Saturday, November 7, 2015

Simple Sauerkraut

While on a roll with probiotics I thought I'd share another staple from our little kitchen. I mean't to share this a while ago actually. I've been making sauerkraut for years and have posted a few recipes in the past. My original Sauerkraut recipe and KimKraut are still staples in our house, with all the recent talk about probiotics I thought I should share it again and with the optional additions of turmeric and black pepper that I've added to this ones makes it super special, it's essential to add the pepper as it helps to unleash the goodness of the turmeric. 


I made this batch in Townsville with my friend Lauren about 6 weeks ago. I got the cabbages from one of my (so far) favourite Australian markets, the City Markets one Sunday morning. I don't think she'd even heard of sauerkraut let alone made it so this was a fun thing to do together. This is a super simple, super cheap answer to good gut health and more. I did some more research into it as I've known for quite a while of it's benefits but want to share them with you below. I think it helps to know why your trying something new especially if it doesn't sing to you at first.


Sauerkraut is a probiotic food

The lactic acid process that is created by the fermentation process of preserving cabbage in salt that naturally preserves sauerkraut is ripe with probiotic power. To name just a few of the good bacteria that are common to lactic acid preserved food, there is Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. caret, L. pentoaceticus, L brevis and L. thermophiles. There is a wide range of healthy bacteria responsible for these beautiful ferments, so you don’t find the same good bacteria count in every batch, but what you will find is a product brimming with healthy probiotics that will help ensure good gut health.

The use of antibiotics and even the chlorine in our water have a large impact on the healthy bacteria in our systems. Including naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut is an excellent way to rebuild healthy gut bacteria levels which in turn will increase overall health and vitality.

Nutritional Value of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut contains high levels of dietary fiber, as well as significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. Furthermore, it is a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, in addition to contributing a moderate amount of protein to your diet.

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

Energy Production: 

The high levels of iron found in cabbage (sauerkraut) can be very beneficial for the body in a variety of ways. First of all, iron helps to contribute to energy production, as it increases the body’s metabolism and also boosts circulation, which increases oxygenation of organs and cells. This increased blood flow is a result of more RBC, of which iron is a key component. High iron levels helps prevent anemia (iron deficiency) and the side effects associated with that condition (headaches, fatigue, cognitive impairment).

Digestive Health: 

Cabbage is famed for its high fiber content, which is well known as one of the key points in any diet for the benefit of digestive health. Sauerkraut obviously shares this benefit, and can help to move food through the bowels, eliminating constipation, bloating, cramping, and excessive gas along the way. By regulating your digestive and excretory system, you can also prevent more serious conditions, like gastric ulcers and even colon cancer.

Heart Health: 

Fiber may be commonly consumed for digestive health, but it is also very important for the health of your heart. Fiber is able to scrape off dangerous cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels by binding with the fats and cholesterol and removing them from the body. Therefore, less cholesterol enters the bloodstream and your overall cholesterol level is balanced. This can prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and a variety of other cardiovascular issues.

Eye and Skin Health: 

Sauerkraut also contains quite a few carotenes and a significant amount of vitamin A. This essential vitamin acts as an antioxidant, as do the carotenes, and eliminate free radicals from the body’s systems, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate. Sauerkraut has been linked to improved eye health, as vitamin A reduces the chances of macular degeneration and cataract formation. Furthermore, in terms of the skin, vitamin A helps to maintain the integrity of your skin, slowing down the appearance of wrinkles, eliminate blemishes, and generally keeping your skin looking young and healthy, thanks to the free-radical neutralizing powers of sauerkraut!

Immune System Booster: 

A single serving of sauerkraut has 35% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which is one of the most important elements of our immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and increases cellular regeneration and repair, while also playing a key role in the formation of collagen, a foundational component for almost every part of our body, including organs, blood vessels, skin, hair, muscles, and bones. Bonus is that vitamin C helps the body to absorb and utilize the abundance of iron contained in sauerkraut.

Inflammation Reduction: 

Phytonutrient antioxidants contained in sauerkraut can double as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the pain and discomfort of joints, muscles, or other inflamed areas.

Cancer Prevention: 

Although research is still underway to reveal the exact impact of sauerkraut on cancerous cells, the presence of antioxidant compounds in sauerkraut (as with all cruciferous vegetables) means that free radicals can be eliminated, which are one of the main causes behind cancerous cell formation.

Strong Bones: 

The wide range of minerals found in sauerkraut make it ideal for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. The high level of vitamin K (23% of daily recommended intake in a single serving), which is a somewhat uncommon mineral, is particularly important for maintaining the integrity and strength of your bones, as vitamin K produces the proteins that regulate bone mineralization!

Sources:


This is one of the best things you can do for your health and also one of the cheapest. This is a very basic recipes but a great place to start. I have other recipes that I use one of them I call Kimkraut which is a fusion recipe. If you want to know why I add the turmeric and black pepper check out this post here

Ingredients
  • 1 kg cabbage – 1 large cabbage (red or white/green) 
  • 1 tablespoons Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt
  • Optional:
  • 1 tbs fresh grated turmeric or powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preparation
  1. Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves.
  2. Grate or slice the cabbage finely in a large clean and sterilized bowl.
  3. Add the salt then massage it into the cabbage until it softens and the juices release from the cabbage, this will be the brine that covers it in the jar.
  4. This will take about 15 minutes. There should be juices on top of the cabbage.
  5. If this does not happen make up a salt water mixture of 15 g of sea salt to 1 liter of water and add a little of it to the jar but only if necessary.
  6. Pack the cabbage tightly into a sterilized jar in layers, pressing down into the jar after each addition as you pack. The cabbage should be completely submerged in the brine you’ve created with no air pockets.
  7. Fold the outer cabbage leaves you saved up and press it into the top of the jar to keep the cabbage submerged then seal the lid and place the sauerkraut in a dark spot at room temperature for at least 3 weeks.
Notes
  1. I've never had to make the brine as I always get enough juice from the cabbage. 
  2. I usually use jar with metal lids so I cover the top with cling film or plastic clip bag before putting the lid on to stop it from rusting. 

Once you acquire the taste it quite delicious and act like a condiment. 
Enjoy! 

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I am not a doctor, registered dietitian or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness and life and hopefully to inspire you. All content provided on my blog is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Karen

Karenluvslife

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