Sauerkraut is a German word meaning "sour weed" and is a form of finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented in acids. Sauerkraut contains vitamins and nutrients that provide potential health benefits that can help boost your immune system and may help protect against some diseases. Sauerkraut juice is the liquid that is extracted from the cabbage leaves and used as a nutritional supplement for its potential health benefits. As with all nutritional supplements, consult your physician before using sauerkraut juice.
The water extracted from the fermented cabbage that makes up sauerkraut contains many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C boosts your immune system through its powerful antioxidant effects, which help increase the production of lymphatic cells that fight of bacteria and infections. Vitamin C also has the ability to neutralize free radicals, toxic compounds that can be harmful to your health. Sauerkraut juice also contains trace amounts of vitamins A, B, and K, which may also have immune system-stimulating properties.
Sauerkraut is fermented in an acidic mixture containing a bacteria called Lactobacilli plantarum, or Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is considered a probiotic that can promote healthy bacteria growth in your gastrointestinal tract. Healthy bacteria in your intestines can help protect your body from the absorption of potentially harmful chemicals and bacteria, such as the dangerous E. coli and Salmonella bacterium. Sauerkraut has also been used as a digestive aid, easing symptoms associated with indigestion such as upset stomach and nausea, as noted in "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide."
Several compounds found in sauerkraut juice may provide protection against cancer including Lactobacillus, isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane. A study conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and UCLA in 2009 indicates that Lactobacillus may protect against the formation of tumors and may have additional anti-cancer benefits. Isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane may inhibit the expression of carcinogens and the formation of cancerous tumors, which may reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, according to a 1994 article in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America."
Sauerkraut juice may help treat the symptoms of the flu by boosting your immune system function and reducing fever, according to "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide." Karen Herzog reports in "The Seattle Times" (November 7, 2005) that sauerkraut may serve as a useful treatment of the symptoms associated with the avian, or bird, flu. Sauerkraut juice has also been used as a common home remedy for canker sores on the inside of your cheeks. Swishing the juice in your mouth without swallowing several times a day may ease the pain associated with canker sores and increase their healing rate.
- "Food and Agriculture Organization"; Bacterial Fermentations
- "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide"; Louise Tenney; 2007
- "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America"; Anticarcinogenic Activities Of Sulforaphane And Structurally Related Synthetic Norbornyl Isothiocyanates; Y. Zhang et al.; 1994
- "Gastroenterology"; Saccharomyces boulardii Inhibits EGF Receptor Signaling and Intestinal Tumor Growth in Apcmin Mice; X. Chen et al.; 2009
- "The Seattle Times"; Is Sauerkraut A New Weapon Against Bird Flu?; Karen Herzog; 2005
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.