What do the armies of Genghis Kahn, Colonial Era navies, and those who labored on the Great Wall of China have in common? The consumption of sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is made by pickling cabbage in a process called lacto-fermentation. The process is a fairly simple one. To start the fermentation process, one only has to add salt to shredded cabbage.
The finished product, sauerkraut, can last for months unrefrigerated, which is probably one reason the armies of Genghis Kahn, Colonial Era navies, and those who labored on the Great Wall of China ate it regularly.
Scurvy, caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C, was a huge problem for colonial era navies and explorers. It was a problem largely solved by carrying plenty of sauerkraut on long voyages. Not only could sauerkraut keep for months at varying temperatures, but it also contained significant amounts of vitamin C, which helped colonial era navies and explorers stay out at sea for longer periods of time.
However, a long shelf life and significant levels of vitamin C were only the most obvious benefits.
Sauerkraut is loaded with healthy bacteria called probiotics, a result of lacto-fermentation. Its also loaded with enzymes that aid digestion and promote nutrient assimilation.
When you are eating a poor diet like the ones sailors, laborers, and soldiers ate in times past, a fermented food like sauerkraut could literally be a lifesaver.
While we dont have to worry about scurvy today, many people suffer from poor digestive health. Whether its a poor diet, a lack of contact with beneficial bacteria, or both, many people today lack healthy gut flora and suffer from a whole host of digestive issues.
This is where sauerkraut comes in to play. Not only is sauerkraut loaded with vitamins like vitamin C, and Vitamin K, but it can also help many of our digestive problems and leave us with healthier guts.
Here are three reasons you should eat sauerkraut on the regular basis.
1) Sauerkraut will help you reestablish and maintain healthy gut flora.
The majority of our immunity takes place in our guts, and it all starts with friendly bacteria. Sauerkraut is teeming with lactobacillus bacteria, far more than exists in yogurt. Sauerkraut is also far cheaper than taking probiotics, making it a great natural supplement.
Just be sure and buy unpasteurized sauerkraut, as the pasteurization of sauerkraut kills off the healthy bacteria.
2) Sauerkraut is loaded with enzymes that aid digestion and help assimilate nutrients.
Enzymes help the body break down and properly digest food. Eating sauerkraut with a meal will boost your bodys ability to properly digest its contents and will help ensure proper absorption of nutrients.
3) Sauerkraut can help eliminate heartburn.
Contrary to what many people think, heartburn is not caused by having too much stomach acid, but not enough stomach acid. Having too little stomach acid is an imbalance that can lead to some pretty uncomfortable moments post meal. However, its an imbalance that can be corrected, and sauerkraut can help.
Along with digestive enzymes, sauerkraut is acidic enough to help aid the stomach in acid production, thus reducing or even eliminating episodes of heartburn.
Sauerkraut may also help fight cancer. During the fermenting process cabbage produces isothiocyanates, which have been shown to remove carcinogens from the body, suppress tumors, and induce programed cell death in cancer cells. They also show strong anti-inflammatory properties, which may help lower disease risk.
Sauerkraut is an excellent natural supplement, it provides probiotics, enzymes, and helps with heartburn. And unlike many of the over-the-counter drugs used to treat heartburn, there is no acid rebound with sauerkraut.
To receive all of these health benefits, remember to purchase unpasteurized sauerkraut, otherwise your sauerkraut will be devoid of any enzymes or healthy bacteria.