Best Time to Eat Sauerkraut for Gut Health

MA Hemal

As humans, we all want to feel our best. Many of us struggle with stomach issues like indigestion, bloating, or irregular bowel movements. Our gut plays such an important role in our overall health and well-being. As my neighbor Gertrude always says, “When your gut’s not right, nothing feels right!” This got me thinking about ways I could improve my gut health.

I learned sauerkraut can be really good for digestive health. Sauerkraut is made from shredded cabbage that’s been fermented, which increases the healthy probiotics in it. Probiotics are live microorganisms that support a balanced gut environment. But when is the best time to eat sauerkraut for maximum gut benefits? Let’s take a look!

Best Time to Eat Sauerkraut for Gut Health

Sauerkraut for Breakfast

Some experts recommend eating sauerkraut in the morning to start the day off right. Johanna, a nutritionist I know, says fueling your body with probiotic-rich foods first thing sets the tone for healthy digestion all day long. She likes to enjoy a spoonful or two of sauerkraut mixed into her yogurt or oatmeal. The probiotics in sauerkraut can help stimulate digestive enzymes and acids needed to break down breakfast. Eating it early may also relieve morning indigestion or gas some people experience. Starting your day with sauerkraut could get things “moving” if you know what I mean! It seems like a smart move for gut health.

Sauerkraut with Lunch

Lunchtime is another opportunity to feed your gut some sauerkraut. After a busy morning, your digestive system could use some friendly flora to maintain balance. Deb, an herbalist friend of mine, recommends sauerkraut with sandwiches or salads. She finds it pairs nicely with hearty breads and greens. Plus, lunch is a time when many of us feel bloated or “weighed down” afterward. The probiotics in sauerkraut may help foods move smoothly through your system so you don’t experience unnecessary fullness or gassiness when returning to work. Overall, having sauerkraut at midday supports calm, complaint digestion.

Sauerkraut Before Dinner

A growing school of thought says we should eat our biggest meal at lunch rather than dinner time. However, for many of us, a large dinner is still the norm. And here’s where sauerkraut can really come in handy for gut health. Consuming it a couple of hours before your evening meal provides gut flora to help break down a heftier supper. As Susan, a mom I chat with regularly, told me – she feels less bloated at bedtime if she has sauerkraut as an appetizer before dinner. The probiotics seem to “prep” her system for optimum food processing later on. Plus, the fermentation can curb appetite and discourage overeating in the evening. Sauerkraut in the pre-dinner hours sets up a harmonious scene for after-hours digestion.

Sauerkraut as a Bedtime Snack

You may be thinking sauerkraut too close to bed could disrupt sleep. However, its calming effects on the gut may actually promote better rest. Liz, an herbalist who owns the local apothecary, told me about using sauerkraut as a bedtime snack. She says the probiotics encourage one final “check out” from your GI tract before shut-eye. This allows you to drift off more easily without an upset stomach keeping you awake. Plus, it may prevent middle-of-the-night hunger pangs that disrupt sleep. A small bowl of sauerkraut could become the perfect pre-sleep digestive treat. Your body has time to settle undisturbed for the night.


As you can see, there are several options throughout the day to reap sauerkraut’s gut-health rewards. Experiment and listen to your body to discover the best timing for you. Remember, probiotics work gradually over time to cultivate balance from within. So don’t stress if you miss a “window.” Continued, regular consumption of fermented foods like sauerkraut supports digestive wellness in the long run. Feel empowered knowing you’re nourishing your insides with easy-to-find probiotic power. A happy gut makes for a happy life!

Can you recommend other fermented foods that are good for gut health?

Here are some other fermented foods that are great for gut health:


My friend Maria loves kombucha for its probiotic properties. It’s a fermented tea that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. Research suggests kombucha supports digestion and gut motility. Some enzymes in kombucha may also help break down foods and eliminate toxins. It tastes great too – you can find all sorts of flavorful varieties at the store these days.


This fermented Korean cabbage condiment is packed with Lactobacillus. As my kitchen assistant José says, it adds a delicious zing to any meal. Kimchi seems to tolerate heat well too, so it’s perfect for spicing up soups and stews. The bacteria help maintain the balance of flora in your GI tract. José keeps a regular kimchi fridge stash to support his gut all winter long.


As an avid jogger, I’m always watching my gut health. My trainer Dan insists on kefir to nourish his insides after our runs. This fermented milk beverage contains a wide array of bacterial strains. Its consistency sits somewhere between yogurt and liquid – drink it on its own, blend it in smoothies, or use it as a yogurt substitute. The probiotics and nutrients in kefir aid recovery from physical activity too.

What are some common symptoms of an unhealthy gut?

Common Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

  • Bloating, gas, or abdominal discomfort are all signs your gut may be off.
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or inconsistent bowel movements show your gut isn’t functioning regularly.
  • Low energy, brain fog, or mood changes can relate to poor gut-brain communication.
  • Skin issues like acne, eczema, or hives may indicate gut dysbiosis.
  • Cravings for sugary or fatty foods could mean your gut bacteria need diversity.
  • Mild headaches or joint pain now and then aren’t abnormal, but could point to underlying gut imbalance.

As always, it’s best to see your doctor if symptoms persist or worsen. However, addressing your gut health through fermented foods and probiotics is a natural place to start feeling better.

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