Kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, has recently risen in popularity due to its scientifically-proven health benefits. If you feel that your culinary creativity has plateaued and are looking for an exotic superfood to spice up your healthy diet, consider adding kimchi.
What makes kimchi so healthy?
Part of what makes kimchi so healthy is the fermentation process, which involves lactobacilli, the “good bacteria” that is also used to make yogurt. In addition, it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritional powerhouse that fights a number of ailments.
7 Benefits of kimchi
The Journal of Medicinal Food highlights the following 7 key benefits of kimchi:
It fights obesity and helps you lose weight
Considering the obesity epidemic that the Western world is facing nowadays, perhaps we can take some cues from more traditionally health-conscious cultures in order to lose weight. Many Korean dishes, including kimchi, are made primarily from vegetables, which are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them smart choices for those aiming for weight loss. The vegetables used to make kimchi, usually cabbages or radishes, are also high in fiber, which promotes satiety and prevents overeating. Moreover, probiotics like the lactobacilli found in kimchi are scientifically proven to cut down on food cravings and promote gastrointestinal health, thus aiding in weight loss.
It provides vitamins A, B and C
Vitamins: the ABCs of nutrition. No one can deny the powerful health benefits of these basic nutritional building blocks and kimchi is the full package, containing not only Vitamins A, B, and C, but a number of minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. It is estimated that just one 100g serving of kimchi provides 150% of your daily recommended Vitamin C. In this case, it really is as easy as ABC.
Studies suggest that kimchi contains powerful anticancer substances. The cruciferous vegetables often used to make kimchi, for example, contain flavonoids and glucosinolates that may prevent the growth of cancer cells. Radishes, scallions, garlic, ginger and red peppers, also common ingredients in kimchi, contain anti-inflammatory properties that may also ward off cancer. Capsaicin, for instance, a substance found in the red peppers used to make kimchi, has been proven to help prevent cancer. Allicin, found in garlic, is another powerful substance that may have anticancer properties.
If you struggle with digestive issues like constipation or indigestion, kimchi is the ideal dish for you. Because of the fermentation process used to make kimchi, this superfood provides healthy bacteria, which restores the flora in your gut to its healthy balance. Its high fiber content also helps ensure a healthy digestive flow, which is crucial for detoxing the body. However, be aware that its high fiber content can cause gas and bloating in sensitive individuals, so start with small portions if you’re not used to high-fiber diets and make adjustments if you feel any digestive discomfort.
Slows down the aging process
Koreans may have found the fountain of youth. Scientists have speculated that their famously smooth skin and youthful appearance may be attributable to their diet. Kimchi, with its high antioxidant content, may help slow down the process of aging. Before buying that expensive anti-wrinkle cream, examine your diet and introduce superfoods like kimchi. Youth comes from the inside out.
Boosts your immunity
Kimchi can boost your immune system due to its probiotic nature. Surprisingly, research has demonstrated that 75% of our immunity is dependent on a healthy gut because our digestive system is the first line of defense against harmful foreign substances that enter our body. By providing a healthy dose of good bacteria, kimchi can strengthen your digestion and thus improve your immune system.
Lowers cholesterol levels
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods demonstrated that consuming kimchi for just one week reduced participants’ total cholesterol levels (as well as blood glucose levels). Another study, conducted by Pusan National University, surprisingly demonstrated that all participants who consumed various amounts of kimchi over the course of one week saw the same drop in cholesterol levels, regardless of the amount they had consumed. Just a little bit of kimchi goes a long way.
These 7 benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Kimchi is beneficial in many other ways as well. If you’re looking for a true superfood, give kimchi a try and check out our section of healthy lifestyle.