by John P. Thomas
Health Impact News
Sauerkraut can be an important part of diets designed for healing cancer. Sauerkraut is a German word that simply means sour white cabbage. Lacto-fermented cabbage has a long history of providing benefits for many different health conditions, and now it is proving to be beneficial for cancer. Cabbage, by itself, offers a number of health benefits, but the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage.1
In 2005, a team of researchers from Poland and the United states observed a substantially higher rate of breast cancer among Polish women who immigrated to the United States. They compared Polish women who were living in and near Chicago and Detroit with women who were still living in Poland. They observed that the rate of breast cancer was three times higher for the Polish immigrants. They evaluated various factors and concluded that the consumption of lacto-fermented sauerkraut was a possible factor in the different cancer rates. Women in Poland ate an average of 30 pounds of raw sauerkraut each year, while the Polish women in the US were eating approximately 10 pounds per year.2
What are the qualities of sauerkraut that would make it a super food for cancer prevention, and to be included as a part of diets designed to treat cancer? Let’s take a look at some of the science.
Sauerkraut contains high levels of glucosinolates. These compounds have been shown to have anti-cancer activity in laboratory research.
“The observed pattern of risk reduction indicates that the breakdown products of glucosinolates in cabbage may affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis -by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation -and the promotion phase, by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth,” said Dorothy Rybaczyk-Pathak from the University of New Mexico.3
Pathak, along with colleagues from Michigan State University and the National Food and Nutrition Institute of Warsaw, Poland, found that “Women who ate at least three servings a week of raw- or short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut had a significantly reduced breast cancer risk compared with those who only ate one serving per week.” They discussed these findings at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in 2005.4
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