Prepared Foods' July 11, 2005, e-newsletter

Sauerkraut has recently been found to have more health benefits than most other vegetables. The cruciferous vegetable is high in antioxidant cancer fighting compounds, fiber, vitamins, calcium and minerals and even increases libido.

Sauerkraut was the topic of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Finnish researchers reported that fermenting cabbage produces compounds known as isothiocyanates, shown in laboratory studies to prevent the growth of cancer. Fermentation or curing of the cabbage actually enhances its protective effects. Glucosinolates in sauerkraut activate the body's antioxidant enzymes, and flavonoids protect artery walls from oxidative damage.

"We are finding that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer," says Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, Ph.D., research manager of MTT Agrifood Research Finland, located in Jokioinen, Finland.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, especially those rich in naturally occurring substances, including antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins.