My 2024 Resolution: To eat sauerkraut daily

January is here and I am wishing a happy new year to anyone reading this.

The Skin Elixir blog is having a bit of a revamp, as from now there will be a distinct focus and theme every month. This month with all the talk of 'new year, new me' it's all about skin health and radiance.

I told myself I wouldn't make any resolutions for 2024 because, well you know they are not the easiest things to maintain! Who wants to fall at the first hurdle... that said I am committing to one thing. Having come across a video proclaiming the benefits of eating cabbage (and reading the anecdotes) and further investigation I've decided to make sauerkraut and cabbage juice an absolute main stay of my daily food regime. This is all because of Sauerkraut's potential for addressing osteoarthritis. If you've familiar with the Skin Elixir Wellness Wednesday newsletter then you'll know I have this in my big toe caused by wear and tear (being stood on more than once!!).

I know I am not the only one out there with joint pain so for the sake of any of you with chronic inflammation you may wish to read on.

Sauerkraut's potential benefits for addressing osteoarthritis are primarily attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties and its high content of antioxidants and probiotics.

The more I read the more convincing and powerful an antidote cabbage appears and that with regular consumption of this humble vegetable results can can be nothing short of transformational. We all know how stressful pain can be and how that can easily show up outwardly on the face.

Let's take a dive into 3 key reasons sauerkraut which is simply put chopped cabbage with massaged salt left in an airtight glass jar to lacto ferment - has such powerhouse potential as a health tonic:

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

Sauerkraut is rich in compounds produced during the fermentation process, such as lactic acid, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is a key factor in the development and progression of osteoarthritis, and consuming anti-inflammatory foods like sauerkraut can help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.

2. Antioxidant content

 Sauerkraut contains antioxidants, including vitamin C, which helps neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. In osteoarthritis, oxidative stress can contribute to joint damage, and the antioxidants in sauerkraut are showing real promise in helping protect against this damage. These nutrients help to combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation at a cellular level.

3. Probiotics

 The probiotics found in sauerkraut support a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn can help reduce systemic inflammation. This may have a positive impact on the symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis as there is a growing body of science showing how inflammation starts with dysbiosis. Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the microbial community that inhabits the human body, particularly the gastrointestinal tract. This imbalance can result in the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms, while simultaneously reducing the levels of beneficial microbes. Dysbiosis is believed to contribute to various health issues, including digestive disorders, autoimmune conditions, and even mental health problems. It is often associated with symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal disturbances. 

The fermentation process used to make sauerkraut creates beneficial bacteria, otherwise referred to as probiotics, which help to balance the gut microbiome. 

Several scientific studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of sauerkraut and the effects in the body.

One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that fermented cabbage products, such as sauerkraut, contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds - lactic acid and phenolic compounds - which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

Another study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that consumption of fermented vegetables including sauerkraut, led to a significant decrease in inflammatory markers in the blood.

A further study in the European Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that the intake of fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, was associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein, in the blood.

Overall, these studies provide scientific evidence to support the idea that sauerkraut, made from fermented cabbage, is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods available. 

What are these specific good bacteria?

There are many studies that have shown the benefits of the specific good bacteria found in sauerkraut. Lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, are prominent in sauerkraut and have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. These bacteria are known to help improve gut health, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that Lactobacillus plantarum, a strain commonly found in sauerkraut, has anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate the immune response.

Another study published in the journal Food & Function demonstrated that Lactobacillus casei, another common bacteria in sauerkraut, can reduce inflammation in the gut and may have a protective effect against certain inflammatory diseases.

Overall, these studies and others suggest that the specific good bacteria found in sauerkraut can contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties and make it a beneficial food for promoting overall health.


Good Mood Food


There are several ways that sauerkraut can benefit mood.
The gut is often referred to as the "second brain" due to the strong connection between the gut and the brain. The good bacteria present in sauerkraut can help support a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn can positively impact mood and mental health.

The strong connection referred to is the gut-brain axis, which describes the bidirectional communication between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the enteric nervous system (the gut). This communication occurs through the nervous system, as well as through biochemical signaling pathways.

Research has shown that the gut microbiota can influence brain function and behaviour through this connection, and vice versa. This includes impacts on mood, stress response, and even cognitive function. The gut-brain axis has been the subject of considerable scientific interest in recent years, with growing evidence supporting the idea that gut health can influence mental health.

Secondly sauerkraut is rich in nutrients such as vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as fibre and antioxidants. These nutrients play a role in overall health and can contribute to improved mood and mental well-being.

I hope you'll join me, if you have inflammation or simply want to improve mood I mean who doesn't - especially in January - in adding a spoonful of sauerkraut to your plate. I really have high hopes for joint and tissue inflammation and I think it's safe to say it can only add to skin radiance.

P.s. On the topic of mood It is possible for a bad mood to be caused by inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Inflammatory chemicals in the body can affect the brain and lead to symptoms of low mood and irritability. There are of course other factors at place but just maybe cabbage is an integral part of our happy mood armoury.

Interested? You can grab a jar of organic, raw, unpasteurised here

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