Nutrition Blog: Gut Health & Sauerkraut Recipe
Within our gut and intestines there are over 100 trillion bacteria cells adding up to 1-2kg in weight. These bacteria form what is called our microbiome. This is basically a community of both good and bad bacteria with an optimal ratio of 85% friendly and 15% unfriendly. There is a connection between our gut, nervous system and brain with our gut microbiota helping to produce chemicals that affect our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Yesterday’s Fermenting Workshop focused on supporting and healing the gut with fermented foods. The fermentation process coverts sugars into lactic acid, which produces digestive enzymes and healthy gut flora. Workshop participants learnt how to make a healing turmeric tonic, kombucha, bone broth, probiotic coconut yoghurt, home made cream cheese and sauerkraut. They left with a bag of goodies (including a jar of homemade sauerkraut and a scoby to make their own kombucha) as well as the knowledge and inspiration to begin fermenting at home.
Still not sure why you would consume fermented vegetables? Here is a snippet of some of the info that went home with participants in their recipe book yesterday.
Our bodies rely on bacteria to help us digest food. In fact, a healthy human contains more bacteria cells than human cells. When our bacterial colonies become depleted because of illness or antibiotic use, we need to rebuild them. Eating live fermented foods is one way to do this. Taking probiotic supplement pills is another. Our bodies also rely on enzymes to digest and metabolize food. As heat destroys these enzymes, many people try to eat as much raw food as possible. Fermenting food is also a traditional way of preserving and avoiding wastage.
When preserving foods we rely on both bacteria and yeast. Yeasts consume sugars and produce alcohol while bacteria consume sugars, alcohol and starches and produce acids. Both alcohol and acids play roles in food preserving.
Fermented vegetables deliver some solid health benefits including providing a punch of fiber, significant amounts of vitamin C and K. It is also a boost of iron as sauerkraut boasts a diverse population of live bacteria. These probiotics replenish the good bacteria in your gut and help inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that can lead to digestive issues.
The form of iron in plants is not efficiently absorbed compared to animal sources of iron. But vitamin C significantly increases this absorption. Sauerkraut has vitamin C and also contains lactic acid, which further enhances iron absorption.
RECIPE for SAUERKRAUT (1 Litre)
* 1 L glass jar sterilized (10-20 minutes in the oven)
* 1 kg cabbage processed into fine strips (food processor is easiest)
* 1-tablespoon sea salt (add more if not enough juice) or 2 tablespoons of whey
* 1-tablespoon dill or caraway seeds (optional)
- Mix the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Add the dill or caraway seeds if you like. You now need to crush the cabbage mixture until it starts becoming juicy. Really get into it… you want lots of juices! You can massage the mixture with your hands or pound it with a meat tenderizer.
- Tightly pack the cabbage into a jar and ensure the top layer is submerged in the cabbage juices. Lightly put the lid on and set in a cool-ish dark cupboard for 5-10 days. Check everyday to make sure the top of the cabbage is submerged in the juices/brine. This may take longer in cooler weather.
- Move to the fridge when it is to taste and it will continue to ferment while you enjoy eating it!
With this warmer weather approaching it is the perfect time to start fermenting! If you are keen to jump onto the next fermenting workshop email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.