Best Time To Eat Sauerkraut For Gut Health

When Is The Best Time To Eat Sauerkraut For Gut Health?

Ever been served a little plate of sauerkraut and refused? Well, you might have passed on the opportunity to improve your gut health. Nearly two-thirds of American adults grapple with digestive issues like abdominal pain or bloating, often unaware of effective remedies. (1)

You might be one of those people with poor gut health and have no clue how to eliminate it. What if you learned that sauerkraut is a fantastic food item that provides multiple benefits, including a healthy gut microbiome? Yes, this probiotic food may be the solution to better gut health. But remember, eating too much of one thing can be a bad thing. So, how much and when should you eat sauerkraut for gut health? Read on to learn more!

Sauerkraut and Gut Health

Not sure what sauerkraut even is? It’s a tangy food made from raw cabbage and fermented with lactic acid bacteria. That lactic acid could support your immune system and potentially relieve common digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Sauerkraut typically contains multiple probiotics, which are:

  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

These microbes help balance out your gut microbiota, making sauerkraut good for you if you frequently feel tummy problems. Sauerkraut also has antidiabetic, anticarcinogenic, and antibiotic properties and may help reduce inflammation. (2)

Timing for Gut Benefits

So, when is the best time to eat sauerkraut for gut health? There isn’t a single perfect moment, but there are some interesting theories. Some people say consuming sauerkraut before eating anything, maybe first thing in the morning or 30 minutes before your meal, gives the probiotics leeway to inhabit your gut. This makes some sense since there’s less competition from other food.

On the other hand, others suggest enjoying sauerkraut with or before a meal. Here’s the reasoning behind their thinking: the digestive enzymes and stomach acid present during a meal could help the sauerkraut’s probiotics survive their journey through your gut. So, there’s no single answer to the question—both approaches might have merit!

Best Time To Eat Sauerkraut For Gut Health

Maximizing the Benefits

As you’ve learned, sauerkraut—when consumed at the time most ideal for you—may provide several benefits to your gut health. Now, your next question might be how to maximize those benefits.

Add It To Your Daily Meals

One way is to incorporate the dish into your regular diet. Take note: serving size matters! A one to two-tablespoon serving is a good starting point, as one serving already contains 9% of your daily recommended allowance for sodium. You can gradually increase this amount as your gut gets accustomed to it or continue to consume fewer servings if you have a high-sodium diet. (3)

Customize Your Dishes

Sauerkraut for gut health can be enjoyed in so many ways. Want to add a tangy twist to your breakfast? Top scrambled eggs with a spoonful of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut, alongside high-fiber food like leafy greens and avocado, is a delicious and gut-friendly choice. It can also be a delightful side dish with dinner—pair it with roasted veggies or grilled chicken for a complete meal.

Pair with Prebiotic Partners

Here’s a bonus tip: for an extra gut health boost, pair your sauerkraut with prebiotic-rich foods. Onions, garlic, bananas, or Jerusalem artichokes are some examples of food with a decent amount of prebiotic content. Prebiotics act like food for your good gut bacteria, helping them thrive.

Go for Raw Sauerkraut

Want the most potent probiotic punch? Look for raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut. Pasteurization destroys some of the beneficial bacteria, so raw sauerkraut keeps those probiotics nice and active. But be careful where you source your raw sauerkraut. Poor-quality ingredients and inadequate hygiene and storage may result in fermented food with harmful pathogens like E. coli. (4)

Addressing Concerns

Some people might be worried about stomach acidity when it comes to sauerkraut, and that’s a valid feeling. Like other fermented food, sauerkraut may aggravate problems like gas when consumed regularly. While probiotics make sauerkraut good for stomach issues, it’s always a good idea to chat with your doctor before getting a spoonful of sauerkraut for your meals.

Additionally, sauerkraut contains histamines, which normally get digested by certain enzymes. However, if your body doesn’t produce these enzymes, the histamines go into your bloodstream, potentially causing headaches and other digestive symptoms. A study suggests that the high histamine content of sauerkraut may also lead to higher risks of allergic reactions in certain individuals. (5)

Sauerkraut and medications might also not always be the best combo. Certain medications can interact with fermented foods, so it’s wise to consult your doctor if you’re taking any medication and considering incorporating sauerkraut into your diet.

In Summary

Sauerkraut is a simple fermented dish that’s brimming with health benefits, but those manifest best when you know when and how much to take. Generally, the best time to eat sauerkraut for gut health is either before your meal or during it. Serving size is also something you should remember since too much might do more harm than good.

What matters is that you maintain consistency. Consider adding a bit of sauerkraut or other equally delicious fermented food to your daily meals to, hopefully, get the digestive health you deserve.


  1. “Two-Thirds of Americans Are Living With Gut Issues, Unaware of the Health Consequences,” Source:
  2. “Recent updates and perspectives of fermented healthy super food sauerkraut: a review,” Source:
  3. “Health Benefits of Sauerkraut,” Source:
  4. “Two Faces of Fermented Foods—The Benefits and Threats of Its Consumption,” Source:
  5. “Are Fermented Foods Effective against Inflammatory Diseases?,” Source:


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