Is sauerkraut a miracle health and beauty food?

sauerkraut in jar - Is sauerkraut a miracle health and beauty food?

Raw sauerkraut is touted by many for its digestive-health benefits.

When I heard nutritionist Kimberly Snyder describe raw sauerkraut as an über probiotic in her book, The Beauty Detox Solution; I had to find out: Is sauerkraut a miracle health and beauty food?

At the risk of over-sharing, I’m someone who struggles with chronic constipation related to irritable bowel syndrome. It seems to be a common ailment for women in their middle years. U.S. studies estimate about 75 per cent of sufferers in that country are women, and most are aged 30 to 50.

Yet I’ve never taken medication for it, preferring to go the natural route. Thus I’ve become a fan of probiotics, those micro-organisms touted to be miracles for digestion.

I’ve written about Snyder previously, being a fan of her green smoothie, and was therefore open to hearing about her sauerkraut solution.

I must admit I’ve never been drawn to the food: How good can something taste that translates as “sour cabbage”? But according to Snyder, raw sauerkraut, which she’s adapted in a version she calls Probiotic and Enzyme Salad, helps digestion and elimination, aids in detoxifying and losing weight, and with the reduction in toxins, even energizes and helps improve skin and hair. After reading that, I decided to give the lowly cabbage a try. So, a couple of weeks ago I made Snyder’s recipe, which I’ve adapted below:

cabbage and ginger

Cabbage and ginger are two of only four ingredients that comprise nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s Probiotic and Enzyme Salad.

Probiotic and enzyme salad (raw sauerkraut)

You’ll need four 24-ounce (710 ml) or three 32-ounce (946 ml) sterilized glass jars.

Base ingredients

1 medium green cabbage, shredded

6 large whole outer cabbage leaves

Brine ingredients

4 cups (1000 ml) water

4 inches (2 cm) gingerroot, peeled and grated

1 tbsp (15 ml) unpasteurized miso paste


Place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl (using a food processor for shredding is highly recommended). Use a blender to blend the liquid brine mixture until smooth, and pour over cabbage. Mix very well. Use a wooden spoon to pack the mixture tightly into the glass jars. Leave two inches (5 cm) at the top of the jars so the salad has room to expand. Fold the outer cabbage leaves into very tight rolls. Place a few rolls on top of the mixture in each jar to fill the two-inch space. Close tightly.

Leave jars for five days at room temperature. Then, remove the top cabbage leaves and discard. Put jars into the fridge (which slows down fermentation). Bubbling is a good sign that the probiotics are active. Once the seal has been broken on each jar the salad will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

If you don’t want to go the DIY route, you could also try raw sauerkraut from a health food store. (Snyder cautions against most supermarket brands as they’re high in sodium and the probiotics have been removed through pasteurization.)

The results

While the sauerkraut isn’t difficult to make, I did find it a chore due to the chopping. Note to self: get a food processor…

At first I found the salad disappointingly bland. My initial thought was that Snyder’s recipe needed more moisture, gingerroot and wasabi paste. Then, in writing this, I realized the chef I need to criticize is me. Snyder’s recipe calls for miso paste, not wasabi paste (d’oh!). (I’ve listed the correct ingredients above.)

However, after a couple of weeks of storage in the fridge, the sauerkraut, even with its misfit ingredient, is moister and tangier. Raw cabbage apparently has probiotic properties on its own, so even without the miso, my “off” recipe should still have medicinal benefits.

As for any physical improvements, the jury is still out. Snyder recommends eating at least a half cup every day at dinner, and at lunch, too, if possible. I admit I’ve been doing only once a day and have skipped days as well.

In the first week I was frustrated to actually feel more bloated than usual. However, I went back to Snyder’s book and read that she claims the salad attacks toxic sludge and loosens hard fecal matter (how’s that for a visual…) As a result of this detoxification process, Snyder says it’s normal to temporarily feel more bloated.

The verdict

I’m happy to report the bloating has improved. But my hair still isn’t Pantene-commercial material and my skin is about the same as it was before the cabbage cure.

Is sauerkraut a miracle health and beauty food? I don’t know about that, but I’m going to stick with it until my jars are done and eat them as Snyder prescribes.

And if the bloating and other joys of IBS continue to improve, I’m going to get chopping again…with all the right ingredients this time.

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Posted in Beauty foods

4 Responses to Is sauerkraut a miracle health and beauty food?

  1. roy says:

    I love sauerkraut cooked and raw remember to get the bagged type in the meat depth. If you want to have good hair and skin coconut oil is great.I love to take hot showers so I need all the help I can get. I use refinrd (cheaper) on the outside and organic unrefined on the inside. You can’t soften or melt the oil in the microwave on defrost .

  2. Laura says:

    You don’t mention adding water to the jar?

    • TracyHoward says:

      Hi Laura:

      Thanks for your question! There are four cups of water in the liquid brine mixture that is poured over cabbage before it’s placed in the jars. I did find the result of this recipe a little dry, however, so perhaps adding some additional water to the jars is a good idea!

  3. amanda says:

    Cabbage will create its own brine when combined with salt. I’m guessing the miso paste is taking the place of the sea salt in the recipe, which would have worked with the cabbage to release the natural brine. That much water would really not be needed and would dilute the sauerkraut tremendously. The ginger is a great add and helps greatly starting the fermentation in the recipe!

    Your relief from the cabbage isn’t as quick with that much water diluting the fermentation process. I’d suggest mixing the cabbage with the ginger and miso and really pounding it and squeezing it in a bowl for at least 15 minutes overall. You’ll start to see the natural brine and shouldn’t need much water after it sits. Cram it all into a jar and the juices should cover it!

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