In case you haven’t heard, probiotics are a hot topic these days – and rightfully so. Studies show that without a healthy balance of gut bacteria, the chances of falling ill due to a weakened immune system increases.
For me, the easiest way to stay on track has been including probiotic-rich foods regularly into my diet. This way, I am able to ensure that I can consistently maintain a healthy gut without the routine of taking pills.
You may be surprised to find out that one food with a healthy dose of probiotics is Sauerkraut, which people have been consuming for decades!
What makes Sauerkraut so special?
Sauerkraut is simply cabbage that has been fermented. This fermentation process can be dated back centuries to when it was originally used as a natural preservation method before refrigeration was invented. For sauerkraut, this process involves storing cabbage away from oxygen allowing for a natural conversion of its sugars into lactic acid, ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide. The result of this conversion process ultimately leads to the prevention of the bad bacteria growth along with the promotion of healthy bacterial strains. These strains have been shown to be crucial for the gastrointestinal tract.
Who can benefit from Sauerkraut?
Yes, it tastes great on a Reuben sandwich, but sauerkraut can also provide benefits to everyone, especially those who:
- Have/Currently take Antibiotics
- Consume a diet high in Fructose
- Consume meat that is fed Antibiotics
- Frequently consume Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories (ie: ibuprofen, aspirin)
- Suffer from Chronic Stress
- Suffer from Allergies
- Suffer from Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
- Children in Daycare Centers
- Pregnant Women
- Children born by C-Section
Consumption of antibiotics or animals that are fed antibiotics has been shown to not only destroy the “bad bacteria” in the gut, but also the good bacteria. This is why it is so crucial to maintain a diet rich in probiotics. Without probiotics to help replenish the “good” bacteria, the gut becomes rich in “bad bacteria”… which nobody wants.
Role of Good Bacteria
Studies are now showing more and more that good bacteria in our guts do more than we previously thought.
The health of our gut not only impacts intestine related issues but is now linked to respiratory and even brain health.
Without the help of good bacteria to protect our bodies from acute inflammation, chronic inflammation consequently develops, giving way to an array of diseases like cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, obesity, and even depression.
Keeping the bad bacteria at a minimum and the good bacteria as the ruling majority ensures healthy bodily functions and ultimately a stronger immune system.
Studies have even linked increased probiotic consumption to slimmer waistlines due to better digestion, an increase in the absorption of nutrients and an improvement in body detoxification. Furthermore, a probiotic-rich diet is a great avenue to help decrease mental stress and depression.
Organic Opulence’s Pick
When choosing a Sauerkraut, I always like to go for one that is made most simply, from organic ingredients. You can usually find excellent fermented foods at your local farmers market or natural food grocer.
If you’re looking for local fermented foods in the Miami area, Glaser Organic Farms is an excellent source. Another favorite of mine is Organic Sauerkraut from Eden Foods, which is widely available at most natural food markets.
You can easily consume this fermented cabbage in salads, alone, or like I do, on an avocado toast, drizzled with balsamic vinegar… Enjoy!
For more information regarding the topics discussed in this article, feel free to visit the following resources:
Individual and Combined Effects of pH and Lactic Acid Concentration on Listeria innocua Inactivation: Development of a Predictive Model and Assessment of Experimental Variability
DOG, TIERAONA LOW. FORTIFY YOUR LIFE: YOUR GUIDE TO VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND MORE. WASHINGTON, DC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, 2016