Sauerkraut doesn’t just have a unique, tart, tangy flavor; it also provides a number of health benefits. One big benefit is that sauerkraut contains good bacteria (probiotics) to help balance your gut microbiome and increase the number of good bacteria compared to opportunistic bacteria throughout your digestive system. This is especially helpful if you’ve taken antibiotics or been under a lot of stress.
The bacteria in your intestines affects your mood, metabolism, energy levels, hormone production, immune system, and more. When these microorganisms are out of balance, you’ll likely feel the effects in more ways than one. Eating sauerkraut supplies live advantageous bacteria to your gut. But there are lots of other benefits of eating sauerkraut on the keto diet.
What Is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage believed to have originated in China over 2,000 years ago, although the word sauerkraut is German, and this side dish is especially popular in Germany. Some researchers believe sauerkraut has been part of the European diet since the 4th century BC. It’s a favored food on the paleo diet because of its long history. 
Because sauerkraut is just fermented cabbage, it’s low in carbs, like many other cruciferous vegetables, and suitable for your ketogenic diet. One cup of sauerkraut only has around 2 grams of net carbs. 
What sets sauerkraut apart from regular cabbage is the fermentation process. Before freezers and refrigerators, humans often used fermentation to preserve their foods. Fermentation is a preservation method that naturally changes the chemical structure of food to make it more resistant to spoilage and rich in probiotics (beneficial bacteria).
During fermentation, bacteria and yeast convert carbs, such as starch and sugar, into alcohol or acids, which are natural preservatives that also give fermented foods their tart flavor. Sauerkraut involves a type of fermentation called lactic acid fermentation, where lactic acid is produced that prevents harmful yeast and bacteria from growing and increases the bioavailability of nutrients.
What Are the Benefits of Sauerkraut on Keto?
Sauerkraut contains vitamin C, K1, and B6, manganese, copper, and more. Cabbage is a nutritious, keto-friendly food to begin with, but sauerkraut offers additional health benefits due to the fermentation process.
You have ten times more microorganisms in your gut than you have cells in your body. Consuming fermented foods has been shown to improve digestion, symptoms like gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal diseases, and the microbial balance of your gut. Fermentation makes foods more digestible and assists your digestive system in absorbing important health-promoting vitamins and minerals. 
Advantageous bacteria in your intestinal system are the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and toxins. Probiotics could prevent or reduce antibiotic-provoked diarrhea. 
Eating the wide variety of probiotic strains found in sauerkraut may offer varying advantages. Research reveals one serving of sauerkraut may contain up to 28 distinct bacterial strains.  In fact, fermented foods as a whole are very beneficial.
Boosts Immune Function
Sauerkraut supports your immune system by improving your microbiome and gut health. Research shows that regularly consuming probiotic foods like sauerkraut could decrease your risk of developing infections, for instance, urinary tract infections and the common cold. Probiotic-rich foods could help you recover faster if you get sick. 
The nutrients and vitamin C in sauerkraut also act as immune boosters.
Good for Weight Loss
Sauerkraut is rich in fiber, probiotics, and nutrients but low in carbohydrates and calories. The fiber and nutrients keep you feeling fuller for longer, which is excellent news when you’re trying to lose weight on keto.
Good for Brain Function
Your mood affects what you eat and vice versa. Your gut and brain communicate, and the bacteria in your gut may have the ability to send messages to your brain and influence how it functions.
Because sauerkraut and fermented foods contribute to healthier gut flora, they could also contribute to a better mood and reduced stress. Scientists have proven that probiotics can improve memory and help ease symptoms of autism, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 
Sauerkraut ramps up mineral absorption, which could increase brain health. Some minerals like zinc and magnesium help regulate your mood.
The compounds in fermented cabbage could lessen DNA damage, prevent cell mutations, and block excessive cell growth. Particular plant compounds created during the cabbage fermentation process may suppress the growth of precancerous cells. 
Studies indicate cabbage and sauerkraut juice could lower cancer risk by reducing the expression of genes linked to cancer. You can find plenty more studies on how sauerkraut and fermented foods may be beneficial for preventing cancer. 
Including Sauerkraut in Your Ketogenic Diet
You can easily find sauerkraut in most grocery stores, but not all types are the same. Avoid preservatives, added sugars, and pasteurized varieties (pasteurizing kills the probiotics). You can also make sauerkraut at home.
Store your sealed, unopened jar of sauerkraut in a cool, dry place, and be sure to reseal and refrigerate after opening. You can typically store sauerkraut in your fridge for several months.
Enjoy these Ketogenic.com recipes featuring sauerkraut:
Steph Green is a content writer specializing in and passionate about healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. Steph has worked with marketing agencies, written medical books for doctors like ‘Untangling the Web of Dysfunction,’ and her poetry book ‘Words that Might Mean Something.’ In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.
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