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Sauerkraut is fermented food made by pickling cabbage with salt. It’s been a traditional staple throughout central Europe for years, and is gaining popularity in the UK as a valuable source of probiotics to boost not just digestive health but overall wellbeing.
This soft slightly sour cabbage is produced via lactic fermentation. This means, when deprived of oxygen, the bacteria and yeast naturally present on cabbage convert the glucose in the cabbage into probiotic beneficial bacteria and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Sauerkraut is an ideal choice to serve on the side of any meat or fish dish or as an accompaniment to a salad.
Nutritional benefits of sauerkraut
The probiotics (beneficial bacteria) in sauerkraut, like any fermented food, have been linked to boosting gut health. They can lower inflammation and reduce levels of bad bacteria. This has a positive effect on IBS symptoms like bloating and constipation. Having a healthy gut microbiome filled with beneficial bacteria has also been shown to support immune function and balance mood and hormones contributing to overall wellbeing.
The cabbage in sauerkraut is also high in fibre, vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium and even protein! This fermented food is brimming with nutrients to keep you healthy and bouncing with energy!
Cabbage also contains isothiocyanate compounds (yes I can’t pronounce it either) but what you need to know is that these compounds contain potential cancer-fighting properties. So sauerkraut is an all-round winner when it comes to delivering nutritional benefits.
Here's a superfood salad idea that includes sauerkraut and another health ingredient de jour, turmeric.
Superfood Sauerkraut Salad with Turmeric Dressing - 1 serving
1 head of Romaine or other lettuce, sliced
1 large handful of spinach
½ cucumber, diced
1–2 tablespoons sunflower and/or poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sauerkraut
Your choice of protein:
1 cooked chicken breast
1 cooked mackerel fillet
or 2 soft-boiled eggs
3 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼–½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper
Place all the dressing ingredients in a small blender, season to taste and blend briefly until well mixed.
Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing, to taste. Serve the salad with your choice of protein.
Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.