You can’t get much more trendy than fermented foods these days, friendly probiotic bacteria are SOOOOOOO good for you! They keep your digestive system working smoothly, are an absolute saviour if you have bloating or diarrhea, and they are a must for keeping the bad gut bacteria in check. But did you know that eating fermented vegetables doesn’t just make you a saintly and on-point nutrition hipster? Those weirdly satisfying sour and salty side dishes can actually make you really, really good-looking.
It’s no secret that we should all be eating more vegetables so that we can be healthier and live longer. But fermenting one particular food has shown anti-ageing properties on a cellular level, not to mention that it contains a key component that can reduce skin inflammation like Rosacea!
We’re talking actually healing your skin, your body’s biggest organ, from the inside out.
Having suffered from Rosacea throughout my 20’s, I know that looking after your skin, has nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with health.
Wait, don’t go!
Have a look at what I found out, and I’m pretty sure you’ll soon be planning your own sauerkraut fermentation station just like mine.
WHY IS SAUERKRAUT GOOD FOR YOU?
Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, which is a Leafy Green Vegetable (even though it’s white), and we all know that eating more vegetables is healthy. But there’s more to it than that, so in what way is sauerkraut good for you?
Because it’s fermented.
Fermenting veggies gives them a nutrition boost that’s a really big deal when it comes to keeping your cells young and healthy, giving you that vibrant glow from the inside out.
Sauerkraut is simply cabbage which has been allowed to ferment, so that the cabbage becomes easier to digest and the natural probiotics increase to billions per serving. In fact unpasteurized sauerkraut is one of the foods highest in probiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in your digestive system as well as on your skin, which improve digestion, reduce inflammation throughout the body, and are well known to be helpful in reducing inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
What Are Probiotics Good For?
- Preventing constipation, bloating and general gut issues by balancing the good bacteria
- Supporting your immune system (aka fewer colds)
- Treating and preventing infectious diarrhea
- Relief from IBS symptoms
- Weight loss & maintenance, especially for women
- Soothing inflammatory skin conditions
A 2008 study showed that people with rosacea tended to have more bad bacteria in their digestive system than the general population, and then they showed how taking probiotic supplements for 10 days eliminated rosacea symptoms for most of them.¹
But that’s not even the half of it! According to Fertility researchers, fermented cabbage is also one of the foods highest in Polyamines.
POLYAMINES FOR HANDSOMENESS
Polyamines are proteins that are naturally produced in the body, and are involved in healthy cell growth. Their levels decline as we get older, which has been associated in research with ageing and disease.
Plant and animal experiments have shown that supplementing with polyamines can slow down the ageing process.² A diet high in polyamines can help women and men to stay fertile longer too, as it keeps those eggs and sperm young and spritely.³
Healthy cell generation is a huge part of anti-ageing and reducing the harmful effects of stresses on the body on the inside. But of course the skin is the body’s largest organ, so having good levels of polyamines has the added bonus side effect of keeping your skin healthy and glowing on the outside.
And guess which food is one of the highest natural sources of polyamines?
That’s right, sauerkraut.
HOME MADE SAUERKRAUT
Natural probiotics, especially when you’re fermenting your own veggies at home, are a lot more potent than most of the store-bought brands, especially if the store bought ones are pasteurized to kill all bacteria.
If you still want/need to buy sauerkraut that is good for you, go to a health food store and get the high end kind from the fridge with active probiotic cultures.
However I read somewhere that home made sauerkraut can be thousands of times more potent than store bought, so I decided to give it a try.
WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE SAUERKRAUT
- Sauerkraut is cheap, so very cheap
- It’s unbelievably easy to do
- Better for you than store-bought
- Tasty and easy to customize
- Guaranteed to impress your friends
WHAT IS FERMENTATION?
The first step in making your own fermented foods, according to Cultures For Health where I got my instructions, is wrapping your head around the concept.
So true. I’m not too keen on eating rotten food. How about you?
IS FERMENTATION THE SAME AS LETTING FOOD ROT?
Well apparently the answer is “yes and no”. Fermentation means slowing down the rotting process just long enough to allow the good probiotic bacteria to take hold and push out any bad bacteria.
So you get a whole pile of good bacteria breaking down the food, instead of bad bacteria rotting it.
Cabbage is the easiest vegetable to ferment, because it naturally has a lot of good bacteria already present on it which proliferate very fast, so it’s hard to screw it up.
MY HOME MADE SAUERKRAUT RECIPE
Ok, let’s do this!
Making home made sauerkraut was surprisingly easy. I read the instructions, and simply got started.
One minor flub was that I made a half batch thinking I’d start small. But let me warn you that the mashing step is a lot of work, so I’ve updated the recipe to a whole head of cabbage. That way you end up with a bigger batch (1 1/2 big mason jars) and can let your Michelle Obama arms rest in between.
Other than that bit of hard work, and the unknown of letting something sit out on your counter for days on end (and then eating it!) this was so easy. It was pretty much fool proof, and it didn’t even smell bad.
1 head of organic cabbage
3 teaspoons celtic sea salt
- chop up the cabbage into thin strips.
- add the salt.
- mash it up for 10 mins (I used both a masher and my hands) till the juice comes out.
- stuff cabbage and juice into a sterile canning jar, making sure all the cabbage is submerged in the juice, using a small jar to press the cabbage under the juice if necessary.
- Cover with a clean tea towel to let the gas out, and leave out on the counter for 3-10 days. On day 3, start tasting a bit each day until it’s as sour as you like it. Then put the lid on and keep it in the fridge to eat.
How to know if sauerkraut has gone bad
Don’t worry, rotten sauerkraut is both rare, and obvious, and after you’ve made a batch or 2 you’ll know how it’s supposed to taste.
Your sauerkraut might have gone off if it is:
- mouldy with white or black mould around the rim
- very stinky in a bad way
If that’s what you see/smell, just chuck the lot out and start again. Some say you can scrape mould off the top but I’m not a fan of that idea.
The end result was a really tasty sauerkraut that I can now add to my meals as a condiment daily, and reap all of those anti-ageing, good digestion, healthy skin benefits!
Will I do this again? You bet. I’ve already started my next batch.