Sometime in the 4th century BC, humans started preserving cabbage, the precursor to what we know today as sauerkraut. Yes, we're talking about the same sauerkraut that we Americans love putting on our hotdogs. Come to find out that raw sauerkraut, and thus sauerkraut juice, is packed full of goodness and delivers a potent nutritional punch as well as being delicious.
In this article, we'll take a close-up look at this ancient and nutritious juice.
I will cover how this fermented drink (sometimes referred to as kvass or brine) can benefit your body, how much you need to drink it, and how to incorporate it into your healthy lifestyle.
Chinese Invention With A German Name - Sauer (sour) and Kraut (cabbage).
Thousands of years ago, long before modern refrigeration allowed humans to keep food from spoiling, many methods of preserving fruits and vegetables were in use. One of those veggies was cabbage, which is not only delicious but also highly nutritious.
Like most vegetables, cabbage was harvested late fall, and to preserve it throughout the winter, mankind learned how to preserve cabbage by pickling it in a process called lactic acid fermentation.
Although sauerkraut is thought of as a German invention, it actually originates 2,000 years ago from ancient China. Later on, early Duch and German settlers brought it to the US.
This traditional method of preserving cabbage uses no heat. Because of that, all of the nutritional benefits of cabbage are preserved along with the veggie itself.
Interestingly, it was found that the juice of fermented cabbage has even more nutritional value than the vegetable, and so people started to drink it for those benefits. It's been used as a probiotic for hundred of years.
The juice from raw sauerkraut is a concentrated source of vitamins B, C, and K, including magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is even more nutritious than fresh cabbage itself since the fermentation process enhances bioavailability.
Does Sauerkraut Juice Contain Probiotics?
Indeed it does, including the Lactobacillus Plantarum, Leuconostoc Mesenteroides, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Brevis, and many more strains, which are wonderful for digestive tract (gut) health. 
One of the main reasons that sauerkraut is high in lactobacillus is that it is fermented with the stuff, and the fermentation occurs thanks to the 'friendly,' live bacteria naturally.
How Much Sauerkraut Juice Should You Drink?
You can safely drink as much sauerkraut juice as you want. But if you're looking for the probiotic benefits to your digestive system, then a regular intake of 3 tablespoons a day is the minimum. Three tablespoons are equal to one shot glass, so if that's easier to remember, 1 shot (40 ml) of sauerkraut juice a day is what's required to start getting probiotic benefits.
One thing to keep in mind about sauerkraut juice, if it's 'shelf-stable,' that means it's been heated (pasteurized), and almost 100% of the enzymes, probiotic cultures, and other beneficial microorganisms that it offers will be gone.
Always get a juice that is slowly fermented, unheated, unpasteurized and cold-packed, like the one below.
How Many Probiotics Are In A Shot Of Sauerkraut Juice?
Before I go on, I want to enter a small caveat here. Probiotics found in raw fermented foods is not an exact science as the amount of live and active cultures in each batch of fermented food depends on the composition, storage, age, and many other factors.
So please take these figures below with a pinch of salt, no pun intended.
As we know, bacteria are measured in colony-forming units (CFUs).
Studies suggest that the juice of the sauerkraut contains 1 million to 1 billion CFUs per milliliter. Now, the average shot glass is about 40 milliliters. Therefore, the average shot (3 tbsp or 40 ml) of sauerkraut juice contains approximately 40 million to 40 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotics.
Yes, I know, that is quite a big range. So I suggest aiming somewhere in the middle just to be on the safe side.
Also, Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician who specialized in alternative remedies, did lab tests on sauerkraut. He estimates that 1 ounce (29.5 ml) of sauerkraut juice has more probiotics than a bottle of 50 capsules! So, that comes to a trillion of CFUs already.
Even if you don't bank on the highest estimate. The fact is that if you drink naturally fermented juice, you centrally are going to get some probiotic benefits out of it.
Does Sauerkraut Juice Make You Poop?
In short, yes. The probiotics found in sauerkraut juice can enhance your 'gut microbiome.' In other words, they help the 'good' bacteria in your digestive tract to work better, and those bacteria are part of the digestive process.
So, in essence, probiotics help to make your poop softer and more consistent so that it comes out of your body easier. In fact, the probiotics found in sauerkraut juice may help with a number of digestive tract problems, including;
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Childhood constipation
- Constipation due to pregnancy
- Constipation due to medications
What's the Best Way To Drink It?
There are several ways to drink natural, fermented sauerkraut juice. One of the best is to simply drink it 'straight.' It's an easy, delicious, and quick way to get a boost of probiotics.
You can also put it into a vegetable smoothie, mix it with water or another type of juice, or use it in a salad dressing.
You can drink it on an empty stomach in the morning for an energy boost and give your digestive system a kick.
Still, you can also drink it after a meal. In fact, some say that it has the effect of lowering acid indigestion, and so, if that's a problem for you, drinking it after a meal is a good idea.
Whichever way you decide to drink it, remember that you want naturally fermented sauerkraut juice that hasn't been heated because that's where you'll find all the probiotic goodness.
What Does Sauerkraut Juice Taste Like?
When the sauerkraut is correctly and lovingly fermented the natural way, it has a tangy taste and a ton of flavor. It will be slightly tart, spicy, and a bit salted, almost sweet in some cases. The longer it ferments, however, the more tart it will become, so if you aren't a big fan of tart foods, you should drink your sauerkraut juice when it's relatively fresh.
One thing it doesn't taste like is boiled cabbage, and so if boiled cabbage isn't your favorite food, there's no need to worry. Most people report that they really like the taste, but, of course, everyone is different.
I remember how I was first told horror stories about the taste of apple cider vinegar, and only when I actually tried it myself, I found out it was not that bad.
However, this juice tastes way better than apple cider vinegar.
The best way to find out is to try some!
Would It Be Better to Simply Eat Sauerkraut Instead?
The probiotic benefits of both sauerkraut and its juice are more or less the same. Still, there are a few things that might make one better than the other as far as eating them is concerned.
- Taking a shot of juice to start your day is a quick and easy way to get your probiotics. Eating sauerkraut, while possible, might not be the way you want to start your day.
- The juice is more easily portable than sauerkraut itself. It can thus be ingested on-the-fly, while traveling, at work or wherever.
- Sauerkraut has more fiber than its juice, which has very little. Fiber is one of the keys to good gut health, and so, occasionally, you should eat sauerkraut instead of just drinking the juice so that you get the fiber benefits.
18 Ways To Use Sauerkraut Juice
Drinking sauerkraut juice is easy, fast, and, for most, delicious. There are, however, many other ways you can use this amazing juice, including;
- Drizzling it over some cooked vegetables and your favorite meats.
- Use it as a toner for your face.
- Using it as a marinade for meat or chicken.
- Adding it to dips and sauces.
- Using it in a salad dressing.
- Drink it as a 'pickleback' with your favorite whiskey.
- Giving some to your pet mixed in their food (they have gut microbiota too!).
- Use it to help when you have a hangover from drinking too much alcohol.
What's The Best Way to Store Sauerkraut Juice?
There are several ways to store sauerkraut juice. You can keep it in a sealed jar/bottle in the fridge for a few months (at least). You can also store it in the pantry out of the fridge or in a cool, dry basement.
It will keep very well and should last for quite a few months. In some countries, they store their sauerkraut juice in ceramic crocks.
You can also freeze your juice if you have a lot of it, but it's not really necessary. Although live cultures may have the ability to survive the frozen period, evidence of that is very contradictory, so freezing it could diminish its probiotic benefits.
Can You Drink Too Much Sauerkraut Juice?
One of the biggest detriments to sauerkraut juice is that it's high in sodium (salt). Despite all the bacterial and nutritional benefits of this juice, its high salt content could pose certain risks. Sodium is required for the preparation fermentation and preservation of sauerkraut.
For people on a sodium-restricted diet, the risk of drinking too much sauerkraut juice is the same as eating too much salt, including high blood pressure. If you suffer from renal (kidney) problems or have any thyroid issues, you should probably see your doctor before you start drinking sauerkraut juice just to be safe.
Another small risk factor is that both sauerkraut and, thus, its juice contain some histamine. While your own body makes histamine, you also consume histamine with the food that you eat. Many fermented and cultured food like sauerkraut, kefir, vinegar, soy sauce, kombucha, yogurt, sour cream, and sourdough bread naturally contain some histamine.
For most people, histamines are no problem (less than 1% of the population is histamine intolerance). However, if you are prone to allergies, you should be careful drinking and eating fermented foods to make sure that it doesn't cause you any allergic reactions.
For everyone else, there's the risk of feeling 'bloated' because of the water retention all that salt can cause. As with any food and drink, it is always best to drink sauerkraut juice in moderation, but, as far as dangerous health effects are concerned, there are very few associated with this nutritious and delicious liquid.
Sauerkraut juice is a wonderful, healthy drink that is packed with vitamins and loaded with probiotics. It's tasty, stores easily, and can be used for a few other things, too, making it an all-around excellent addition to your pantry.
If you have not tried it yet, I will urge you to try it out now!
Sauerkraut juice is a wonderful, healthy drink that is packed with vitamins and loaded with probiotics. It's tasty, stores easily, and can be used for a few other things, making it an all-around excellent addition to your pantry.
If you have not tried it yet, I will urge you to try it out now!