According to a Finnish study, fermenting cabbage produces a number of different compounds known as isothioctanates, which have been shown in test tube and animal studies to prevent the growth of cancer, especially in the breast, lung, colon and liver. Isothiocyanates are found in many foods including cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Wasabi (Japanese condiment).
Researchers said the fermenting process breaks down glucosinolate (found in raw white cabbage), and other components that may fight cancer. Other previous studies have found that isothiocyanates encourage precancerous cells in the digestive system to self-destruct (a process called apoptosis).
‘Our study implies that fermented cabbage can be a good source of plant-derived bioactive compounds such as breakdown products of glucosinolates,’ said Dr. Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen from MTT Agrifood Research Finland in Jokioinen.
She went on to say, ‘some of these compounds have shown anticarcinogenic effects in vivo in animal models. To show the anticarcinogenic effects of sauerkraut in humans, clinical studies (in humans) are required.
(Source: Reuters Health & ASCO)