Why You Should Start Eating Sauerkraut

Hello my friends! You know what I’ve been really into lately? Sauerkraut. File this under “sounds weird, tastes awesome” – I made a big salad for lunch yesterday with greens, brown rice, canned tuna (mixed with some dijon mustard), and a big ole serving of sauerkraut. Topped with balsamic vinaigrette (homemade – olive oil + lemon juice + dijon mustard + balsamic).

easy sauerkraut salad

Why is sauerkraut awesome, besides being delicious (in my opinion)? It’s full of probiotics! Probiotics are living organisms, like bacteria or yeast, that are believed to improve health. The body is a natural home to these organisms; the digestive system alone boasts a large quantity of many types of bacteria, which help keep the intestines healthy and aid in digesting food. These healthy bacteria also help to protect us from pathogens (harmful bacteria), to detoxify harmful compounds (like alcohol or drugs), and more.

Normally, our body has a healthy plethora of gut microorganisms, but sometimes, due to reasons like stress, intestinal damage, infection, excessive antibiotic use, or poor diet, the bacterial ratio can become imbalanced. This can lead to a host of issues involving our immunity, and can also cause gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, and diarrhea, along with poor nutrient absorption.

Food-based sources of probiotics include foods and beverages (like yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and kombucha) that have been fermented, but not pasteurized, as pasteurization kills bacteria. For that reason, not all mass-produced sauerkraut contains probiotics, so look for one that is refrigerated and labeled as containing live cultures.

I found a couple varieties of local sauerkraut at Mom’s Organic Market last week and we’ve enjoyed eating our way through them! I know this salad sounds bizarre, but give it a shot. :)

ways to eat sauerkraut

Another fave way to eat sauerkraut is, of course, with sausages. :) It was one of my fave meals when I lived in Europe! (See also: my throwback post about Teaching English in Prague.) On Monday night, Matt and I threw together an easy and veggie-packed dinner of sausage with sautéed peppers and onions and a ton of sauerkraut. I had part of mine on a piece of toasted bread as a make-shift bun. Plus extra dijon mustard! Messy and delicious.

how to make sausage a healthy meal

Plus some extra veggie power on the side! This is a good example of how you can make any meal satisfying (and nutritious) with the addition of a lot of veggie volume. We could have just had sausage + bread, but that wouldn’t have been as tasty or filling (or as nutrient-packed)!

healthy sausage sauerkraut dinner

Are you a sauerkraut fan? Have you ever tried to make your own at home? I figure I’ll just support the experienced sauerkraut-making professionals, but I know it’s probably not that hard to make yourself!

Want more on this topic? See also: Health Benefits of Fermented Foods (guest post from a fellow dietitian).


  1. 1

    I have been so in to sauerkraut lately, too funny your post timed perfectly with this! I get mine from Trader Joe’s and it is heavenly! I’ve been working on adding probiotics into each meal, and it has made a big difference in my IBS symptoms. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. 3

    I LOVE sauerkraut. I eat it on the regular and I can just eat it by itself!

  3. 4

    My husband and I make our own sauerkraut. It’s really not hard – just a bit time consuming, but oh so good!

  4. 5

    Sauerkraut is one of those food items that I know is good for me, but I don’t eat because I never know quite how to incorporate it into meals. Thanks for the ideas!

  5. 6

    Ah I love it!!! I eat it almost every day <3

  6. 7

    i LOVE kraut! i make what i call “siggis toast”: hearty toasted bread (Ezekiel or whole grain sourdough) + thick, plain siggis + lots of kraut! so yumm. also really good using acorn squash or a sweet potato for the toast!

  7. 10

    Anne, would love to know what kind of sausage you used. My husband and I love sausage (and peppers and onions or sauerkraut), but I haven’t found too many options that are quality meat without too many fillers and added fat.

  8. 12

    Its all about cabbage, as an European person, I can say YES you right is a simple and so “complex”vegetable,natural anti-inflammatory.Can be cook like salad on the side with any steak,sausages with cabbage cooked in the oven plus some apple slice inside, olive oil, salt and pepper( German recipe),If I’m traveling little to Eestern European( Romania,Bulgaria even Turkey) can be more than, sauerkraut slice, meat balls rolled,, OMG,, delicious, the recipe is little hard to realize,because,here is hard to finde whole the ingredients, anyway , have a nice evening everybody and eat cabbage as often as possible. Bye!

  9. 13

    Yum! Love sauerkraut so this post makes me happy :)

  10. 14

    Yes Yes Yes! I haven’t tried making my own but I’m all about sauerkraut :) It’s a secret nutrition weapon!

  11. 15
    Roadrunner says:

    One of life’s great joys and combinations is sauerkraut, knockwurst, mustard, and beer!

  12. 16

    Thanks for this informative article. I have only ever had sauerkraut on bratwursts. I had no idea it was high in probiotics. I normally try to get my probiotics from yogurt, which I hate. So this gives me something to use instead. This makes me very happy :)

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