Records of sauerkraut date as far back as the 4th century BC; it was often associated with Germanic cultures, which paired it with cured meats. Not surprisingly the lead researcher of a new analysis of the fermented cabbage Christa Raak along with her co-authors is from Germany where pork with sauerkraut is a popular home-cooked meal.
But eaten alone, sauerkraut may be the perfect diet food. Rich in lactic acid bacteria as well as vitamins and minerals, fermented cabbage has so few calories, it is often considered a “free food” on a weight management plan. In other words, eat as much as you can muster until your stomach objects.
The recent study which appeared in Global Advances in Health and Medicine searched broad databases across the years for information on health properties of sauerkraut.
- Over a 90-year period from 1921 through 2012, 139 publications were found
- Nearly a quarter evaluated nutritional value
- Anticarcinogenic effects were observed
- Interaction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) was seen
- Excessive intake can result in diarrhea
The humble cabbage has extraordinary benefits.
One cup of sauerkraut (approximately 150 g) contains 32 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 35% Percent Daily Value (DV) of needed Vitamin C, 12%DV iron plus vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, and copper. The most common probiotic is Lactobacillus plantarum. Pasteurization as well as sodium benzoate preservatives kill the bacteria however. Sometimes live bacteria are added after pasteurization, so it is best check labels.
When fermented and stored without excessive heat, sauerkraut includes probiotic benefits.