Part of eating a nutritious diet includes making sure that you eat plenty of probiotics. While you often think of food items like yogurt for your probiotic intake, that is far from the only food from which you can get probiotics. Sauerkraut can be an excellent source, but you should know that not all store-bought sauerkraut have the probiotics that you are looking for.
Store-bought sauerkraut in a can or jar has been pasteurized, which kills off the good bacteria. It is best to buy fresh sauerkraut (made without vinegar) to reap all the health benefits. To get the probiotics that you are looking for, stick to the refrigerated options. You should specifically look for selections that say “probiotic” or “raw” on the package.
Raw, fermented sauerkraut is full of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that provide many powerful benefits for your body and brain. They help strengthen the immune system so it can fight off colds and illnesses. The gut-healthy bacteria also help promote overall digestive health, reduce depression, and promote heart health.
Does Canned or Jarred Sauerkraut Have Probiotics?
Canned and jarred sauerkraut often do not contain probiotics, due to the pasteurization and canning/jarring process. The high heat is used to not only kill the bacteria, but it is also used to make sure that the cans and jars do not explode while they are being stored. The problem is that the high heat kills off the probiotics. Another problem is that due to the nature of the canning and jarring process, there are a lot more preservatives used to keep the sauerkraut longer, which can have negative effects on your health.
The same principle applies to any fermented foods that you buy, including kimchi. Stick to the fermented foods found in the refrigerated aisle and make sure that you read the label to make sure you are purchasing the healthiest product.
Does Cooking Sauerkraut Kill the Probiotics?
Yes, cooking sauerkraut can kill probiotics, which is one reason why some sauerkraut in the stores lack the probiotics that you want. For instance, much store-bought sauerkraut is pasteurized. The heat used during the pasteurization kills off the probiotics. As you cook sauerkraut to kill the harmful bacteria, you are also killing the good beneficial bacteria. Your best bet is not to cook it to get the most nutritional benefit of the sauerkraut.
Does Rinsing Sauerkraut Reduce Probiotics?
The answer here is both yes and no. When you rinse the sauerkraut, you are losing some of the probiotics, but there will still be probiotics contained in the sauerkraut after being rinsed. There are a few reasons why people rinse their sauerkraut. Some people find the smell and flavor to be too pungent for them, so they rinse the sauerkraut to make it more palatable for them. Others rinse the sauerkraut to reduce the sodium intake from consuming this product. If you want to get the full benefit of the probiotics in sauerkraut, it’s best to leave it as is since the brine can be just as beneficial as the cabbage.
Where Can I Buy Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut?
The first thing that you should know is how to choose the right probiotics. Sauerkraut needs to be kept at a stable and cooler temperature to keep the probiotics alive. Keeping this probiotic-rich food at a steady and cooler temperature means that the most nutritious sauerkraut will be found in the refrigerated section of the store. Sauerkraut is live, which is why it needs the cool temperatures of the refrigerator. Sauerkraut that you see in the regular aisles are dead and lack the probiotics that you need. In many cases, you will notice that the best quality and most nutritious sauerkraut is in pouches rather than cans or jars.
You should also pay attention to the ingredients. Read the label and make sure that cabbage is the first ingredient listed. Other components to look for are other vegetables, spices, and salt. However, you will want to avoid any sauerkraut that contains vinegar, Sodium Benzoate/Sodium Bisulfate, any other scientific words, and sugar. Vinegar is a preservative, which means that the product has been pasteurized rather than allowing for the natural fermentation process. The ingredients should be natural and straightforward. Otherwise, the product is not as healthy as you think it is.
Fortunately, there are some great store-bought options that you can trust to have the probiotics you want. Here are my top picks for the best store-bought sauerkraut full of the gut-healthy probiotics we desire.
Bubbies is famous for its pickles but they also make amazing sauerkraut. Bubbies sauerkraut is Gluten-Free, abundant with live cultures, and absolutely delicious! Their line of products includes Kosher Dill Relish, Bread and Butter Pickles, Horseradish, and Pickled Herring Fillets. You can buy them on Amazon here.
Farmhouse Culture Kraut:
One of the great features of this brand of sauerkraut is the fact that you have several flavors of kraut from which to choose. From the packaging, you can see that it says “Probiotics” so you know that this is a product that will give you the nutritional benefit you need. Try their Classic Sauerkraut with caraway and Garlic Dill Pickle flavored kraut.
Gold Mine Sauerkraut:
Raw, organic, and full of probiotics, Gold Mine’s sauerkraut is a nutritious sauerkraut option. This organic sauerkraut is not pasteurized and is full of the living microorganisms that are essential to great probiotics. It’s carefully packaged, hand-crafted in small batches with sea salt and aged in ceramic crocks to maximize the fermentation process. According to testing, this particular sauerkraut has about 468 million CFUs of live Lactobacillus and bifid bacterium species per ¼ serving. Order it online through Amazon and they will ship it refrigerated. Gold Mine Sauerkraut at Amazon.
Sauerkraut is an excellent food to add to your diet to make sure that you get the probiotics that your body needs to thrive. Probiotics may seem like a buzzword, but these live microorganisms are incredibly helpful in ensuring that your digestive tract is working as it’s supposed to. Many problems are associated with a lack of essential probiotics in the body, which can leave you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. To choose the right sauerkraut, make sure you only select options that are raw, non-pasteurized, and found in the refrigerated aisle.