Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

Some of the health benefits of sauerkraut include its ability to increase your digestive health, boost your circulation, protect your heart health, provide you with quick energy, stimulate your immune system, strengthen your bones, reduce your overall cholesterol levels, eliminate inflammation, protect against certain cancer, and even improve your vision and skin health.

Although as a child, you may not have liked the taste or smell of sauerkraut (I know I didn’t), this slightly unique form of finely cut cabbage can be a major source of health benefits for you! Basically, sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented, which is where the distinct sour taste comes from.

It is popularly used as a side dish or even as a condiment in certain cultures, which can be added to sausage or hot dogs. Fermented foods are commonly found in cultures throughout the world, but sauerkraut is one that has managed to find a global market, and is popular throughout Europe, Asia, and America.

SauerkrautHistorical records point to its origin being somewhere in China, having been brought to Europe at some point during the Roman Empire. Pickled or fermented foods like sauerkraut were very valuable in the era before refrigeration, as it allowed food to stay fresh during long journeys. Many people now associate sauerkraut with Eastern European countries and Germany, which does feature it heavily in certain cultural dishes, but it is truly an international favorite.

The fermentation process of sauerkraut is similar to the process of making kimchi or pickles, meaning that heat is not applied during the process, as this will kill the bacteria that makes the fermentation process possible. Besides being a delicious addition to a number of meals, sauerkraut also makes for a health addition to any diet. Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional elements that make this “sour cabbage” so important!

Nutritional Value of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut contains high levels of dietary fiber, as well as significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. Furthermore, it is a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, in addition to contributing a moderate amount of protein to your diet.

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

Energy Production: The high levels of iron found in cabbage (sauerkraut) can be very beneficial for the body in a variety of ways. First of all, iron helps to contribute to energy production, as it increases the body’s metabolism and also boosts circulation, which increases oxygenation of organs and cells. This increased blood flow is a result of more RBC, of which iron is a key component. High iron levels helps prevent anemia (iron deficiency) and the side effects associated with that condition (headaches, fatigue, cognitive impairment).

Digestive Health: Cabbage is famed for its high fiber content, which is well known as one of the key points in any diet for the benefit of digestive health. Sauerkraut obviously shares this benefit, and can help to move food through the bowels, eliminating constipation, bloating, cramping, and excessive gas along the way. By regulating your digestive and excretory system, you can also prevent more serious conditions, like gastric ulcers and even colon cancer.

Heart Health: Fiber may be commonly consumed for digestive health, but it is also very important for the health of your heart. Fiber is able to scrape off dangerous cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels by binding with the fats and cholesterol and removing them from the body. Therefore, less cholesterol enters the bloodstream and your overall cholesterol level is balanced. This can prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and a variety of other cardiovascular issues.

Eye and Skin Health: Sauerkraut also contains quite a few carotenes and a significant amount of vitamin A. This essential vitamin acts as an antioxidant, as do the carotenes, and eliminate free radicals from the body’s systems, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate. Sauerkraut has been linked to improved eye health, as vitamin A reduces the chances of macular degeneration and cataract formation. Furthermore, in terms of the skin, vitamin A helps to maintain the integrity of your skin, slowing down the appearance of wrinkles, eliminate blemishes, and generally keeping your skin looking young and healthy, thanks to the free-radical neutralizing powers of sauerkraut!

sauerkrautinfoImmune System Booster: As most people know, when you’re feeling under the weather, have some orange juice, as it’s such a rich source of vitamin C. Well, a single serving of sauerkraut has 35% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which is one of the most important elements of our immune system.

Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and increases cellular regeneration and repair, while also playing a key role in the formation of collagen, a foundational component for almost every part of our body, including organs, blood vessels, skin, hair, muscles, and bones.

Inflammation Reduction: If the many vitamins and minerals present in sauerkraut weren’t enough, there are also certain organic compounds found in this cabbage variant that work as anti-inflammatory agents. Phytonutrient antioxidants contained in sauerkraut can double as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the pain and discomfort of joints, muscles, or other inflamed areas.

Cancer Prevention: Although research is still underway to reveal the exact impact of sauerkraut on cancerous cells, the presence of antioxidant compounds in sauerkraut (as with all cruciferous vegetables) means that free radicals can be eliminated, which are one of the main causes behind cancerous cell formation.

Strong Bones: The wide range of minerals found in sauerkraut make it ideal for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. The high level of vitamin K (23% of daily recommended intake in a single serving), which is a somewhat uncommon mineral, is particularly important for maintaining the integrity and strength of your bones, as vitamin K produces the proteins that regulate bone mineralization!

A Final Word of Warning: Despite all of these health benefits, sauerkraut is very high in sodium, which can be a dangerous dietary addition to people suffering from various cardiovascular and renal diseases. Speak to your doctor about an appropriate level of sauerkraut consumption if you suffer from these types of health concerns.

What do you think?

  • Lynne Marton

    I was just having some salami and sauerkraut and I was curious if there was any substantial nutritional value and exactly what it was. I knew there was iron, fiber, Vit C and Vit A, but I didn’t know about the rest. I LOVE sauerkraut – now I really don’t have to feel guilty about eating it as often as I’d like to…..well, maybe a little bit??? Thanks!!

  • Alisha Walker

    affirmation that my favorite food (one of them) is good for me. Thanks for the article.

  • KarateChopp

    This is my Chinese family’s recipe for Stir Fried Sauerkraut. Drain and rinse 1 large bottle commercial Sauerkraut & squeeze out much of the liquid. In nonstick pan, melt 1 Tbs. Organic Butter. Add 2 large, finely diced cloves of garlic and sautee until clear. Add Sauerkraut and sir fry. Sprinkle 2 tsp. Soy Sauce then 2 Tbs. Brown Sugar while continuously stir frying. Continue to stir fry over Medium-High heat then remove from heat once everything incorporated well and sugar is dissolved. Yummy.

    • Stoical1

      Yes, but probiotics are killed.

  • epoo

    imagine asking your doctor how much sauerkraut you should eat…

    • Steph Sibbio

      hahaha.. what a joke

    • Stoical1

      Why to ask doctor, better ask a dietitian. But doctors also know such things, most likely would tell to avoid eating suerkraut when someone has an illness in which lw salt is recomended. It is also easy to find daily recommended value, no need to ask doctor: one quarter cup drained sauerkraut has c. 239 milligram sodium, one cup has c. 940 miligram sodium , it is c. 63% of daily recommendation.

    • Stoical1

      And why not, if someone has an illness which can get worse when eating sodium, need to be on low sodium diet, doctors know what a person can or can’t eat.

  • Tom

    I had no idea that fiber was in your blood!!!!! Was that a typo? i was taught that firber moved through your digestive tract.

  • Jane Swan

    Every time I have used your site and I have often, I have learned more than I thought I might. I am very grateful for whom ever is doing this work and offering it to us.

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