Superfoods Blog

The Superfoods Blog lists our recent page updates, recipes and DIY's.

Grapefruit Juice for Weight Loss

Truth or Hype?

Consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice for weight loss purposes has been long promoted since the 1930s as a healthy addition to the diet to encourage body fat reduction. Most versions of the "grapefruit diet" include ingesting 1/2 a grapefruit or 8 ounces of juice before meals. Along with low-carb/low-calorie foods and ample protein intake, this dietary regimen is reported to help individuals lose an average of 10 pounds in as little as 10-12 days. But is this claimed benefit based on truth or hype?

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Superfoods for Wildfire Smoke

Our Top Favorites

Wildfire season is upon us here in California. This is a time frame that seems to be extending every year, but usually begins in late summer and can last into early winter. Or, if and when adequate rainfall begins. In our opinion, the best solution is to leave polluted atmospheres and find clean breathable air if you are able to temporarily relocate. However, this is not always practical with the schedules of day to day life. For this reason, we chose to share our top superfoods for wildfire smoke pollution, a simple list of foods, herbs and supplements you may wish to consider when pollution from distant wildfire smoke is affecting the air quality where you live.

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Herbal Flavor Enhancers

For Teas, Drinks and Desserts

Herbal flavor enhancers are a must for providing pleasant tastes and aromas to your tea blends and herbal preparations. That's because smell and taste are two important senses that must not be overlooked when preparing your daily brews or tinctured formulations. It is important that what you eat and drink be a satisfying experience. That is one of the reasons we have senses after all... to feel joy and pleasure! Here is our list of top 18 favorites to enjoy in tea recipes, drinks and desserts.

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Digestive Enzyme Supplements

The Basics - Good or Bad?

Digestive enzyme supplements are lab-extracted enzyme powders often available in capsule form. They are usually derived from plant-based (or fungal) sources but certain types can also come from animal pancreas. Only recently developed in the last 50 years, digestive enzymes are designed to offer digestive support by essentially assisting in the breakdown of nutrients to help facilitate their uptake by the body. Plant-based enzymes are the most common types marketed for dietary supplement use in modern times. They contain a blend of different enzyme classes, most brands have at least 15-20 or more different enzymes in their formulas.

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Jaljeera Drink Recipe

A Cooling Indian Summer Beverage

This jaljeera drink recipe is our Western version take on this Indian beverage classic. It is a traditional summertime drink served in India and filled with cooling and invigorating herbs and spices like cumin, mint and cilantro (or coriander leaves). Also spelled jal-jeera or jaljira, jaljeera in Hindi means water (jal) of cumin (jeera or jira). And, yes, cumin is always one of the star spices of this summertime favorite. It is often described as a type of Indian flavored lemonade but it is often made with other fruits like mango.

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Licorice Root Benefits

When Not to Use It

Licorice root has been one of the most widely used herbs in many herbal traditions of the world because of its concentrated triterpenoid saponins and other health-promoting constituents. All species come from the genus Glycyrrhiza and are members of the legume or pea family. The word Glycyrrhiza is derived from the Greek word glykorrhiza, meaning "sweet root." While the appearance of the root looks like an ordinary wood-like stick or branch you might find on a forest floor when you chew on a piece there is a distinctly sweet taste.

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Benefits of Tahini

Top Pros and Cons of Sesame Butter

Tahini or sesame seed butter is a staple ingredient or condiment used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Most commonly known globally in foods like hummus, baba ganoush, desserts like halvah, and blended with lemon and garlic in dipping sauces. Next to peanut butter, it is probably one of the top nut and seed butters utilized around the world especially in recent decades. Tahini (pronounced tuh-hee-nee) is made from the sesame seed which contains a very high amount of oil content. Historically it is one of the oldest oilseed crops produced by humans. On this page we will discuss the main nutritional benefits of tahini as well as some potential disadvantages.

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Cucumber Juice

Top 4 Benefits and Reasons to Juice Cucumbers

Cucumber juice is made from juicing common slicing cucumbers from the Cucumis sativus species of which there are many different cultivars. Related to the Cucurbitaceae family of melons and squashes, cucumbers have been widely utilized for their refreshing taste as well as healing qualities. While cucumbers as a whole food can be beneficial to include as part of a health-promoting diet, their nutraceutical attributes can be especially enhanced when juiced. They are frequently blended with other vegetables and leafy greens when making green juices, but they also provide therapeutic drinks all on their own.

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Benefits of Oregano

Uses of The Herbal Spice and Oil

Oregano is known for its bitter-sweet peppery taste that is popularized for its use as an Italian seasoning. However, there are some very good reasons to keep this potent herbal ally in your medicine cabinet as well as your kitchen spice rack. The main species Origanum vulgare is also referred to traditionally as "wild marjoram" and is related to but not the same as the sweet marjoram Origanum majorana species, which lacks the main essential oils of oregano. Mediterranean oreganos are known for their spicy robust flavor and aromatic potency. Sometimes a good quality oregano, like the Greek variety, can be so pungent that it actually numbs one's tongue.

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Daikon Sprouts

How to Grow and Reason to Eat Them

Daikon sprouts are a variety of microgreens produced from the daikon radish; a long white root vegetable known for its mild spicy earthy flavor. First originating as a microgreen variety in Japan, their peppery pungent flavor, resembling fresh daikon root, is utilized as a garnish in Japanese cuisine, salads, and sushi. According to some sources, hydroponic commercial production of daikon sprouts began in the 1960s in Fukuoka Prefecture located in southern Japan. And, by the 1980s, they were widely available for most of the Japanese population.

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Herbal Ally for Immune Support

Elderberry syrup is a classic herbal folk preparation made from the black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), other herbs, spices, and usually honey. The primary ingredient, however, is the elderberry fruit which is simmered down from fresh or dried berries to produce a thick dark purple-brown liquid. The berries are typically cooked before use and sweetened because they are not only quite tart but also contain mildly toxic substances that need to be deactivated via heating methods. Elderberries, as well as flower blossoms, have likewise been utilized historically to make preserves, elderberry wine, cordials, tinctures, and tea infusions.

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Globe Artichokes

Facts, Nutrition, and Preparation

Globe artichokes are one of those foods that undoubtedly stand out from other common vegetables at the produce market. Their tough thorny layered leaves and thick stems can at first glance be somewhat intimidating. However, what awaits after fully cooked are tender petals and a center heart that is considered a rich-tasting appetizer or side dish in many cultures around the globe. Most people describe them to have a soft meaty texture with an asparagus-like flavor and nutty sweet taste and aftertaste. The wild variety of artichoke called the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), is native to the Mediterranean where it was consumed and later cultivated by many countries in this region.

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What are Probiotics?

Supplements Vs Probiotic Foods

What are probiotics? Within the human gastrointestinal tract, probiotics are often referred to as the "health-friendly bacteria" that are known to have a huge influence on our human physiology and overall long-term well-being. The words "pro" and "biotic" literally mean "for life." This diverse array of gut microbiota are responsible for many functions including maintaining bowel regularity, synthesizing certain vitamins, regulating immune response, defending against pathogens, metabolism of certain carbohydrates, and much more.

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What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Why It's Better

Extra virgin olive oil is like other types of olive oil initially made by pressing raw whole olives. It is usually created from a combination of green and darkening olives in varying stages of ripeness which impart different taste qualities. Typically, the olives utilized are specific species known for their particular oil content. Because olive varieties and ratios of ripeness incorporated are unique to each producer, brands can differ greatly in flavor and overall nutritional quality. What do all extra virgin olive oils have in common? Although there is a large degree of variation among suppliers, essentially the term "Extra Virgin" is the highest grade an olive oil may obtain.

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Sea Buckthorn Berry Powder

Why It's a Top Superfruit

Sea buckthorn does not always grow by the sea, nor is it a type of seaweed or related to "true buckthorns" of the genus Rhamnus. It is from the genera Hippophae, a small genus of "sea buckthorn" species. The most common and widespread is the species Hippophae rhamnoides which currently includes about eight different subspecies that extend across many countries of the Northern Hemisphere. Sea buckthorns are deciduous shrubs with silvery green leaves, densely packed bright yellow-orange berries and thick branches with long dispersed thorns.

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Unique Facts About Brazil Nuts

Why They're A WILD Food

Brazil nuts come from the tree species Bertholletia excelsa, one of the tallest and longest-living canopy trees common to the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, and Venezuela. Living close to 500 years or more, these trees have been utilized by humans for over 11,000 years, since the Upper Paleolithic Era. Growing as high as 160 feet (50 meters), the top portion of the tree is where most of its foliage is located. This is also where the large and heavy fruit pod capsules, weighing close to 4 pounds each, grow and naturally fall to the ground when ripe.

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Grapefruit Seed Extract

And Its Antimicrobial Influence

Grapefruit seed extract is a dietary supplement that has been around for many decades. We recall in the 90's it was especially popular for its claimed antibacterial and antifungal influence on conditions like systemic fungal/yeast infections when used internally. Its proposed antimicrobial compounds were also recognized to provide antioxidant support by helping to protect the body against harmful pathogens. On an industrial scale, grapefruit seed extracts have also been widely used in commercial agriculture for eliminating bacteria, mold, fungi, and parasites in animal feeds, as well as to disinfect water.

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Benefits of Cardamom Pods

3 Lesser-Known Uses of Elaichi

Cardamom pods can come from two different species in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. One is known as green cardamom and the other as black cardamom. Green cardamom or Elettaria cardamomum is the type most widely used for its versatility as an herbal culinary spice. Usually when a recipe calls for "cardamom", it is typically referring to this variety. Often referred to as the "queen of spices", Elettaria cardamomum is called elaichi in India or in Sanskrit goes by the name elā (एला) and was one of the popular commodities exchanged along historic spice trade routes.

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Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Why It's is Better for Nutrient Absorption

Soaking nuts and seeds for several hours then straining the water can be a great way to remove some of the digestive inhibitors that may prevent the complete absorption of the nutrients they offer. Sometimes these substances are referred to as "antinutrients" because they cannot only prevent assimilation but also can cause digestive issues, like flatulence and bloating, especially when consumed in excess. The main antinutrients in many nut and seed types that can make it hard to digest the proteins, fats and nutrient content include phytates, lectins, oxalates and enzyme inhibitors.

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What are Ancient Grains?

The Top Gluten-Free Varieties

Ancient grains have been a trending whole food staple promoted since the mid-90's. What are ancient grains? The term is not scientific but one that describes some of the original strains of staple grain crops that have been cultivated since the days of early agriculture. This was a time, indicated by archaeological evidence, that occurred about 10,000 or more years ago. Humans before this period were hunter-gatherers living a more nomadic lifestyle in small populations. The development of plant-based crop cultivation, as well as animal domestication, is what largely encouraged a sedentary lifestyle and the expansion of human society.

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Blackstrap Molasses Benefits

Source of Dietary Minerals

Blackstrap molasses is a thick, dark pourable syrup most commonly made from sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum). It is a by-product of making refined white sugar and is essentially the nutritional component of the sugarcane plant. During the sugar refining process, these nutritive elements are removed to concentrate the sucrose and crystallize the sugar. As a result, blackstrap molasses is much lower in sucrose and is a condensed source of some vitamins but especially minerals.

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Carrot Juice Benefits

Pros and Cons of Juicing Carrots

Carrot juice is the liquid extracted from juicing carrots and removing the fiber content. This process produces a unique rooty-sweet flavored bright orange juice that has been consumed for its nutritional qualities for many decades. It was especially popularized as a nutritious drink by health enthusiasts like Dr. Norman Walker, one of the first advocates of vegetable juice cleansing in the 1930's and author of the book "Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices." Carrot juice later became a signature juice during the early phases of the vegetarian food movement and is still today a top juicing selection.

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Coconut Flour Flatbread

Easy Keto Recipe Using Psyllium

Coconut flour flatbread is a gluten-free and keto-friendly alternative to other types of flatbreads made with grains. If you do a quick online search for "flatbreads", it doesn't take very long to realize that there are literally hundreds of different kinds of flatbread recipes around the world utilizing many different types of grain varieties. The use of straight coconut flour as the main flatbread ingredient is a relatively modern recipe invention. The main reasons it makes a great substitute is because...

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What is Psyllium Husk?

Its Uses and When NOT to Take It

Psyllium husk comes from the seeds of a plantain variety in the genus Plantago. Plantains (not related to the plantain banana) are one of the most widely dispersed wild herbs in the world. Common plantain or Plantago major and been used historically by herbalists for centuries as a nutritious edible and medicinal plant. While these types of plantains also produce psyllium seeds, the Plantago ovata species is the one most utilized for its prolific seed production and high mucilage content. This variation has long slender grass-like leaves rather than thick ribbed leaves like common plantains.

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Pomegranate Fruit

Major Nutrients and Top Benefits

Pomegranates are an ancient fruit variety on the list with others like figs, grapes, dates and olives. Native to Persia or modern-day Iran, the Punica granatum species has been widely grown and consumed in regions of the Middle East as well as locations spanning from the Mediterranean to North India. In Latin, the term "pome" comes from the word pōmum, which means "apple", and the term "granate" comes from the word grānātum, which means "seeded." One single pomegranate can in fact yield over 600 flesh coated seeds, depending on the cultivar. We counted 698 in one deseeded large pomegranate.

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Shatavari Root

Traditional Ayurvedic Herb for Women

Shatavari is one of the top herbal rasayanas in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and is highly valued for its supportive influence to women and the various phases of the female life cycle. In the Western U.S., shatavari is frequently pronounced shat-a-vari, however, the Indian English pronunciation sha-tav-ree is also commonly used. Shatavari or Asparagus racemosus comes from the Asparagus genus and the same family as Asparagus officinalis or the common asparagus vegetable. Different from garden asparagus, shatavari as an herbal substance is primarily sourced from the ROOT or plant tuber.

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Vegan Parmesan Cheese

A Fermented Seed Cheese Recipe

This vegan parmesan cheese is a little different than most recipes out there in the plant-based world. In this one, we take advantage of traditional cheese-making methods to give our dairy-free alternative the upper hand as far as flavor and nutritional quality. We do this via the assistance of microbiological cultures and a short fermentation period (about one day). It's a bit more effort, but the end results are worth the extra time spent. You'll not only get an authentic cheesy taste but also all the benefits of a fermented food.

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Rosemary Herb Benefits

Less Common Folk Uses

Rosemary herb is among one of the most well-known leafy culinary herbs common to herb gardens and spice racks across many continents. Rosmarinus officinalis is a species now botanically identified as Salvia rosmarinus as it has been recently reclassified with plants, like sage, which come from the Salvia genus. These types also have similar looking flowers as do others in the family Lamiaceae or "mint family" such as basil, oregano, thyme and lavender. Rosemary, with its slender thick leaves growing off a woody stem, is one of those plants that have been historically utilized by humans for a very long time and is thus deeply rooted in herbal folklore and tradition.

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Maitake Mushroom

Benefits of D-Fraction Compound

Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) are an edible fungi species that grow in large fruiting layered clusters typically at the base of trees. Often referred to as hen of the woods, they are a full-bodied fungus resembling a large hen with fluffed out feathers sometimes weighing up to 40-50 pounds by the end of the growing season. The fresh steamed or sautéed mushrooms are a savory edible mushroom variation with a semi-firm yet delicate texture, rich earthy umami taste and a subtle tempura shrimp-like flavor. While maitake are traditionally used for their exceptional taste qualities, this particular species is also found to be quite medicinal in nature, especially when concentrated as a dietary supplement.

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About Pine Nuts

Nutritional Properties and Why So Expensive

Pine nuts, also called piñon or pignolia, are the edible ivory-colored nut of the evergreen pine tree found inside the female pine cones that are typically ready for harvest in the fall season. Here in the Sierra Nevada California foothills, during this time of year on a windy day, a pine cone laden tree may drop many seed-filled cones or the seeds will commonly fall to the ground themselves after the cones have opened. The actual nut is surrounded by a firm but soft shell which rests on top of the cone scales, usually two per "petal".

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Crone Candy Recipe

A Sweet Treat for "Women of the Waning Moon"

Here's a crone candy recipe designed specifically for women of "the waning moon", the cycle of a female's life called MENOPAUSE.Certain herbal allies, like american ginseng, dong quai and vitex, can be very supportive to women going through the different stages of menopause. This is a way to consume their tonifying goodness in a delicious and healthy sweet treat. As sesame tahini-based snack, their also full of calcium. Calcium is one of those essential minerals needed more in menopausal years and beyond when females are more susceptible to conditions like osteoporosis.

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Clinoptilolite Zeolite Supplement

What's the Best for Detox Support?

Zeolite is a generic term used to describe a class of microporous crystalline minerals made from aluminosilicates that offer special qualities as catalysts and adsorbents. Raw clinoptilolite zeolite is one of the most abundant and commercially utilized for its ability to attract positively charged heavy metals, ammonia, toxins and radioactive isotopes. The clinoptilolite mineral rocks themselves are typically a gray-green to beige color with an irregular-edged shape. Under microscopic inspection, however, their fine clay-like powders reveal a unique framework of channels and cavities which can capture smaller molecules within their honeycomb cage-like structures, basically acting as natural filters.

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Sprouts and Food Safety

Do They Contain Toxins?

Sprouts consumed from sprouting seeds have received a lot of negative media attention regarding their safety for human consumption. This controversy started way back in the mid to late 1990's when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to the general public not to consume raw sprouts because of reported contamination of pathogenic bacteria, chiefly Salmonella and Escherichia coli. This was a result of a multi-state outbreak of E. coli infections that occurred in the United States from the human intake of alfalfa sprouts. It was later discovered that the actual seeds themselves were the source of contamination and "traced back to one common lot harvested in Idaho."

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Top 4 Garlic Benefits

Allicin and Sulfur-Containing Compounds

Garlic is an Allium vegetable, Allium sativum, in the same family as onions, shallots, leeks and scallions. Frequently referred to as the "stinking rose", the irregular rosette-like layered garlic bulb is known for its unique spicy pungent taste and powerful aroma. Its unmistakable strong zesty flavor has made it one of the most widely utilized spices, virtually present in all kitchen pantry’s and spice racks around the globe. It is often thus a fundamental ingredient in numerous cultural cooking traditions and recipes. Here on this page, we'll discuss the top benefits of garlic and its medicinal sulfur-containing compounds.

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Benefits of Royal Jelly

Is It Really a Top Superfood?

Royal Jelly is a creamy pale-yellow substance that is the nourishing food source created by bees to support the development, reproductive maturity and longevity of the queen bee. This is the largest and longest living bee in the entire colony and the mother of most all bees in the honeybee hive. Ever since the 1950's, the benefits of royal jelly have been widely marketed as a dietary supplement as well as used as an added special ingredient in commercial health food products. Is it however as beneficial to humans in the same way it is to the honeybee queen? Here on this page, we will share our current findings plus our personal views about using royal jelly as a supplement to one's diet.

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How to Make Carob Powder

From Whole Carob Pods

Want to learn how to make carob powder from harvested tree pods? When most carob pods are fresh, they have a soft breakable texture. You can actually bite into them. However, for transforming the pod into a fine flour-like powder you will need to remove the non-edible seeds. Consequently, the most time-consuming part of making carob powder from whole pods is separating these seeds from the pulp material. This is commonly referred to commercially as "kibbling". When doing this by hand, we have experimented with three main approaches.

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Bladderwrack Seaweed Supplement

A Good Source of Dietary Iodine?

Bladderwrack is a type of sea vegetable or seaweed that is found most commonly in colder waters along rocky coastal regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Sometimes generically referred to as "fucus", there are many shapes, sizes and variations of the Fucus vesiculosus species. Over the years here in Northern California, we've explored lots of majestic and pristine seaweed harvesting locations during low tide especially in the early summer when seaweed growth is at its peak. Often, bladderwrack can be the most dominant shoreline species, along with kelps like feather boa and bull kelp.

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Health Benefits of Blackberries

Top Reasons to Eat Them

Blackberries are an edible fruit that come from the rose family Rosaceae as their thorny vines and prickly green leaves might indicate. Blackberry plants belong to the genus Rubus, a varied assortment of flowering plants the most widely dispersed of which include blackberries, raspberries and dewberries. The fruit is, botanically speaking, not an actual "berry", but is an aggregate species composed of a cluster of tiny round drupelets each which form the entire berry itself.

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Matcha Green Tea Powder

Top Benefits of a Japanese Tradition

Matcha is a type of powdered green tea that comes from the same plant that produces all black, green and white tea: the Camellia sinensis species. While there are many ornamental flowering varieties in the genus Camellia, this particular species is known to have the highest alkaloid content and used most exclusively for tea production. The traditional preparation of matcha green tea powder is a spiritual activity with deep seated roots in Japanese Zen Buddhism and "Chanoyu", the Japanese Tea Ceremony. This is a meditative and highly focused ritual of preparing, serving and consuming matcha tea that has evolved as a form of ceremonial practice since the 12th century.

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Benefits of Sauerkraut

For A Healthy Gut Microbiome

Sauerkraut is one of the world's oldest fermented foods that first came about as a way to preserve food before other modern-day methods were utilized. It is made via a naturally occurring lacto-fermentation process that is prepared without heat or pasteurization techniques. The concept of cabbage fermentation is believed to have initially originated in China, but fermented cabbage was further developed into the sauerkraut we know and love today by those in Central European countries, especially Germany where it gets its name sauerkraut (sow-uhr-krowt) or "sour" (sauer) "cabbage" (kraut).

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