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Cabbage provides more medicinal value than any other food available to us. It was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. in the form of wild cabbage, similar to kale and collards. Nobody is sure how and when exactly we got the heads of cabbage that we’re familiar nowadays, but we know that cultivation of wild cabbage started in Northern Europe and spread throughout Russia, Poland and Germany. Early German settlers brought both cabbage and the recipe to prepare sauerkraut to the New World.
Sauerkraut is not only a delicious wintertime condiment, but also a real storehouse of vitamins and minerals. It’s basically a fermented cabbage, very easy to make. You shred the cabbage, add salt and leave everything to ferment for a while. Sauerkraut has a long shelf life; it can survive without refrigeration for several months.
Sauerkraut is full of fiber, B, C and K vitamins. It also contains some iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium, as well as calcium. One serving gives you roughly 30% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. This is amazing, since vitamin C is the number one go-to antioxidant. It fights free radicals and boosts the immune system, among many other benefits. It’s basically a shield for our bodies from all the toxins we encounter on daily basis, preventing cell damage, and helping our skin to produce collagen.
Vitamin K is essential for good bone and teeth health because it helps the body to regulate where the calcium goes. Vitamin K directs the calcium to go where it’s most needed. It can’t be emphasized enough how important vitamin K is. Besides its contribution to the health of bone tissue, it’s extremely beneficial against cancer, and it limits damage to brain cells which often leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Last, but not least, and this is the most obvious benefit… Because it’s fermented, sauerkraut is a potent source of probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in your intestines. The gut is the place where most of the immune system resides, so it’s extremely important to keep the gut flora healthy and balanced. These bacteria help to keep the body healthy from any possible toxic food that enters the body, and of course, aid digestion.
In the second part of the article, we’ll talk more about the benefits of pickling and provide a recipe for a healthy and easy to make condiment that you’ll love. It’s very important to think about your health. Always aim to make your own salads and condiments, rather than buying already prepared pasteurized ones full of preservatives. Fermented or not, cabbage is amazing and we should consume it as much as possible.