvy! Nowadays, a healthy dose of vitamin C from a portion of sauerkraut can support your immune system and help protect you from colds and flu over the winter.
2. Another bonus from eating sauerkraut is that it’s packed with beneficial bacteria – about 30 different strains! A healthy gut should contain a wide variety of good bacteria, and the best way to improve this is through the foods you eat. A healthy gut microbiome helps to keep your digestive and immune systems functioning optimally. A healthy gut can even improve your mood and cognition, as bacteria and the substances they produce send messages along your vagus nerve, which dampen the stress and inflammation responses of the body.
If you are interested in introducing sauerkraut to your diet, here is some additional food for thought:
1. Introduce sauerkraut to your diet slowly, opting for little and often, rather than mountains at a time. This will help you avoid any unwanted (and embarrassing) side effects.
2. If you’re buying sauerkraut, rather than making your own, make sure you choose the fresh ones sold in the cold section of your grocer rather than the ones in jars.
3. Stepping outside your comfort zone is fun, especially when you are stuck indoors during a cold and dark winter.
Check out this link to see how easy it is to make your own 'kraut!
By: Jess Swarbreck // Kenzai Trainer
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