Today’s post is another of my gut health guides: today we’re going to talk about using sauerkraut for crohn’s disease, UC and IBS. If-like me-you’ve made the most of this glorious weekend (I have been enjoying cider in the sun and checked out an amazing steak restaurant last night) then your stomach is probably looking for a little bit of TLC.Although I’m on medication, I still find my stomach is struggling the next day if I’ve fallen off the healthy eating wagon-and to replenish it means a morning juice and an extra dose of sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is a recent addition to my life and to be honest I can’t believe how beneficial I’ve found it. I have mentioned it several times before in my ‘Cabbage Superfood‘ post and my ‘Probiotics Foods’ post but I’d always been scared to try it; in case it made things worse (I’m superstitious about lots of things!). Since purchasing some a couple of weeks ago, I can’t believe how much it has helped!So I thought I’d share my tips in this helpful gut guide on sauerkraut for crohn’s disease or any gut issue you might be suffering with.
So how can sauerkraut help IBD or IBS?
Cabbage itself is great for the gut, since as well as being rich in a whole host of vitamins and minerals, it is an amazing source of L-Glutamine. Most often discussed in terms of body building (for building muscle), this amino acid also has an amazing impact on the lining of the gut. This is why, cabbage has long been recommended for the treatment of stomach ulcers: because it heals ulcerations in the digestive track. Cabbages and l-glutamine can help repair permeable areas of the gut, making it stronger and able to digest food more effectively- unfortunately if we eat it in large amount it can cause stomach upsets; since it is quite fibrous. The best thing about cabbage is when we ferment it: sauerkraut becomes one of many powerful probiotic foods; teeming with rich gut bacteria. This bacteria is important whichever gut condition you have. Many theories about IBD are beginning to analyse gut bacteria; since it’s been proven that the bacteria of IBD Patients is remarkably different to healthy controls (whether this is cause or effect remains unknown). In turn, many IBS patients find they may have SIBO or bacterial issues.
How to use it
You have two choices:make raw sauerkraut or buy a raw, non-pasteurised version of sauerkraut in the health food shops. There’s lots of guides out there on how to make it……
I chose to buy it-mainly because it was my first time using it and I wanted to make sure I’d done it exactly right (so if I had any issues, I knew it wasn’t me messing up the recipe! Again- superstitious!) I’ve used 2 types: Laurie’s Tummy Foods Original sauerkraut (as mentioned in my April Favourite’s post) and this Carrot and Fennel variety from the Cultured Food Company.
I prefer the carrot and fennel purely because it contains a lot more juice. I decided to introduce it very slowly as cabbage can aggrevate the colon in larger doses so I relied on this juice. I introduced it like this:
Days 1-2: 1 teaspoon of the brine from the jar (no actual cabbage; just brine juice). As you can see in the image below, when you open the jar it should have quite a bit of fermented juice….
Just scoop a teaspoon of the juice out to begin with before you get on to the actual cabbage.
Day 3-4:1 teaspoon of sauerkraut.
Day 5 on beyond: 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut; gradually increasing if needed.
By doing it this way, I had no problems at all digestion wise and straight away my gut felt calmer. Since the two weeks I’ve started taking it, I’ve had no gut issues at all; which for someone with crohn’s is a pretty big statement. After overdoing it a bit last night, I didn’t feel quite right this morning- but it was still a massive improvement than before- when the after effects would linger on for days!
I am aiming next time to make my own sauerkraut- which is really easy to do- it’s simply a case of adding salt to cabbage and leaving it to ferment for around a week (There’s a great guide by IBD Relief here)If you enjoyed this blog, checkout my other gut health guides here or sign up to my weekly newsletter here.