Sauerkraut originated in China thousands of years ago and became popular throughout Germany. Its German name means sour cabbage. Eventually, its popularity as a side dish and condiment extended to many cultures and regions around the world. This cabbage dish is often paired with meats like hot dogs and sausages or served with boiled veggies.
Sauerkraut is incredibly nutritious as it is rich in lactic acid, vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. In fact, sauerkraut is so good for you, it may even fit the description of a “superfood”.
Although sauerkraut is basically fermented cabbage, its health benefits extend far beyond those of cabbage. This is mainly due to the fermentation process. Fermented foods like sauerkraut provide the body with probiotics that aid digestion and support gut health. It is also rich in vitamin K2, an important nutrient known for its positive impact on heart and bone health.
Did you know that eating sauerkraut regularly could even help you lose weight? It’s true, keep reading to find out how eating a little sauerkraut each day could help you drop those unwanted pounds.
Is Sauerkraut Keto Friendly?
Sauerkraut is low in carbs, yet rich in fibre which makes it an excellent food choice for those following the Keto diet.
Additionally, sauerkraut makes an ideal food for weight loss as it helps ramp up your digestion with enzymes that allow your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Dieters will reap the most benefits by opting for non-pasteurized varieties on the market that don’t contain added sugars or preservatives.
How Many Carbs are in Sauerkraut?
A whole cup of sauerkraut contains only 6 grams of carbs. If you’re following a low carb diet, combine this low carb fermented slaw with a serving of protein like grilled sausages or wieners, which also provides some fat to keep you satiated.
How Many Calories are in Sauerkraut?
A whole cup of sauerkraut contains only 27 calories. Adding a tablespoon of butter to your sauerkraut will significantly increase the calorie count, adding an additional 100 calories.
|Serving: 1 cup of Sauerkraut (142 grams)|
|Total Fat 0.2 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 938.6 milligrams||39%|
|Potassium 241.4 milligrams||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6 grams||2%|
|Dietary fiber 4.1 grams||16%|
|Sugar 2.5 grams|
|Protein 1.3 grams||2%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||34%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||10%|
Rich in Nutrients
Sauerkraut is rich in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C: 23% of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)
- Vitamin K1: 15% of the RDA
- Iron: 12% of the RDA
- Manganese: 9% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDA
- Folate: 9% of the RDA
- Copper: 15% of the RDA
- Potassium: 5% of the RDA
Probiotics to Aid Digestion
You might be surprised to discover that sauerkraut contains more lactobacillus bacteria than yogurt, which means it is an even better source of probiotics. Unpasteurized sauerkraut contains probiotics – beneficial bacteria that rid the body of toxins and harmful bacteria. Probiotics also improve your digestion and gut health.
Sauerkraut also contains enzymes that help your body absorb nutrients more easily. In fact, just one serving can contain up to 28 different bacterial strains that are beneficial to the body.
Studies show that probiotics also help prevent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and certain symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Promotes Heart Health
The fiber, probiotic, and vitamin K2 naturally found in sauerkraut helps lower cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, and lower the risk of developing heart disease. Vitamin K2 also helps prevent calcium deposits from accumulating in the arteries.
Strengthens the Immune System
Sauerkraut is an excellent source of probiotics, vitamin C, and iron, all of which help boost the immune system. Furthermore, sauerkraut also contributes to healthy gut flora to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and boost the production of antibodies.
Maintains Strong Bones
Sauerkraut contains vitamin K2, a nutrient that maintains strong, healthy bones. This vitamin also activates proteins that bind to calcium, the primary mineral found in bones. Various research studies report that supplementing with vitamin K2 reduced the risk of spine, hip, and non-spine fractures by up to 80%.
A three-year study in geriatric women reported that those who took vitamin K2 supplements experienced slower rates of age-related bone loss and mineral density
Certain beneficial plant compounds found in sauerkraut could help reduce the risk of cancer cells developing and spreading in the body. Research indicates that these compounds may even help reduce DNA damage, prevent cell mutations, and prevent tumor growth.
Recent studies suggest that cabbage and sauerkraut juice may also help reduce the expression of cancer-associated genes.
Researchers observed that women who ate a lot of cabbage and sauerkraut from their teens into adulthood had a lower risk of breast cancer. Another study in men found cabbage lowered their risk of developing prostate cancer.
Sauerkraut may induce inflammation locally and may result in diarrhea or allergic reactions because of its high content of histamine.
Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) can cause constipation, gases, cramping and bloating in some individuals.
Another potential side effect of sauerkraut is diarrhea. Consuming large quantities of sauerkraut could cause high amounts of raffinose in the stool, resulting in diarrhea.
Overconsumption of sauerkraut may also lead to high blood pressure, mainly due to its high salt content, which is the main preservative used in its fermentation process. If you suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, you should avoid eating too much sauerkraut or avoid it altogether.
How to Shop for the Best Sauerkraut
Avoid Pasteurized Products
Store-bought sauerkraut is usually pasteurized through a process that kills beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Refrigerated varieties are seldom pasteurized, but check the label to be sure. Avoid cooking the sauerkraut as this kills off most of the probiotics.
Buy Brands that are Free of Preservatives
Many brands of sauerkraut on the market contain preservatives, which could reduce the probiotic activity of the sauerkraut.
Shop for Brands with No Added Sugar
Sauerkraut should only contain two basic ingredients: cabbage and salt. Some varieties may also add other types of veggies, but avoid brands that add sugar to their product.
Is Sauerkraut Good for Weight Loss?
Sauerkraut is low in calories and carbs, but high in fiber, making it a great food for weight loss. Its high probiotic content may also help you lose unwanted body fat. High fiber diets keep you fuller for longer, which helps you naturally consume fewer calories overall.
Sauerkraut’s probiotics also help to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs from your diet. Research shows that people given probiotic-rich foods or supplements lose more weight than those taking a placebo.
Recent findings report that purposely overfed participants given probiotics gained nearly 50% less body fat than overfed participants given a placebo. This shows that a probiotic-rich diet could prevent weight gain, even when overconsuming calories.
Does Cooking Sauerkraut Destroy its Probiotics?
All bacteria – both beneficial and harmful – are killed off during the cooking process if you heat the veggies above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you bring sauerkraut to a boil, all the beneficial probiotics will be removed.
With that being said, one study found that even when probiotics were killed by heating they still had some benefits similar to live probiotics. According to this study, heat only killed the probiotics that prevent inflammation, but others still provided the body with health benefits.
Furthermore, if you plan to freeze sauerkraut, it will likely still contain some live bacteria when thawed.