Sauerkraut, that familiar hot dog condiment, may not have the beauty of garnet-colored raspberries or the sweet, refreshing flavor of tropical fruits. But the latest scientific research tells us that freshly-made organic sauerkraut is a true superfood that boosts the immune system, promotes intestinal health, and helps to prevent cancer in many ways.
How does sauerkraut prevent cancer?
Cabbage, the cruciferous vegetable from which sauerkraut is made, is already valued by natural food experts and nutritionists for its sky-high amounts of anticarcinogenic bioactive compounds. In fact, the glucosinolates in cabbage help to activate the body’s own antioxidants – which in turn fight the lipid oxidation and inflammation that can trigger cancer and heart disease.
Additionally, the process of lacto-fermentation involved in turning cabbage to sauerkraut produces beneficial bacteria and unleashes even more potent anti-inflammatory cancer-fighting substances – taking the health benefits to a whole new level and helping to ward off cancers of the prostate, bladder and breast.
Lactic fermentation helps to ward off cancer
According to author and natural health expert Sandor Ellix Katz, the process of lactic fermentation not only preserves the nutrients in food, but breaks them down so they are even more healthful and easily digested. But what, exactly, is lactic fermentation, and why is it beneficial?
Although the term sounds somewhat technical, it is actually the natural result of layering shredded cabbage in water with salt, then letting existing bacteria on the cabbage do the work. The end product – sauerkraut – contains more live probiotic cultures than yogurt.
One result of lacto-fermentation is to create large amounts of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria, which support friendly flora in the intestinal tract. Another is the release of isothiocyanate compounds, from existing glucosinolate; it is these isothiocyanates that have shown such pronounced anticarcinogenic effects in cell, laboratory and human studies.
Article from Natural Health 365, April 27, 2014, by Karen Sanders.