Photo credit: Tess Ward – The Naked Diet
Put down the blueberries and step away from the chia-seed-peanut-butter-green-spinach-soya-almond-milk-matcha lattes. Fermented foods are about to take the superfood spotlight – sauerkraut in particular – shining oh so bright.
Sister to kimchi – regarded as the ‘less-fiery one’ -sauerkraut derived from the German word for ‘sour cabbage’,
WHAT IS IT THOUGH?
The base of this newly dubbed miracle superfood is cabbage and salt that has been fermented. Fermentation simply refers to an ancient technique and perseveration method that naturally alters the chemistry of foods and is the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates, like sugars, into either alcohols and carbon dioxide, or organic acids. Fermentation requires the presence of a carbohydrate source, such as vegetables, which contain sugar molecule plus yeast, bacteria (or both). Glucose (sugar) is converted into healthy bacteria strains that populate your gut environment and help regulate many bodily functions.
Provides probiotics, aiding digestion and replenishing gut flora
Microorganisms (known as probiotics) found in sauerkraut, such as lactobacillus bacteria, essentially feed the good bacteria in the gut improving overall gut health – ja, das ist gut! (no pun intended). A healthy gut means health, happy digestion as these probiotics help lower the presence of toxins, inflammation and bad bacteria living within your digestive tract.
High source of dietary fibre
Coming to the rescue for providing your daily solid dose of dietary fibre, Sauerkraut works wonders for good bowel movement
Supports the immune system
What many people don’t realise is that the gut is the biggest immune system organ, with over 80% of the immune system made in the gut. The probiotic nature of Sauerkraut will nourish the gut and in turn, help support the immune system cells.
Reduces stress improves mood and combats fatigue
Probiotics also produce and release important digestive enzymes that communicate with the chemicals in your brain. The brain is responsible for initiating hormone release such as serotonin (happy hormone) and in order to do this it has to digest nutrients well. Probiotics are widely known to help produce these happy hormones, so sauerkraut may just need to be your little ‘go to’ when feeling a bit down. Given that the base ingredient is also cabbage, which in general is a key provider of iron, this superhero-food also helps fight and combat fatigue by boosting energy levels.
HOW TO ENJOY :
Popular with hefty German dishes such as bratwurst (particularly as a topping on hot dogs) and schnitzel and usually served as a side, it is also commonly used and served with casseroles or potato dishes. We also like to have it in the morning with our eggs or sprinkle it in salads.
WHERE CAN I GET IT?
For when purchasing, cooked sauerkraut limits the extensive benefits that the probiotics bring within this superfood, so it’s best to buy completely fresh when looking for pre-made options. Wholefoods London has a variety of sauerkraut in the fridges with varying flavours. As like kimchi, sauerkraut is becoming highly popular due to its ease of ability in being a DYI home recipe – made using salt and cabbage, and left over a 4-5 day period, you can have your own – and eat it too!
Check out Tess Ward’s Kimchi Recipe here