Probiotics Part II: The Fermentation Process and Your Health
The fermentation of cabbage into sauerkraut is responsible for the nutrient-rich, probiotic nature of sauerkraut. So what’s the method behind this magic?
Bacteria that are naturally a part of cabbage both initiate and sustain the fermentation process. This process is done anaerobically, or without oxygen. The bacteria found in fermented foods, like sauerkraut, use the starches and sugars in the food as their own food. The breakdown of these starches and sugars by the bacteria produces byproducts, the main byproduct being lactic acid. This lactic acid acts as a natural preservative by inhibiting the growth of other, “bad” bacteria that can cause the food to rot and putrefy. A second metabolic byproduct is a variety of short chain fatty acids. These are used as fuel by your intestinal cells. The combination of flourishing healthy bacteria and nourished intestinal cells, along with the limiting of harmful bacteria, produces a boost in your immune system.