Digestive problems? Eat lactic acid fermented vegetables daily for miraculous results!

According to leading holistic nutritionists and my own personal experience, incorporating unpasteurized lacto-fermented vegetables into the diet on a daily basis makes for excellent digestion.

My story is that after spending six months traveling in Asia, I came home very sick. My insides were crawling with parasites and candida yeast! An early history of many antibiotics had left my gut more susceptible in the first place, so the last thing I needed now was more antibiotics.

I tried everything I knew to cure myself, often a few remedies at once: aggressive fasting, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bentonite, hydrogen peroxide, live-food diets, grapefruit seed extract and more. Some helped a little; others didn’t. But there was one thing I hadn’t tried: lactic acid fermented vegetables or unpasteurized sauerkraut.

Our Inner Ecosystem

A healthy large intestine (colon) is very acidic and is populated with high numbers of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. These helpful microorganisms feed on the waste left over from our digestion and create lactic acid.

We rely on the lactic acid they produce to keep our colons healthy and in an acidic state. Without these beneficial bacteria the colon does not have enough acidity to stop the growth of harmful parasites and yeasts and eventually the environment becomes hostile to acidophilus.

The multitude of symptoms that results is called candidiasis or candida, an abbreviation for the overgrowth of a yeast called Candida albicans. Some of the important indicators of candida yeast overgrowth are fatigue, poor memory, a "spacey" feeling, intense food cravings, gas, loss of sexual desire, bad breath and indigestion.

Candida has been strongly linked to allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowl syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity disorders and various cancers. A history of antibiotics, birth control pills, alcoholism and highly refined foods all increase the risk of developing this condition.

The same beneficial microorganisms that create lactic acid in the colon are naturally present in all vegetables and are responsible for turning raw cabbage into highly-digestible sauerkraut. The fermentation process increases the number of microorganisms dramatically, digesting the cabbage and other vegetables and producing lactic acid.

This lactic acid works the same in a jar of fresh sauerkraut as it does in our large intestine; harmful bacteria cannot survive in the acidic environment.

When we eat unpasteurized sauerkraut we reap the benefits of absorbing an entire ecosystem into our own internal ecosystem. The lactic acid from the sauerkraut creates an environment where the introduced beneficial bacteria can reproduce and in turn create more lactic acid.

Lactic acid also helps digestion at an earlier stage–in our stomach. As we get older, our stomach’s natural secretions of hydrochloric acid decrease. Hydrochloric acid breaks down food so it can be more easily absorbed by the small intestine. It is also the most important defense we have against harmful bacteria and parasites often present in food. Lactic acid can partially compensate for reduced hydrochloric acid.

Another way unpasteurized sauerkraut benefits digestion in the stomach is by assisting the pancreas. The pancreas secretes essential digestive enzymes into the stomach.

Unpasteurized sauerkraut is very high in viable enzymes that work just like the ones from the pancreas. A friend with chronic pancreatitis who has been taking prescription enzymes for the last five years was able to reduce his dosage by eating fresh sauerkraut on a daily basis. But this is just the beginning; there are so many more reasons to include my favorite food in your diet!

About the Author

Joe Karthein has studied and experimented with nutritional healing over the last five years.