Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria and has a long shelf-life. To prepare it, you need to add a lot of salt on the cut cabbage first, then place them in plastic tubs, pour water over them and leave them to ferment. Through this process, the digestibility of cabbage is significantly improved and its vitamin C content is also increased. Besides this vitamin, fermentation gives cabbage numerous useful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-cancer substances.
Sauerkrauts’ Anti-Cancer Properties
Fresh cabbage is rich in glucosinolates which increase its anti-cancer properties. The vegetable also contains substances that inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, but they are usually eliminated during cooking or fermentation. According to a 2002 Finnish study, during fermentation, cabbage produces rare substances that can protect your body from cancer.
Scientists have discovered that the vegetable contains a great number of substances that belong to the group of isothiocyanates. Many studies have confirmed that these substances can prevent the formation and growth of breast cancer cells, besides preventing the spread of stomach, lung and liver cancer. Scientists have shown that during the process of fermentation special enzymes are released which further break down the glucoisonolates to isothiocyanates, which are known to have powerful anti-cancer properties. The study has also shown that isothiocyanates destroy cancer by making the cancer cells self-destruct.
Sauerkraut Improves Digestion
Besides its anti-cancer properties, sauerkraut can also regulate the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. It is one of the rare ingredients which contains the probiotic bacterium Lactobacilli Plantarum. This bacterium is very beneficial and produces a lactic acid that can improve your digestion in many ways:
- It is involved in the synthesis of antioxidants which fight free radicals in the body;
- Improves the function of the immune system by increasing the number of antibodies in your body;
- Neutralizes antinutritive substances;
- Inhibits the development and growth of bacteria such as E. Coli, salmonella as well as fungal infections.