Leek-Cracked Pepper Kraut with Turmeric for You and Your Gut

| 1/8/2016 11:07:00 AM

Leek Pepper Turmeric Kraut

Leek-Cracked Pepper Kraut has been a favorite around our house since I first made it for the MEND issue of Taproot Magazine. Recently, it occurred to me this delicious kraut is spiked with plenty of black pepper so why not add a little turmeric root and have a kraut with not only prebiotic (important for gut health) but also anti-inflammatory properties — all while being incredibly delicious.

Most people know turmeric in its dried powered form, but it is increasingly common to find these fresh rhizomes in the produce section of the market. In recent years it has become widely available, in part due to the stellar antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health benefits of its active ingredient curcumin.

Curcumin is turmeric’s superpower, however our body’s ability to absorb it into our bloodstream is poor. Fortunately, the bioavailability of curcumin is greatly enhanced by the simple addition of piperine — the alkaloid responsible for black pepper’s heat.

So why does (turmeric + black pepper + leeks + cabbage) x fermented = flavor with benefits? And what do the sour-pickley veggies have to do with my gut health?

Fermented vegetables are one of the whole-food tools we can use to support our microbiome. Fermentation makes nutrients more accessible to our bodies by “pre-digesting” sugars and starches that we cannot process. These crispy fermented veggies still contain fiber that feeds our friendly bacteria (called Actinobacteria). When these good gut guys are well fed they produce nutrients that nourish our intestinal linings as well as our bodies. At the same time we are adding “new recruits” to propagate in our inner garden when we consume the friendly lactic-acid bacteria.

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