A good gut feeling really can be at the bottom of a jar
If you’re just starting to branch out into sauerkraut and kimchi, you might be asking yourself “is sauerkraut good for you?”
We’ve been long-time lovers of this fermented dish, not only because it tastes great and is such a versatile addition to any meal, but also because it has a wide range of health benefits.
Probiotics are a bit of a hot topic at the moment, with kombucha and kefir coming to the forefront of health stores – and for good reason!! Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in your gut, and keep it healthy and happy. There’s a reason the gut is called the “second brain”, as studies have shown much of your mood and physical wellbeing can be attributed to your gut health. Sauerkraut and kimchi are a great source of probiotics, and something of a heavyweight in this department. Just make sure that the sauerkraut you’re buying is in the chilled section of the supermarket! Any sauerkraut that isn’t chilled has been pasteurized, which can kill off most the good bacteria in it.
We all know vitamin C is important for our immunity and overall health. As soon as we get a tingling in our throat, we reach for vitamin C tablets in the hope it will ward off the ills and chills. Even Captain Cook saw the benefit of vitamin C, and was the first to discover it warded off scurvy onboard long voyages! But oranges aren’t going to last a trip across the seven seas, so instead Captain Cook turned to good old sauerkraut – it lasted longer and was packed full of vitamin C, so him and his shipmates could explore more of that vitamin Sea!
When we think of iron we think of big, bloody slabs of steak, or potentially large piles of leafy greens. Alternatively, you might think of iron supplements or spirulina powder, to help keep your iron intake high enough. What you might not necessarily realise, is that sauerkraut and kimchi are also a source of iron! Although the amount of iron in sauerkraut is about 1.5mg per 100g, what makes sauerkraut a notable source of iron is the vitamin C we mentioned earlier. If you look at packs of iron tablets, you’ll see that many of them are fortified with vitamin C. This is due to it being fundamental to the absorption of iron. Because sauerkraut is such a wonderful source of vitamin C, it means you are more likely to enjoy the full benefits of the iron in it too!
This might not be something you’re quite as familiar with as probiotics, vitamin C, and iron, but it’s vital to the absorption of all of them. Bioavailability, put simply, is how easy it is to absorb and enjoy the full benefits of the food you are eating. One of the major factors preventing our bodies from absorbing all the nutrients we put in them is the treacherous journey down the digestive tract. Lucky for kraut and kimchi lovers, studies have shown that fermented foods are far more likely than others to survive this journey, so your gut can absorb all the goodness you give it.
So yes, without a doubt, sauerkraut and kimchi rocks!
* Thank you to bunnyeatsdesign on Instagram for the lovely image of her hotdogs and our kraut we used for this blog post. You can find her on Instagram here.