What Does Avian Flu, 7 Eleven, and Sauerkraut Have in Common?

Have you been reading those alarming headlines laTely:

"The avian flu will be in the United States in a few months because of migrating birds"?

Well, consider this evolving story about a possible preventative: sauerkraut.

This story started last November as scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea fed an extract of kimchi, a spicy Korean variant of sauerkraut, to 13 chickens infected with avian flu, and a week later, 11 of the birds started to recover, according to a report by the BBC Network.

Well guess what? A company that makes sauerkraut in Wisconsin made these claims: "We've got the preventive, and 115,000 tons of it in Wisconsin alone," said Ryan Downs, owner and general manager of Great Lakes Kraut Co., which has sauerkraut factories in Bear Creek and Shiocton, Wis., And in Shortsville, NY

Downs said more intensive scientific research is needed to prove any curative link to avian flu, but he's more than happy to tout kraut as a healthy part of any diet.

"People are starting to realize kraut is a pretty doggone good food," Downs said when contacted about the South Korean study. "We're ready to help keep the world healthy."

After a Minneapolis CBS affiliate did its own story on sauerkraut's potential in the battle against avian flu, Frank's checked 54 Twin City area stores it supplies, and found an 850 percent spike in overall sauerkraut sales, Lundin said.

Now the story gets better. Headlines in January started touting the benefits of sauerkraut (unrelated to the avian flu story) as being a low carb food, and named sauerkraut as one of the hottest foods of 2006.

Believe It or Not: Sauerkraut was named as one of the Hottest Foods of 2006. Additionally the National Restaurant Association cites sauerkraut as an older dish making a comeback. And lo and behold now Arby's introduced a new Reuben sandwich as part of their new "market fresh sandwich" program and they use Frank's Sauerkraut, considered to be the highest quality sauerkraut in the United States.

A Georgetown University study (February 2006) was cited, in the latest issue of the British Journal of Cancer, and expands upon many other cancer studies by identifying and describing the cellular process which gives cruciferous foods, like cage and sauerkraut, a strong cancer- fighting response in the human body.

The study found that a chemical called indol-3-carbonol (I3C) which occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and sauerkraut, boosts the activity of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which then work to detect and repair damaged DNA. Because damaged DNA can lead cells to become cancerous, eating foods that repair DNA, like sauerkraut, may lower the risk of cancer development.

Now the 7Eleven connection.

I started noting that 7Eleven stores carry as part of their condiment arsenal, sauerkraut. And when combined with their big bite array of dogs it actually becomes a low carb alternative. According to Charles Stuart Platkin, a syndicated health, nutrition, and fitness columnist, author of the best-selling book, Breaking the Pattern (Red Mill Press, 2002), the 7 Eleven Biggest Bite can be broken down to the following goodies:

7 Eleven 1/3 Pound Big Biggest Bite (no bun): 480 calories, 45g fat, 3g carbs

Mr. Platkin further elaborates:

"All I can say is a pack on the sauerkraut – it's your best bet. It has very few calories and no fat. habit of turning up on almost everything we eat. Also, try to avoid cheese and chili whenever possible; they can add more than 250 calories and 15g fat to your frank.

— Sauerkraut (1 cup): 27 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbs

Now you know the connection between the avian flu, 7 Eleven and sauerkraut.

Also, have you noticed that no South Koreans have died from the Avian Flu, even though there have been multiple infections?

Now this is Real-Food-For-Thought!

Stay healthy,

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