What is Sauerkraut and its Benefits as many people do not know about this? A genius must have thought of this wonderful way of preserving the goodness of cabbage for months on end. In traditional European sauerkraut, raw cabbage is finely shredded and layered in a stone crock, with sea salt and spices such as juniper berries; each layer is pressed firmly down.
By the time the crock is full, the cabbage juices have fermented to produce that soured taste that you either love or loathe. All over Europe for many centuries’ sauerkraut was a dietary staple of the poor peasantry. This is a good way of preserving the autumn glut of cabbages so that they could go on being eaten through the lean months of winter.
Sauerkraut can truly be called a wonder food: since the enzymes and vitamin C of cabbage are well-preserved in it, it must have saved millions from death or debility from scurvy. It was sauerkraut that made possible the long voyages of Captain Cook and the astonishing empire-building feats of the Dutch in the 17th century.
The Dutch merchant ships were well supplied with sauerkraut for long voyages to the Far East and the Americas, while the crews of Holland’s commercial rivals at sea were dying of scurvy. Apart from its value as a source of vitamin C, sauerkraut is also rich in calcium. A boon for poor people who could not afford quantities of milk and cheese in their diet or and in potassium, vital for the efficient functioning of our cells.
Sauerkraut is traditionally a medicine as well, both preventive and curative. Dyspepsia, arthritis, colds, indigestion, stomach ulcers, skin problems — all were treated with sauerkraut, and it was often extraordinarily effective. We now know why. Teeming millions of bacteria live in our digestive tract.
Some of them are benevolent and useful: others are less welcome guests since they may proliferate to produce putrefaction in the gut. When these bacteria get the upper hand, the result, as Swedish-American naturopath Dr. Paave Airola has pointed out, will be sluggish bowels and constipation.
The toxins or poisons formed by bacterial metabolism and putrefaction remain in the intestines. Therefore, as a result of prolonged constipation, are absorbed by the bloodstream and accordingly poison the whole organism. These toxins brewing in our gut and circulating from there all around the body prepare the ground for a number of serious diseases.
Not for sauerkraut eaters, though the lactic acid that forms in the cabbage, during the long process of fermentation does a wonderful clean-up job in the digestive tract. The benevolent bacteria multiply, but they kill the excess putrefactive bacteria to produce a healthy colon once more.