Sauerkraut is one of the foods that can contain probiotics and is known to be great for your tummy. But does cooking sauerkraut kill the good bacteria (probiotics) in them?
So, at what temperature do the probiotics die when you’re warming or cooking your sauerkraut and other fermented foods?
Keep reading because I’ll discuss that below, plus ways to increase the number of probiotics in your sauerkraut.
Does Cooking Sauerkraut Kill Probiotics?
Yes. Cooking sauerkraut can kill its good bacteria (probiotics) content. That’s because any form of heat around or above 115 °F (46 °C) can kill probiotics.
Still, some people prefer to eat their sauerkraut warm or with their soup. If you’re one of them, the best thing to do is to put the sauerkraut on a small plate, then scoop just enough to stir into your warm soup before each bite.
That way, you can minimize heat exposure and might still keep some of the probiotics alive.
But if you really want to fry this food or some other form of cooking, you might be wondering, is cooked sauerkraut good for your gut?
Is Cooked Sauerkraut Still Good For You?
Well, if you aren’t too concerned about probiotics, and simply want to enjoy the taste of sauerkraut, you actually can.
The good news is that, if you really don’t mind not having probiotics, the cooked sauerkraut is still good for you because its other contents are usually not affected by heat.
According to Healthline, sauerkraut is a “very nutritious” food that contains plenty of nutrients you need for prime health. For example, they note that one cup or around 142 g of sauerkraut can contain the following:
- Calories: 27
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbs: 6 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 23% of the DV
- Vitamin K1: 15% of the DV
- Iron: 12% of the DV
- Copper: 15% of the DV
- Manganese: 9% of the DV
- Folate: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Sodium: 41% of the Daily Value (DV)
These vitamins and minerals aren’t destroyed by cooking.
What is the Best Sauerkraut For Gut Health?
Now, the good nutrients that you can get from your sauerkraut, as listed above, are great for meeting your body’s needs, but they aren’t targeting your gut health. If you plan on eating sauerkraut for gut health, then it is best to stick to the raw, unpasteurized variety to maximize the probiotic content.
Take note that not all sauerkraut products you buy from the store contain probiotics. Even if you haven’t cooked them yet, it’s possible that there aren’t any good bacteria in them anymore.
Check the label to make sure it’s “raw and unpasteurized.”
It’s also a good idea to avoid sauerkraut that contains vinegar because that can mean that the product wasn’t made using the natural fermentation process (the source of your sauerkraut’s probiotic content).
Some of the best sauerkraut products with probiotic content:
- Bubbies All Natural, Classic Sauerkraut With Live Cultures
- Olive My Pickle
- Farmhouse Culture Kraut
- Sonoma Brinery Traditional All-Natural and Raw Probiotic
- Pickled Planet Organic Raw Sauerkraut With High Probiotic Content
- Superkrauts Gourmet Lacto-Fermented Organic Sauerkraut With Probiotics
Are All Sauerkraut Probiotics?
No. Not all probiotics contain probiotics. For sure, cooked sauerkraut will no longer have probiotics, even if it started with having some (even at high content).
Also, it’s the raw, unpasteurized variety that is more likely to contain a higher number of probiotics.
Any pasteurized sauerkraut no longer has probiotics because the pasteurization process is designed to kill bacteria and other microorganisms – and will target all types, whether good (probiotics) or bad and pathogenic species.
That means that canned sauerkraut doesn’t have probiotics.
Does Heat Kill Probiotics In Fermented Foods?
Yes, if the heat is around or above 115 °F (46 °C), then it will kill the probiotics in fermented foods, not just sauerkraut.
Will Heating Sauerkraut Kill The Probiotics?
If you’re trying to warm frozen sauerkraut, just let it sit on the table for a few minutes or hours to thaw. You can heat them up to 115 °F (46 °C), but any temperature above that will kill them.
Take note that water boils at 212 °F (100 °C). So, never let the sauerkraut become so hot that it can reach the boiling point. That’s a surefire way of killing your probiotics.
Does Frying Sauerkraut Kill The Probiotics?
Yes. Oil has a higher boiling point than water: at 356 °F (180 °C). So, frying will definitely kill your probiotics.
How To Increase The Amount Of Probiotics In Sauerkraut?
So, you might be asking, “How do I make sauerkraut gut-friendly?”
The best way to increase the probiotics in your sauerkraut is to simply store it longer, unopened, in the cupboard or the fridge (but not in the freezer).
Doing so allows your sauerkraut to ferment longer. The extended period lets the probiotic cultures have more time to break down the carbohydrates in the food product and multiply.
As a bonus, aside from the probiotic boost, this might even give the final sauerkraut product a better taste boost. The richer taste might be better for you.
In conclusion, cooking sauerkraut can kill its probiotics content, however if you don’t mind not having that beneficial bacteria, it is still good for you due to other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.
If you want to get the probiotic benefits from sauerkraut, it is important to check the label for “raw and unpasteurized” varieties of sauerkraut. Lastly, make sure to limit heating the sauerkraut to 115°F (46°C) or lower to preserve its probiotic content.