Sauerkraut is a fermented dish from Germany. Made from cabbage, it has a unique sour flavor that is the result of the fermentation process by different types of bacteria. Consuming cabbage in the form of sauerkraut is a good way to protect yourself from various medical conditions like autism, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, and so on.
Benefits of sauerkraut
In 2005, a group of researchers compared rates of cancer among Polish women who immigrated to the U.S. and those who continued living in Poland. They discovered that U.S. immigrant Polish women had almost three times the rate of breast cancer compared to their sisters back home. One of the reasons for this difference was explained by the fact that while women in Poland ate about 30 pounds of sauerkraut every year, those who migrated to America were only consuming about 10 pounds of sauerkraut annually.
Sauerkraut contains high levels of compounds called glucosinolates that are known to have strong anti-cancer properties. “The observed pattern of risk reduction indicates that the breakdown products of glucosinolates in cabbage may affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis — by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation — and the promotion phase by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth,” Dorothy Rybaczyk-Pathak, from the University of New Mexico, said to GLK Foods.
If you suffer from diabetes, eating sauerkraut on a regular basis can help. However, do keep in mind that the dish is basically high in salt. Just a quarter cup of sauerkraut contains about 360mg of sodium, which is almost a fifth of the daily recommended limit. The best way to consume sauerkraut for people with diabetes is to use it as an addition to salads. Fermented, probiotic foods like sauerkraut can also act as a memory booster and help diminish symptoms of autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Eating fermented sauerkraut increases the good bacteria in the gut. This not only keeps the immune system strong, but also reduces incidences of inflammation in the body and thereby helps in dealing with conditions like arthritis. People with Hashimoto’s disease suffer from an autoimmune disorder that makes their immune system attack the thyroid. Consuming fermented items like sauerkraut can help people deal with Hashimoto’s much more effectively. The dish aids the absorption of nutrients from the bloodstream as well as offering healing benefits to the entire body, including your thyroid.
How to prepare sauerkraut
Preparing sauerkraut is an easy process. All you need is some cabbage and salt. That’s it. For every pound of cabbage, you’ll require about 2 teaspoons of salt. So first, weigh the cabbage you wish to ferment and calculate the amount of salt required. Once that is done, discard the outer layers of the cabbage as well as layers that are damaged. Cut the core out and rinse the vegetable well.
Shred the cabbage into thin slices with a food processor or a knife. Place it in a large bowl, add in the salt, and toss it up. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Next, massage the cabbage with your hands for about 5 minutes. This should release the liquids from the veggie. Separate the liquid. Take the cabbage and push it down into a glass jar. Pour the liquid into the jar together with some saltwater.
Take a cabbage leaf and put it atop the shredded cabbage in the jar. On top, place a weight to ensure that the shredded cabbage stays below the brine. If it gets exposed to air, it can get infected with mold. Now all you have to do is to cover the jar loosely and let it ferment for a week or two. Some people even let the fermentation process go for up to 4 weeks.