Why Sauerkraut Will Make You Less SAD
I know I've had a lot to say about SAD this month, even while being on vacation - but this can be a hard time for people to get through. These grey days have a detrimental affect on even the strongest psyche.
Your Gut Flora
Today, I'd like to talk gut. Specifically, your gut flora.
Gut flora are the little organisms in your stomach that help you digest your food and, in turn, keep your immune system strong. Unfortunately, a lot of the environmental toxins we encounter on a day to day basis wipe these little guys out. Without a rich and healthy gut flora, you'll only be getting partial nutrients from your food, experience fatigue, and be more prone to immune deficiencies and chronic health conditions.
Your Gut Flora and you Mental Health
The link between gut health and brain health has recently been discovered to be "bidirectional" - meaning one informs the other. What this means for suffers of SAD is that eating foods that contribute to a healthy gut may actually improve your mood - drastically.
And So, Sauerkraut!
There are lots of ways to increase gut flora - if you're seriously deficient, you may need to invest in a good probiotic. Talk to you ND or family doctor if you feel like this is the best route for you.
If, however, you're looking to give your gut a food-based boost, try sauerkraut!
This fermented cabbage dish is delicious in things like buddha bowls and on big salads, and contains tons of probiotic power. It's also naturally anti-inflammatory - another potential cause of mood disorders like SAD.
This simple recipe is from Dr. Axe. If you don't have time to make your own (and it's okay if you don't!), just look for an organic, fermented version in the grocery store. The fermentation in particular is key - it's what really pumps up your gut flora.
Traditional Fermented Sauerkraut
- 5 pounds shredded cabbage
- 2 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
In a large bowl, mix cabbage with salt and caraway seeds. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Pack cabbage mixture into a large glass food container. Top with a lid small enough to fit inside the container and place a sanitized glass jar filled with water on top of the lid to weigh it down.
Place in a cool spot overnight. Check to make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid. Check cabbage every other day for 2 weeks, skimming off of any scum that may form on the surface.
Let stand for at least 4 weeks total. Then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.