Like many others, are you also in a dilemma of which to pick between kombucha vs sauerkraut? As a nutritionist, let me help you out of this confusion.
Kombucha and sauerkraut are two fermented foods from different regions of the world. I will explain the differences and similarities between these two. This will give you the clarity to opt for the right one.
Kombucha vs Sauerkraut: Choosing the Better Probiotic
Let’s compare kombucha vs sauerkraut based on various attributes:
Black/ Green Tea, Sugar & SCOBY
Salt & Cabbage/ Other Veggies
Sweet & Tart
Sweet, Salty & Sour
Morning or Noon
|TEETH AND BONE HEALTH OUTCOME
|BODY HYDRATION EFFECT
*Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 100 grams
Kombucha vs Sauerkraut: Difference Between Their Constituents
Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea of China which gained high popularity in recent years. It can be made with black or green tea.
To prepare kombucha, sugar and SCOBY are added to the tea. Here SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
Sauerkraut is a German probiotic dish which is made of cabbage and salt. Sometimes other ingredients such as onion powder, celery seeds, caraway seeds or juniper berries are added in this to enhance the flavor.
Salt pulls water out of the cabbage to make brine, which is used to ferment cabbage. You can use kosher or plain table salt for it.
Which Takes Less Time to Ferment: Kombucha or Sauerkraut?
Kombucha can be ready in 5-10 days, depending on temperature. Keep the jar in a warm place but away from direct sunlight. Make sure to use mineral or RO water which doesn’t contain fluoride or chlorine.
Sauerkraut takes around 3-6 weeks to get ready. Compared to winters, it gets fermented quickly during summers. Fresh and tender cabbage is generally used for sauerkraut. It is prepared in brining crock or in a glass jar.
How Different Is Kombucha vs Sauerkraut Taste?
Kombucha is a balanced mix of sweet and tart flavor. You can get a slight hint of tea with its pleasant bitterness. Packed versions might have different colors, however homemade kombucha is usually orange-brown in color.
Sauerkraut is a German word which means ”Sour Cabbage”, which defines its taste very well. It has a sour and salty flavor. The texture is uniformly soft with a slight crunch of shredded cabbages.
How Do Sauerkraut & Kombucha Fare Against Kimchi?
Kombucha vs Sauerkraut: Right Amount to Have
There is a vast difference between the recommended quantity of kombucha and sauerkraut.
You can have up to 1-2 cups of kombucha a day, whereas 10 grams of sauerkraut is enough for a daily intake. Sauerkraut is a sodium-rich probiotic, therefore consuming in moderation is highly recommended.
Comparing the Caloric Values: Kombucha vs Sauerkraut
Calories in kombucha depend on the quantity of sugar used in it. Packed versions are usually calorie dense due to their high sugar content. If you want to avoid all these unwanted calories then I recommend giving a try to DIY kombucha made with natural cane sugar.
Sauerkraut is a low calorie fermented food, however few recipes use oil or sugar which increases its calories. If you are buying sauerkraut from the market then check the ingredients before picking any.
A Low Carbs Option: Kombucha or Sauerkraut
Carbs are a type of macronutrient which is made of sugar, starch and fiber. It is important to have enough carbs through food for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Compared to kombucha, sauerkraut has more carbs. The main reason for this difference is due to the cabbage, which is full of fiber.
Which Has a Higher Sodium Level: Kombucha or Sauerkraut?
When we talk about sodium, then less is better, however don’t exclude it completely from your diet. It is recommend limiting your sodium intake between 2300-1500mg.
Sauerkraut contains significantly higher sodium compared to kombucha. However, a smaller portion size of sauerkraut can balance it within the range.
Kombucha vs Sauerkraut: A Better Source of Fiber
Fiber is a type of carbs which promotes your digestive health and helps to maintain the regular bowel movements.
If you are looking for a fiber rich fermented food then compared to kombucha, sauerkraut is a better option for you. Kombucha doesn’t contain any fiber; whereas sauerkraut has lots of fiber in it.
What to Pick for Diverse Nutrients: Kombucha or Sauerkraut?
If prepared properly Kombucha has antioxidant properties which boost your immunity and provide many other health benefits. Kombucha also has a good amount of probiotics, types of vitamin B complex such as thiamin and niacin.
Sauerkraut is low calorie and fiber rich food which contains iron, vitamin C, and a little bit of protein. It also has vitamin K2, which promotes the strength of bones. However, sauerkraut’s daily intake size is too small to give you much of the benefits of these nutrients.
So if you ask nutritionally which is better, kombucha or sauerkraut then I will say even if they both are nutritious foods, kombucha will provide you with more nutrients due to the larger recommended quantity.
Best Time of the Day to Have Kombucha vs Sauerkraut
If you are new to sauerkraut then have it either with your breakfast or at noon with lunch. If you are adding it in your dish then don’t add extra salt in it otherwise it can be salty.
You can have kombucha any time of the day, however I will suggest adding it to your afternoon routine. It will help you to digest your lunch quickly and you will be energetic due to the caffeine in it.
Gut Friendly Option: Kombucha or Sauerkraut?
Kombucha and sauerkraut both are amazing products for keeping your gut happy and healthy. They both contain good bacteria which helps to digest food easily.
However, since sauerkraut is a fiber rich food, it should be better for your digestive health. Though due to a smaller recommended intake, it won’t be able to give you enough fiber or probiotics.
Kombucha vs Sauerkraut: Better Pick for Strong Teeth and Bones
Compared to kombucha, sauerkraut is more beneficial for your bones and oral health. It has a high level of vitamin K2, which is an important micronutrient for strong bones. Besides that, it also contains a small amount of protein, whereas there is no protein in kombucha.
However, as fermented foods, both kombucha and sauerkraut protect your gums from bad bacteria and infection.
Why Choose Kombucha Over Sauerkraut for Hydration?
Electrolytes are essential for hydration and show immediate effects in case of dehydration. Sauerkraut and kombucha both have few electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, copper etc., which makes them good to stay well-hydrated.
However, since kombucha is a water based tea with fermented sugar, pick it over sauerkraut to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. Though, they both can’t be the substitute of water.
Different Ways to Use Kombucha vs Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a versatile ingredient to enhance the flavor of many dishes such as sausages, stews and sandwiches. This staple of Eastern European cuisine is renowned throughout the world for its tangy and slightly sour flavor.
Sauerkraut goes very well with tuna and egg salad. You can also add it on top of your pizza or taco to add some crunchiness.
Kombucha can be enjoyed straight or can be flavored with fruits or spices. You can also use this as the base of cocktails or mocktails.
Which Can Be Stored for Long: Kombucha or Sauerkraut?
Once fermented, you can store kombucha for 4-6 weeks. Either it is homemade or store bought, always store it in the refrigerator.
Sauerkraut can stay up to 4-6 months. However, you must keep it in an airtight glass jar or plastic container and store it in the fridge. Always use a ceramic or wooden spoon to take out sauerkraut from the jar.
Kombucha or sauerkraut, If you are buying them from the store then check the expiry date as each brand has their own shelf life.
While concluding, I will say that kombucha and sauerkraut both have their own properties and benefits and instead of choosing one over other you can actually add both to your regular diet.
So in a dilemma of kombucha vs sauerkraut, pick kombucha to drink and sauerkraut to sprinkle over your salad.