By Kerri Knox, RN
With the advent of refrigeration and airline flights, getting and storing fresh vegetables year round is not something most people have to be concerned about. But before cold storage and long haul shipping was commonplace, vegetables spoiled very quickly and only creative solutions kept vegetables fresh for more than a few days after ripening. Sauerkraut is one solution to this problem that not only keeps vegetables fresh for months on end, but also confers exciting health benefits in the form of probiotics and nutrients that the plant in its natural form doesn’t have.
Sauerkraut and its spicier Asian cousin Kim Chee are age old superfoods that are beginning to make a comeback due to their unique taste and benefits of ‘good bacteria’. Fresh cabbage is already pre-populated with the bacteria required to lactoferment itself. It’s easy to see how our ancestors might have first discovered this tasty side dish after a forgotten dish of cabbage was found after a few weeks left in a corner. While the process of allowing a cabbage to sit for weeks may not sound appetizing, this fermentation process is accomplished with lactic acid bacteria digesting the sugar of the cabbage in a process similar to how yogurt is made. Like yogurt, the fermentation process makes cabbage healthier and more digestible than the plant in its original form. In addition to creating a naturally occurring probiotic supplement, fermentation adds other nutritional benefits as well. Cabbage in its raw form contains substances called ‘goitrogens’ that can block the production of thyroid hormone, but goitrogens are reduced or eliminated through the fermentation process. Another ‘bonus’ of eating sauerkraut is that it is higher in B vitamins than cabbage, particularly in vitamin B12, making sauerkraut a perfect food for vegans.
Read full post at Natural News