- Amazing health benefits of Kimchi
- What is kimchi?
- 1. Contains healthy bacteria and probiotics for the overall wellness of your body
- 2. Lowers cholesterol levels
- 3. Facilitates healthy body development and clear vision<
- 4. Produces radiant skin and shiny hair
- 5. Prevents stomach cancer
- 6. Slows down the aging process
- 7. Helps you lose weight
- 8. Prevents the occurrence of peptic ulcer
- 9. Boosts your immunity
- What is kimchi?
- Health benefits of kimchi
- Spicy foods and capsaicin
- 3 Fermented Foods That Give You Clear, Glowing Skin
- KIMCHI: THE SKIN SUPERFOOD
- Scroll down to see the health benefits of kimchi.
- Possible side effects of kimchi
- How to work kimchi into your diet
- 1. Judy Joo’s cabbage kimchi
- 2. Kimchi bibimbap
- 3. Dairy-free cashew kimchi dip
- 10 Surprising Benefits of Kimchi
- Nutritional Value of Kimchi
- Health Benefits of Kimchi
- How to Prepare Kimchi?
- Easy-to-Make Kimchi Recipe
- Side Effects of Kimchi
- 10 Health Benefits Of Kimchi According To Science (+6 Delicious Recipes)
- 1. Consuming Kimchi Regularly Helps Improve Your Digestive System
- 2. Eating Kimchi Daily Will Improve Your Immunity
- 3. Kimchi Is A Low Calorie Dish That Can Reduce Your Food Cravings
- 4. Kimchi Can Provide You Antioxidants To Fight Cancer
- 5. Eating Kimchi Can Dramatically Slow Down The Aging Process
- 6. Kimchi Can Help You Prevent Peptic Ulcer
- 7. Kimchi Has Been Found To Decrease The Cholesterol In Our Bodies
- 8. Eating Kimchi Daily Can Prevent Diabetes
- 9. Eating Kimchi Can Help Reduce The Severe Symptoms Of Food Allergies
- 10. Kimchi Protects Our Body From Chemicals Coming From Plastics
- 1. Homemade Kimchi
- 2. Chicken Salad Sandwich With Kimchi
- 4. Kimchi Crab Spring Rolls
- 5. Kimchi Fried Rice
- 6. Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Amazing health benefits of Kimchi
These benefits of kimchi are helpful to persuade you in finally giving this spicy fermented napa cabbage a try. Kimchi is eaten by Koreans so much this food is often seen in Korean movies and television shows alike. In fact, did you know as a tribute to this vegetable, locals often say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” whenever they have pictures taken?
What is kimchi?
Indeed, this low-fat and high-fiber meal is so famous it’s widely available in Asian grocery stores and health food stores all over the country. But, what exactly is kimchi? Kimchi is a red, fermented cabbage dish (occasionally, with radish) made with a mix of salt, vinegar, garlic, chile peppers and other spices. These ingredients are fermented in a tightly closed jar and are subsequently served with rice, noodles or soups in every Korean’s household. So, why should you let this spicy meal enter your mouth? Here are nine benefits of kimchi you can pass on to your friends:
1. Contains healthy bacteria and probiotics for the overall wellness of your body
Because kimchi is fermented, like yogurt, it contains “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli that aids in the digestion process of your body. Another amazing by-product of its fermentation process are the probiotics can also fight off various infections in your body.
2. Lowers cholesterol levels
If you’re suffering from high blood pressure or a high cholesterol amount in your blood, don’t fret. The garlic found in kimchi contains allicin and selenium – both of which are helpful in decreasing the cholesterol reserves of the body. In addition, these substances also indirectly help you prevent chances of developing stroke or other cardiovascular diseases of any kind, due to its prevention of plaque build-up in the walls of your arteries.
3. Facilitates healthy body development and clear vision<
A 100-gram serving of kimchi has 18% of the daily value of vitamin A, if we consider the 2,000-calorie per day diet. Aside from vitamin A being an antioxidant which can help get rid of free radicals in your body that cause cancer, the benefits of kimchi are not limited to this only. This same vitamin A is significant in developing a healthy body, including in embryos; it’s also helpful in the maintenance of clear and healthy eyesight.
4. Produces radiant skin and shiny hair
Kimchi doesn’t just make your inner beauty shine through – it makes your outer appearance appear excellent as well. Because the selenium found in garlic in kimchi keeps your skin and hair healthy, eating kimchi helps you prevent wrinkles in the long run. Also, selenium is a relevant part of glutathione, a booster that reconstitutes vitamin C and preserves it, thereby making it stronger and more effective in the body.
5. Prevents stomach cancer
Professor Miri Kim of the Food Nutrition Department in Chungnam National University discovered Chinese cabbage and radish found in kimchi contain bio-chemicals such as isocyanate and sulfide helpful in detoxifying heavy metals found in your liver, small intestine and kidney. These bio-chemicals, particularly isocyanate, are studied to be able to prevent stomach cancer as well.
6. Slows down the aging process
Ever wondered why Koreans look young for their age? This is just one of the many benefits of kimchi you can consider: kimchi, after two weeks of being fermented, is rich in anti-oxidants which decrease the rate of aging of the skin. It also inhibits cell oxidation, making you look carefree and relaxed, even though you’re under a lot of stress.
7. Helps you lose weight
150 grams of kimchi contains only 40 calories. But it’s not limited to this – kimchi helps carbohydrate metabolism to aid you in losing weight. Additionally, the capsaicin found in chili peppers in this Korean dish boosts your metabolism and makes you use the excess energy in your body, thereby increasing weight loss.
8. Prevents the occurrence of peptic ulcer
Peptic ulcer is commonly caused by Helicobacter pylori, a Gram-negative bacteria found in the stomach. How can we stop its growth? By eating kimchi. Kimchi contains leuconostoc mensenteroides which produce dextrin, a substance important to stop the growth of H. pylori in your body!
9. Boosts your immunity
Professor Rina Yu of the Food and Nutrition Department in the University of Ulsan found out kimchi causes the immune cells to be more active and the antibodies to be more abundant. Eating a high cholesterol diet can give 55% immune cell activity, a normal diet can give 68% but a high cholesterol diet plus kimchi can give 75%.
Retrieved from : LifeHack – ‘9 Surprising Benefits Of Kimchi That Will Make You Want To Try It Now’
Research has shown that kimchi offers a vast variety of health benefits, and that’s why Koreans have been eating it for centuries. From providing vitamins, antioxidant, and improving digestion, kimchi is a smart choice to anyone who is interested in improving their diet. Kimchi is also an incredibly effective choice when combatting belly fat.
Health benefits of kimchi
Some of the health benefits of kimchi are expected. The main ingredient to kimchi is cabbage, so it is high in fiber and low in carbs, fat, and sugar. Paired with other low calorie foods, kimchi can easily contribute to weight loss, even if you eat it in large quantities.
You might have heard that consuming spicy foods increases your metabolic rate or burns more calories than other foods. In kimchi, this is true because the red chili pepper contains the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin contributes to an increased use of energy (calories) and is said to suppress your appetite.
Metabolism is a big concern for individuals who are trying to lose weight. Slow metabolism makes this significantly harder, and if you have a slow metabolism, you have to be much more careful about what and when you eat. Thermogenesis is the process by which humans burn calories. Recent studies support that capsaicin may encourage thermogenesis.
One key reason you might have trouble losing your belly fat is because you just can’t stop munching. The capsaicin in kimchi helps reduce your appetite as it decreases the production of ghrelin which is the hormone that makes you feel the need to eat. Eliminating unnecessary snacking and munching can greatly contribute to weight loss, especially if you cut out unhealthy snack foods like chips and candy.
Spicy foods and capsaicin
Capsaicin may also be related to combating body fat breakdown overall. This might occur because capsaicin is related to the production of certain proteins that contribute to breaking down body fat.
Maybe you’re not just looking to lose body fat–you want to improve you diet from all aspects including boosting your immune system, improving your digestion, and eating more flavorful food. The probiotics and beneficial bacteria found in kimchi can contribute to a number of positive effects on your health. If you’re looking to lower your cholesterol, kimchi is a perfect place to start a healthier lifestyle.
Kimchi will also help you keep your meals simple. Because kimchi is spicy, savory, and sour, you don’t need a lot of extra ingredients to flavor your meals. You might want to try it with a bowl of brown rice and a protein. You’d be surprised how far a little bit of kimchi can go.
According to the Korea Herald, South Korea has some of the lowest obesity rates in the world, and maybe it’s because of all the kimchi they’re eating! Try it for yourself and see if kimchi helps you lose weight. And even if you don’t seen the results right away, you’ll at least know that you’re consuming a food that’s low in calories and high in nutrients!
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How Kimchi Weight Loss Helps You Get Your Dream Body
The 21st century is one marked with an intense focus on looks for both men and women. Men and women alike are spending huge amounts of dollars to look good and feel good. It has been a revolutionary age-old question – How do I lose weight?
People have answered this question by altering parts of their body through surgery. Or going through the rigorous task of exercise by signing up for the gym. But something happens, they are not disciplined enough to visit every day.
Some even go as far as paying for a year worth of membership without entering the gym more than twice the entire period. Which means money has been burnt down the drain.
Advantages Of Losing Weight
Apart from the fact that you get the body of your dreams. Various studies have linked weight to the wellbeing of the body. The series of health benefits you stand to gain from weight loss include but are not limited to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Better body movement
- Improved body cholesterol levels
- No room for back pain. This applies to the everyday working class population that sits on a desk for hours.
- Decreased joint pain
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Better sleep patterns
What if there was a way you could lose weight without having to spend so much and going through intense levels of stress? We’ve got the answer.
The answer is Kimchi weight loss.
A study made available to the public in 2011 has shown that kimchi gives you increased metabolism benefits.
The researchers went further to disclose that those who took kimchi experienced weight loss. Some of those metabolism benefits include better blood pressure, blood sugar and waist-hip ratio.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is fermented cabbage and is a popular part of Korean cuisine. Famed as a versatile dish, it can be eaten on its own or cooked with other meals. Making for a healthy weight loss treat. You can either have them as dumplings, fried rice, stew, pancake, pizza or spaghetti. The treat is yours to choose.
Benefits of Kimchi Weight Loss
Kimchi is a healthy source of a particular type of bacteria known as Lactobacillus. Springing from this comes a massive amount of benefits that you can achieve from using it for weight loss. This includes:
- Promotes Digestion – According to the Journal of Science and Agriculture, Kimchi has been ticked as an excellent source of probiotic. This is linked to its preparation through fermentation that creates healthy bacteria which is required for the healthy state of the intestinal flora.
- Anti-oxidant – Kimchi varieties are made using red pepper. Red pepper is known to be powerful antioxidants which are rich in flavonoids and phenols. This protects and shields the body from the effects of oxygen free radicals that cause ailments and diseases.
- Glowing Skin – Kimchi has low calories and is rich in fiber and nutrients that treats skin ailments.
Why You Should CHoose Kimchi For Weight Loss?
The healthy bacteria in Kimchi helps in controlling food appetite and reducing blood sugar level.
The fiber-rich content in Kimchi helps keep your body full preventing you from hunger and over-eating. Various scientifical studies have pointed to favorable effects on body mass index and holistic body.
Like every other thing, kimchi weight loss should be done in moderation. But it is one of the fastest ways to achieve your desired body weight.
3 Fermented Foods That Give You Clear, Glowing Skin
Looking for powerful skin care products made with organic and natural ingredients? We’ve got you covered. Come visit our store!
Nope, Korean skincare products aren’t the secret behind Korean women’s flawless complexion. Their diet is.
The Korean gorge on fermented foods practically every day (kimchi, everyone?). Traditional dishes like kimchi are loaded with gut-friendly bacteria that help you prevent and treat acne, wrinkles, and even rosacea – giving you the beautiful clear and glowy skin you’ve always dreamt of.
What Is Fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which a living organism, such as yeast or bacteria, converts a carbohydrate (usually a starch or sugar) into an alcohol or acid.
These little critters break down food into smaller pieces that are more easily absorbed by the body. This make it easier for us to digest these foods and reap all their nutritional benefits. These nutritional benefits are the secret weapon in your beauty tool kit. They give your skincare products a huge helping hand in keeping your skin healthy and young.
How To Add More Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Worry not. You don’t need to go all the way to SoKo to get your kimchi fix. The aisles of your supermarkets are full of beautifying fermented foods. You just need to know where to look.
Here are three fermented foods you can incorporate into your diet for a clear and flawless compexion:
If you’ve ever been to South Korea, you’ve probably noticed two things. One: Koreans say kimchi instead of cheese when having their photos taken. Two: Koreans have kimchi with practically every meal. This spicy, fermented traditional food is so popular, they put it on everything, from soups and burgers to pancakes!
The traditional recipe calls for the red cabbage to be fermented with red pepper, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and spring onions, but you can find variations that contain cucumbers and even oysters! Kimchi is loaded with lactobacilli, gut-friendly bacteria that aid your body in the digestion process and soothe inflammation. On top of it, kimchi has plenty of antioxidants to fight free radicals and prevent the oxidative damage they cause. In other words: it keeps those premature wrinkles away from your face for way longer.
If you’re not ready to drizzle kimchi all over your pancakes yet, try serving it with baked fish or steamed noodles. Or, to top a steak or chicken. Delicious!
The Chinese call it “elixir of life”. We Westerners have nicknamed it “mushroom tea”. Call it what you want, kombucha is the new darling of the health food world.
This fermented drink is made with black tea, sugar and a colony of bacteria and yeast. These little critters initiate the fermentation process, consuming 90% of the sugar while they’re at it. Once they’ve done their job, kombucha becomes carbonated. Now it’s rich in vinegar, enzymes, B vitamins, lactic acid, gluconic acid, acetic acid and probiotics and very low in sugar.
I won’t lie to you. Kombucha is an acquired taste for some people. But one worth acquiring. Its high acid and enzyme content help your pancreas do its job more effectively and detoxify the liver. Once all those toxins are flushed out of your system, they won’t be able to wreak havoc on your skin anymore. Bye bye, pimples!
Sauerkraut is one of the oldest foods known to man. The Ancient Roman writer Cato mentioned he was preserving his cabbage with salt in his work on agriculture all those centuries ago.
Here’s how it’s done: first you shred the cabbage finely, then you layer it well with salt and then you leave it to ferment. That’s it! Anyone can make it, and I do mean anyone. Here’s a super easy to follow recipe.
Sauerkrat is a powerful acne buster. It has plenty of bacteria and sulfur, a pimple popper combo that clears up breakouts and keeps skin blemish-free. Plus, it has a good amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that doubles up as a skin brightener. If you fancy flawless, glowing skin, eat half a cup a day. P.S. It goes very well with brown rice.
Other Fermented Foods
If these foods are too adventurous for you, start with something more familiar like Greek yogurt, sour cream or pickles. But, be careful! Most of the ready made products sold in stores aren’t made through fermentation. Instead, the veggies are simply soaked in vinegar. That gives them a sour taste alright, but none of the benefits of fermentation. Look for the real deal and choose raw, organic and unpasteurized fermented products.
Switching your Coke for Kombucha may seem hardly worth the hassle, but it can make all the difference between a face full of pimples and a beautiful, clear complexion. Why not give it a go?
Next to superfoods (Kale? Please, it’s now cauliflower) and all sorts of trendy diets that reflect our increasingly wellness-obsessed society, your mother’s call to drink her painstakingly brewed tonics for beautiful skin might seem somewhat old school and superficial. There could, however, be some truth to eating one’s way to glowing skin, and it could lie in some of today’s hottest eating trends. (What this also means: It’s likely to taste a lot friendlier than, say, turtle soup with angelica root and more bitter herbs.)
Wellness and lifestyle cafe Frunatics, which opened end June at Palais Renaissance after an over three-year-long hiatus, serves “therapeutic meals” including a nine-course skin detox set that includes an antioxidant-rich salad, and a vitamin- and fibre-packed strawberry, grapefruit and baby spinach smoothie. At the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre on Bukit Pasoh Road, its namesake founder and Asia’s culinary golden boy Andre Chiang recently began offering fermented fruit juices as part of the establishment’s pairing menu.
It might seem like a given that eating well ought to naturally lead to better overall health, including that of your complexion, but that hasn’t stopped more and more of beauty’s most respected insiders from joining in the movement of diet care for skin care.
In April this year, American cosmetics guru Bobbi Brown released Beauty From The Inside Out, a 224-page tome filled not with makeup tips but recipes including her version of an ultra refreshing, Insta-worthy power bowl (kale, quinoa, sweet potato, lentils, avocado and watermelon radish).
Another prominent champion: Australian wellness advocate Carla Oates, who’s taken her moniker The Beauty Chef – also the name of her eight-year-old cult beauty supplement brand – into the culinary sphere with her first recipe book last December. Titled – you guessed it – The Beauty Chef, it covers over 150 dishes meant to promote radiant skin and gut health. And, yes, there’s dessert. (How does some “creamy millet porridge with honey roasted figs and almond and seed toffee” sound?)
Of Kimchi And Kale
Oates has been of one of the earliest advocates of eating fermented food – think kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, the yogurt-like drink that’s a staple in Eastern Europe – to rejuvenate skin. “Eating these foods helps clarify and rejuvenate the skin from the inside, so it glows on the outside,” she says.
The secret lies in the rich diversity of probiotics in such foods, even if there’s still insufficient scientific research on the effect of consuming fermented food on the complexion. Bonnie Lau, a dietitian at Glycoleap, a centre that offers weight and diabetes coaching, says: “It’s been postulated that fermented foods specifically may benefit skin through their probiotics, which can colonise our gut and improve our microbiome. This can benefit skin through healthier immune and inflammatory responses within the body.”
KIMCHI: THE SKIN SUPERFOOD
Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickled vegetable dish and it’s been popping up almost everywhere over the last year. Health experts are saying it’s the next big superfood, which is a food with serious nutritional benefits. I absolutely love Kimchi, not only for its wonderful taste, but also because it’s amazing nutritional benefits really help with my skin and body health!
Kimchi is usually made with fermented cabbage, and it’s great on top of rice or noodles, added to salads, or just eaten alone. It pairs really well with raw or cooked tofu to make a quick and healthy meal, and you can even make pancakes and soup with kimchi. On a rainy day, a bowl of kimchi soup is the absolute best comfort food!
Now for the science behind why is kimchi so great for your skin.
First off, cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C, which fights free radicals that cause premature aging to the skin, while garlic and onion act as detoxifiers. The selenium in garlic also helps make skin glow and keeps hair shiny and healthy. Probably the best benefit of kimchi on skin is that it’s made by fermenting cabbage, causing it to grow healthy bacterial cultures which help fight inflammation in the gut. This helps neutralize and block out toxins that can trigger problem skin conditions like acne and eczema.
These days, kimchi is super-popular, and you can usually find it right in the refrigerated produce section in your grocery store. It’s low in fat and cholesterol, and high in fibre, and is great for your immune system, so no excuses! Go and grab some kimchi today and enjoy this delicious food that keeps your skin looking its best!
Brain health, the immune system, mental health, and digestion may seem like totally different aspects of well-being, but they all seem to come back to one thing: the microbiome. (Gut health, so hot right now.) Since evidence is mounting that your overall health likely depends on how happy your gut is, it’s mega important to keep the good bacteria thriving—and the bad guys kept to a minimum.
Eating fermented foods on the reg is one of the easiest ways to fuel your good gut bacteria. Pickles, kombucha, yogurt, and miso are all examples of foods that are fermented—which means the ingredients have been left to sit and steep until their sugars and carbs become bacteria-boosting agents—but one food you should be adding into your rotation? Kimchi.
The traditional Korean dish, usually served as a condiment or a side, is made from fermented cabbage. At face value, it sounds very similar to sauerkraut (which is also made with fermented cabbage). But there are some key differences that make it stand apart. Kimchi is fermented at a lower temperature than sauerkraut, and for a shorter period of time. It also uses other vegetables like radishes and scallions along with cabbage, and is seasoned with fish sauce, chili pepper, and garlic. (Compare that to your standard sauerkraut, which is generally just cabbage, salt, and caraway seeds.)
Besides bringing enough heat to tickle your tastebuds, kimchi is great for your gut (and all of your de-bloating needs) thanks to its probiotic properties. But the benefits don’t stop there. Keep reading for a complete run-down of kimchi health benefits.
Scroll down to see the health benefits of kimchi.
1. It’s good for your heart. Eating kimchi regularly has been found to lower serum lipid levels—aka your blood cholesterol levels. Study participants who ate the most amount of kimchi (210 grams per day!) saw a significant reduction in their LDL cholesterol levels as well as in their blood glucose levels, although even people who ate 15 grams of kimchi per day saw some effects.
2. It boosts your immune system. Kimchi has been linked with giving the immune system a boost—and not just because it’s making your gut happy (although that does play a part). Scientists have found that it’s also a major antioxidant booster, which in turn keeps the body in top form and can help fight disease. Definitely worth adding to your sick day survival kit.
3. Kimchi may reduce inflammation. Here’s a way that kimchi helps your whole body from head to toe: reducing inflammation. A study found that an acid in kimchi, HDMPPA (which is basically like its active ingredient), reduced inflammation in mice. More research needs to be done, but def promising stuff!
4. It’s linked to improving memory. Sure, fatty fish and nuts do plenty to boost cognitive function, but it turns out that kimchi could be brain food, too. In one study performed on mice, scientists found that consuming kimchi was linked to improved memory and skill-learning, and researchers said it had potential to lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Again, it’s a mouse study so more research is needed, but still—pretty cool!
5. It’s antibacterial. Not only is kimchi itself antibacterial (basically, the gut-boosting bad bacteria in kimchi can fight off the bad stuff!), but so are some of the other ingredients it’s commonly made with, like garlic and chili peppers.
Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Possible side effects of kimchi
Even with all these amazing benefits, there are a few not-so great issues to be aware of. Even though kimchi has been shown to have tons of health benefits, high intakes of it has been linked to gastric cancer (possibly due to its sodium content, researchers suggest). It’s important to note that this is a correlation, not a proven cause-and-effect case, but is something to be aware of.
Also, because kimchi is often made with garlic and hot chili peppers, it might not be the best fermented food choice for people who don’t tolerate hot spices well. If you fall into this group, go for sauerkraut instead, which has many of the same benefits but doesn’t have the same heat that kimchi brings.
Photo: Stocksy/Alita Ong
How to work kimchi into your diet
Ready to try making the gut-healthy fermented food at home? It actually isn’t all that tricky. “It’s one of those things, like making beer or bread, that maybe isn’t that hard but there are a lot of steps you can screw up. You really have to pay attention to what you’re doing,” says Judy Joo, the executive chef at London’s Jinjuu, host of the Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple. Here’s how she says to do it:
- To prepare the kimchi, cut your cabbage lengthways into quarters. Put it into a very large bowl and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Pour in water and weigh the cabbage down with a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate overnight.
- To prepare the spice paste, combine garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chili flakes, shrimp, and sugar in food processor and blend until smooth, adding water as necessary to make a loose paste, about one minute. Stir in the scallions and carrots.
- Remove the cabbage from the fridge and drain it well, squeezing out as much water as possible. Rinse it with cold running water once and drain it again.
- Rub spice paste over the cabbage and in between each leaf. Place it in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Then, while still covered, let sit at room temperature to ferment for at least 24 hours and up to two weeks. Then put it back in the refrigerator to enjoy. It will keep for one month.
Below are three delish kimchi recipes, including one from Joo, to start with that will make your body happy on so many levels.
1. Judy Joo’s cabbage kimchi
If you’ve never made kimchi before, this is a great basic recipe to start with. Joo’s recipe calls for cabbage, salt, sugar, water, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, carrots, and scallions. She also likes adding shrimp to up the protein and round it out as a full meal.
2. Kimchi bibimbap
Another way to get your kimchi fix is to add it to a piping hot bowl of bibimbap, a traditional Korean rice dish topped with egg and lots of veggies. Virtually any mix of veggie works in the recipe, so it’s a great way to use up the produce you have in the fridge before it goes bad.
3. Dairy-free cashew kimchi dip
Okay, now this is downright genius: Well+Good Wellness Council member and clinical nutritionist McKel Hill, MS, RDN incorporates kimchi right into a dip—her gut-healthy take on creamy onion dip. She whips it up by adding the kimchi along with cashews, hemp seeds, and a few key spices to her food processor until the blend nice and smooth. So smart, right?
Here’s why adding garlic to your kimchi is so great for your body. And the hot peppers are full of benefits, too!
10 Surprising Benefits of Kimchi
Kimchi is a popular dish in Asia that is characterized by an array of salted and fermented vegetables. Kimchi possesses anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Health magazine has ranked it among the world’s five healthiest foods.
The wealth of antioxidants it contains are thought to exercise healing effects on the digestive system, as well as chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and skin disorders.
Nutritional Value of Kimchi
Kimchi is a low-calorie, high fiber, nutrient-packed side dish. It is a storehouse of a multitude of vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. It is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium, and selenium. It has an impressive assortment of antioxidants and provides an additional benefit of probiotics in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. It contains numerous helpful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyanates and has a low amount of fat and sugar.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
The delectable – yet distinct – taste of kimchi, which has been admired globally comes with a super bonus of health benefits attributed to a range of qualitative evidence supported by several pieces of research. The major health benefits are discussed below.
A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture states that kimchi is a food used to promote digestion. It is a source of probiotics attributing to the process of fermentation involved in its preparation. The process of fermentation not only enhances the taste but also creates healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus, which is required by the body to keep a healthy state of intestinal flora.
Kimchi is made from cabbage, which is already well known for its positive health benefits, including promoting intestinal health, with fiber content assisting in stabilizing bowel movements and preventing constipation.
In a randomized trial conducted by researchers at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Pusan National University in Korea, it was found that kimchi helps in lowering the total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol along with the concentration of blood glucose in the body.
Regular consumption of kimchi has a beneficial effect on the levels of cholesterol. Garlic, which is used to prepare it, is rich in selenium and allicin. These two components are thought to help in reducing unhealthy levels, in concert with a healthy diet and exercise. Allicin, an eminent component which assists in lowering cholesterol levels may reduce the risk of developing cardiac disorders, such as strokes and heart attacks. Selenium also exerts a protective effect on the artery walls by preventing the build-up of plaque and decreasing the threat of atherosclerosis.
A 2008 study found that kimchi varieties made using the red pepper seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants along with phenols and flavonoids present in it exert a protective effect against oxidative damage and shield the body from the harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals.
The presence of lactobacillus bacteria in kimchi makes it a multi-faceted condiment. It extends its therapeutic effects on various skin ailments such as atopic dermatitis which is characterized by increased levels of immunoglobulin E and skin lesions such as edema and hemorrhage. According to a 2018 Korean study conducted on mice, kimchi may help alleviate atopic dermatitis. Another animal study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology has shown that healthy bacteria present in fermented kimchi exert suppressive effects on mite-induced dermatitis and help in reducing inflammation. However, more scientific evidence would be needed to ascertain the benefits for humans with atopic dermatitis.
Kimchi is a source of healthy lactobacillus bacteria which the body utilizes for its healthy functioning. The fiber content present in it keeps your body full and your hunger satisfied for a longer duration preventing you from overeating. In one study published in the Nutrition Research conducted on obese patients showed favorable effects of fermented kimchi on the body with respect to body mass index (BMI) and body fat, which helps in reducing the development of factors implicated in metabolic syndrome.
Boosts Immune System
The multi-nutrient packed kimchi is rich in a range of flavonoids and phenolic components. The variety of ingredients involved in the preparation of kimchi – including ginger, garlic, and peppers are thought to be super protectors on the immune system. They are thought to help in fighting infections and are valuable in curing cold and flu symptoms.
Another valuable benefit provided by kimchi attributed to the presence of antioxidants and vitamin C – is its anti-aging qualities. A study evaluating the anti-aging activity of kimchee suggests has revealed that it helps in regulating and attenuating inflammation that speeds up the aging process. The same study also showed promising results with regard to factors like reduced oxidative stress in the cells, inhibition of lipid peroxidation and extended lifespan in the subjects, making kimchi a potent anti-aging component.
Kimchi may be a valuable food that contributes to a reduced risk of cancer. One study performed on its samples has validated its anti-cancer potential given its ability to inhibit the proliferation of unbeneficial cells. Other powerful cancer fighters present in cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, are glucosinolates. Glucosinolates break down to form isothiocyanates, which are considered effective against cancerous cell growth. Kimchi has beneficial implications for being anti-carcinogenic, however, more research is needed to confirm the effects.
A study conducted on high-fat-diet-fed type-2 diabetic rats who were given kimchi revealed some anti-diabetic properties of this Korean delicacy. The study showed better glucose tolerance and lower levels of fasting glucose after eating a kimchi-containing diet in those rodents with diabetes. It also suggested that this Korean delicacy may prove more useful in diabetes if it is eaten with a normal or low-fat diet instead of high-fat food.
Reduces Gastric Ulcers
Kimchee exerts therapeutic effects in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Research conducted in this regard has shown that the antagonistic activity of kimchi attributes to the abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria which can inhibit the harmful pathogens from connecting to the human gastric cancer cells.
Kimchi is prepared and enjoyed in many varieties. It makes an excellent side dish or pre-meal appetizer. It can also be added to soups, stews or rice dishes. Kimchee serves deliciously well even as a topping on sandwiches or with pancakes.
Various studies have proven the potential effectiveness of kimchi in curing avian influenza or bird flu virus, and many other viral diseases affecting the poultry. However, none of these results are definitive, and more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
How to Prepare Kimchi?
Kimchi can be prepared in different ways, depending upon one’s taste and preference. There are many types, available which are made using vegetables including Chinese cabbage, leek, scallion, radish, cucumber, ginseng, garlic, cayenne peppers, and Indian mustard leaves. These vegetables are mixed with spices and seasonings and kept for fermentation for specified days under favorable conditions. Let us take a look at the recipe below.
Easy-to-Make Kimchi Recipe
Enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of the Korean delicacy! 0 from 0 votes Pin Course: Appetizer Cuisine: Korean Keyword: kimchi Prep Time: 2 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 47 minutes Servings: 1 quart Author: Ishani Bose
- 8 ounces of Korean Raddish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2 pounds of napa cabbage
- 4 medium scallions trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1-5 tbsp of red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
- 5-6 cloves grated garlic
- 1/4 cup of iodized salt
- filtered water (as desired)
- To make kimchi, first, cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters, through the stem. From each of the pieces then cut the cores. Ensure that you cut each quarter cross wise to strips that are not less than 2-inch in width.
- In a large bowl, place the cabbage and sprinkle salt all over it. Use your hands to mix the salt properly until it begins to soften a bit. Now, add enough water to it until the cabbage is properly covered. Place a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy. Allow it to stand like that for one or two hours.
- Ensure that the cabbage is rinsed properly in cold water at least three times. Keep it aside to drain it in a colander for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, start to prepare the spice paste.
- To make the spice paste, first, properly rinse and dry the bowl you will use for salting. Then add the sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, ginger, garlic or water and stir into a smooth paste. To it, add the red pepper/chili flakes and stir properly. If you want it mild, add just a tablespoon of it. If you want it to be spicy, add 5 tablespoons of it. Once ready, keep it aside until the cabbage is ready.
- Once the cabbage is ready, gently squeeze out any water, if remaining, from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. To this add the radish and the scallions and mix well.
- Gently work the paste using your hands and let it seep into the vegetables until it is properly coated.
- Once ready, take a 1-quart jar and pack the kimchi in it. Press it down until the liquid that comes out of the kimchi rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least an inch of space on the top. Seal the jar, once done.
- Allow the jar to stand at cool room temperature, far away from direct sunlight, for anywhere between 1 and 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine (which is the liquid of the kimchi) may seep out of the lid.
- Keep checking the kimchi atleast once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon. This way the vegetables will be submerged under the brine. Allow it to ferment properly and keep checking the taste from time to time. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough, put it in a jar inside the refrigerator. Either you eat it right away, or keep it inside an airtight container inside the refrigerator for another week or two.
Kimchi gets its umami flavor from seafood. While most regions and families may use fish sauce, oyster or shrimp paste, it can turn out to be quite difficult if you are a vegetarian. Thus for a vegetarian kimchi, you can use 3/4 teaspoon of kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoon of water. You can refrigerate the kimchi for up to a few months. You must use clean utensils every time to extract the kimchi from the jar.
Side Effects of Kimchi
Kimchi may cause some side effects, as follows:
- Digestive Health: Excess consumption of kimchi may lead to digestive problems. Research conducted suggests that too much of it may aggravate the risk of developing gastric cancer when the excess sodium and red pepper combine to form a carcinogen. On a less severe note, due to fermentation, kimchi is abundant in fiber that maybe gas and bloat – causing issues in susceptible individuals. It is advisable, to begin with adding small quantities of kimchi in the diet in order to assess its effects.
- Cardiac Functions & High Blood Pressure: Individuals suffering from high blood pressure should be cautious while eating kimchi given the presence of high salt concentration, which gets further accentuated during the fermentation process. However, a study conducted on hypertensive subjects revealed that consuming low-sodium kimchi may not exert harmful effects on blood pressure and cardiac activities. It is always advisable to consult a medical professional before considering it for therapeutic usage.
A staple in Korean cuisine, kimchi is a mixture of fermented vegetables that can be eated as a side dish or as an additive to different types of dishes. Aside from its appetizing taste, however, kimchi is also mostly known for the health benefits it provides to the body.
According to University Health News, kimchi is a nutritious vegetable probiotic food that has low calories, low fat but is rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C and beta-carotene, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals and probiotic strains of Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis. Given all these nutrients, it’s not surprising to know that kimchi offers a lot of health benefits.
Check out five of the benefits kimchi provides to the human body below:
There are studies proving that kimchi can really help people lose weight. The bacteria present in this food suppresses the appetite and reduces blood sugar levels. Its fiber content makes one feel full fast and for longer periods. Some experts even claim that eating kimchi can help obese people shed pounds, as per Organic Facts.
Kimchi is also useful for people who want to regulate their cholesterol levels. Researchers at the Pusan National University in Korea found that kimchi really lowers total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol, which are bad for the body. In doing so, kimchi eaters reduce the risk of cardiac disorders like strokes and heart attacks.
The presence of antioxidants and vitamin C in kimchi means it can regulate inflammation, which is said to speed up the aging process. A study has demonstrated the anti-aging effects of kimchi on the human body, particularly in the cellular level.
Boosts Immune System
The Korean delicacy is also useful in boosting the immune system thanks to its wide range of flavonoids and phenolic components. Kimchi has peppers, garlic and ginger and all of these are known to have a positive effect on the immune system. Therefore, eating kimchi can help fight common infections, as well as cold and flu symptoms.
Believe it or not, kimchi also has properties that help combat the development of certain cancers. A study has validated the anti-cancer properties of this food. Kimchi is apparently rich in flavonoids and glucosinolates that inhibit cancer cell growth.
© Jess Lander, Creative Commons
While there is an increasing interest in health benefits originating from kimchi, there is also a concern regarding sodium intake accompanied by kimchi consumption. Here, we investigated the possible effects of kimchi consumption on hypertension and/or cardiac function by varying salt levels in kimchi. Previous findings suggesting that sodium intake modulates blood pressure were re-emphasized in a relatively recent study using a genetically homogeneous population . In that epidemiological study, normotensive subjects with different degrees of sodium intake showed different blood pressure levels, suggesting a cause-and-effect relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure . Additionally, dietary approaches that use decreased sodium content successfully lower blood pressure in human subjects who are either normotensive or hypertensive, indicating a direct association between sodium intake and blood pressure . Therefore, kimchi as a salted traditional Korean dish might contribute to an increase in blood pressure.
Cardiac hypertrophy is one of the adverse changes caused by hypertension. It is considered to be a severe form of hypertensive vascular disease because of its continuous progression to cardiac failure even after treatment for hypertension . Furthermore, a prolonged hypertensive condition manifested by increased blood pressure can damage tissue structures and cause functional consequences such as cardiac failure and kidney disease . Thus, the hypertrophic status of cardiac tissues can be used as an indicator of the degree of hypertension severity. In addition, many studies have corroborated that salt loading enlarges cardiac myocytes and induces fibrosis in the heart and kidneys apart from its hemodynamic effect . Gu et al. demonstrated that sodium directly regulates hypertrophic growth of cardiac myoblasts and vascular smooth muscle cells. Taken together, salt loading can be a strong inducer of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, which are suggested to be a mechanism responsible for a progressively damaged heart condition . In particular, LV hypertrophy, which is directly associated with salt intake, is an independent determinant of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with hypertension . Salt loading increases LV mass in non-spontaneously hypertensive WKY rats without inducing noticeable effects on arterial pressure . Therefore, LV mass could be an effective way to detect cardiac hypertrophy severity that might be induced by kimchi salt content. Because of the close link among salt consumption, hypertension, and cardiac hypertrophy, we investigated whether kimchi, a salted and fermented Korean cabbage dish, could adversely affect blood pressure and/or cardiac hypertrophy. We also searched for the possibility of using low sodium kimchi to lessen sodium-related adverse effects on hypertension and/or cardiac hypertrophy, which was measured by blood pressure, LV mass, and cardiomyocyte size, respectively. The amount of kimchi provided per day to rats was equivalent to an average daily dose observed in the typical Korean diet . Throughout the experimental period, the SHR groups showed elevated sBPs compared to those in normotensive WKY rats, indicating that the SHR rat is a good model to test the effect of high sodium kimchi under the hypertensive condition. The high sodium kimchi containing 3.0% salt by wet weight elicited a modest but significant increase in sBP in SHRs, which develop hypertension spontaneously. Based on these findings, frequent intake of high sodium kimchi may be not advisable for those who have a high risk for hypertension. At the same time, the blood pressure-elevating effects of high sodium kimchi may be harmful to those who are susceptible to hypertension. In a previous study, WKY rats, in which blood pressure is within the normal range, showed modest changes in blood pressure and LV mass only when they were fed a diet loaded with extremely high salt (8% in diet) . Therefore, even if we did not identify the effect of high sodium kimchi supplementation on blood pressure in the normotensive WKY group, it is presumed that a high sodium kimchi diet was less likely to affect blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is within the normal range. Interestingly, the low sodium kimchi, containing 1.4% of salt by wet weight, did not further raise sBP even in a hypertensive state, as shown in the SHR groups. This finding suggests that the salt content found in low sodium kimchi is not high enough to exceed a threshold level to elicit an increase in blood pressure and thereby allow the body to retain its ability to maintain constant blood pressure level. Therefore, lowering salt content in kimchi appears to be effective to avoid an elevation in blood pressure under hypertensive conditions.
While the exact mechanism of the inhibitory effect of low sodium containing kimchi on the elevation in blood pressure is unclear, the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) might be involved. RAAS plays an essential role in the maintenance of volume homeostasis and regulation of blood pressure . High salt increases blood pressure through increased RAAS activation, leading to an increase in cardiac output and vascular resistance . Thus, the extent of changes in blood pressure is buffered by regulation of the RAAS. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are often used to effectively lower blood pressure . In the present study, higher levels of serum aldosterone were observed in the SHR groups when compared with those in the WKY group, suggesting that an increase in blood aldosterone may be one of the mechanisms to raise blood pressure in SHRs. Interestingly, serum aldosterone levels were lower in the low sodium kimchi group even if their blood pressure levels were similar to those of SHRs. Furthermore, the medium and high sodium kimchi groups demonstrated that their aldosterone levels were similar to the SHRs despite that their blood pressure was much higher than that of the SHRs. Taken together, eating kimchi appears to be effective for either reducing or maintaining blood aldosterone levels to control blood pressure. However, the possible aldosterone lowering effect of kimchi was not reflected in the blood pressure levels of all kimchi groups. Thus, overall aldosterone-modulating effects by kimchi might not be strong enough to lower blood pressure in SHRs which may experience various blood pressure-increasing mechanisms. Clearly, low sodium kimchi did not further elevate blood pressure in the SHRs unlike medium and high sodium kimchi. Therefore, low sodium kimchi could be an alternative way to maintain the beneficial effects of kimchi without exerting harmful effects on blood pressure.
We examined cardiomyocyte size and the LV index to further demonstrate the effects of sodium derived from kimchi on hypertension. Blood pressure is closely associated with cardiac hypertrophy, which is one of the major risk factors underlying cardiovascular morbidity and mortality . In the present study, the SHRs showed a higher LV mass and a higher LV index than those of the WKY, suggesting that the SHR is in a relative cardiac hypertrophic state compared to that of the WKY. Regardless of sodium content, kimchi supplementation in the SHRs did not further increase cardiac and LV mass or cardiac myocyte size after 6 weeks of the diets. Therefore, salt content ranging from 1.4% to 3% of total kimchi wet weight did not seem to exert changes in cardiac mass and functions, at least during 6 weeks of kimchi supplementation. It is of interest that the high sodium kimchi supplementation did not further enlarge cardiomyocytes, although its high sodium content significantly elevated BP under a hypertensive state. This raises the possibility that certain bioactive components contained in kimchi might display beneficial effects on heart function, which was not experimentally shown in this study.
Besides the heart we examined the function of other organs such as the kidneys and liver following kimchi supplementation using general biochemical parameters to investigate if there was any adverse effects of kimchi. The kidneys are another organ targeted by hypertension and play an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension . In our study, BUN and Cr were used as biochemical indicators of short and long-term kidney function in SHRs and WKYs. Relatively elevated BUN levels were observed in all SHR groups compared to those in the WKY group, indicating an SHR-specific difference in basal BUN levels, which was also shown in another study . However, Cr levels in SHRs did not appear to be affected by primary hypertension, as they had similar levels of Cr to those in the WKY group. Kimchi supplementation did not affect either BUN or Cr levels in the SHR groups, suggesting that kimchi may not influence kidney function in this setting. GOT and GPT levels are indicators of general liver function. In line with previous findings , we observed higher levels of GOT and GPT in all SHR groups relative to those in the WKY group at the end of experiment when the animals were 16-weeks-old, but these changes were not further affected by kimchi supplementation. Therefore, we conclude that kimchi is less likely to have a negative effect on liver function. In contrast, cations such as sodium and potassium in the serum were equally maintained in both the SHRs and WKYs, indicating that sodium and potassium levels were not affected by the initial changes occurring during the development of primary hypertension in this setting.
In summary, supplementation with low sodium kimchi did not influence blood pressure, cardiomyocyte size, or LV mass in SHRs, whereas supplementation with high sodium kimchi further raised blood pressure. Our findings show the significance of a low sodium kimchi diet for maintaining blood pressure when compared to high sodium kimchi under a hypertensive condition. Considering the numerous health benefits of consuming kimchi, as evidenced by in vivo and in vitro studies , low sodium kimchi could be an alternative option for those who may need to restrict sodium intake because of hypertension or related disease conditions while maintaining its associated beneficial health effects.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables.
- Using a food processor, with a coarse grater blade, coarsely grate suey choy, onion, celery, carrots, ginger, garlic, peppers, radish, and apples. Place in a 2 quart bowl.
- Add parsley, dulse, and fermented vegetable juice to the grated vegetables and mix well.
- Place fermented vegetables in a sanitized wide mouth jar. Press down with a kraut pounder to remove any air pockets and ensure a solid pack. Wait for 1 hour so that juice from the vegetables rises to the top of the jar.
- Place a single cabbage leaf over the contents of the jar, pushing it down under the liquid in the jar. This protects the fermenting vegetables from exposure to the air, which can cause mold. A glass weight or other heavy object can be used to keep the cabbage leaf below the surface of the brine.
- Secure the jar lid with a vapour lock to inhibit contamination.
- Allow to ferment for 5 to 7 days, or until active fermentation ceases.
- Allow the fermented vegetables to ferment at room temperature for a week. Once all active bubbling has stopped the jar may be refrigerated.
- Replace the vapour lock lid with a normal wide-mouth lid. Refrigerate.
Kimchi, a pungent fermented cabbage, is a staple in the Korean diet and has gained popularity due to health claims about its anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-oxidative, and cholesterol-lowering effects (Park 2014). These potential benefits have been popularly attributed to lactic acid bacteria that undergo fermentation to produce compounds including vitamins, prebiotic factors, bacteriocins, and dietary fibers (Cheigh et al. 1994).
However, several studies (Nan et al. 2005) have raised questions regarding the risks associated with the frequent consumption of kimchi, particularly due to its high salt content. One study in South Korea estimated the average sodium content in 100 g of kimchi at approximately 830 mg, which translates to average intake of nearly 4,900 mg per day—more than twice the 2,000 mg recommended by the WHO/FAO (Park 2009). With such a high sodium content, kimchi has been linked to several diseases, mainly gastric cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund found that there is probable evidence that both salt and salt-preserved foods are associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer (Ge et al. 2012, Umesawa et al. 2016). Moreover, countries with traditional diets that include substantial amounts of salty (rather than salt-preserved foods) also have high rates of stomach cancer (Kypridemos et al. 2017).
According to recent data on the global incidence of gastric cancer, Korea has an age-standardized rate (ASR) of 41.8., which is approximately three times the global ASR of 12.1 (GLOBOCAN 2012). Although the rates have slowly decreased since 1999 (Jung 2015), South Korea still has the highest prevalence of gastric cancer in the world.
Like most malignancies, the pathogenesis of gastric cancer is conventionally attributed to multiple vulnerabilities and insults, including genetics, smoking, alcohol, diet, hygiene, and Helicobacter pylori infection. The major risk factors traditionally associated with kimchi, specifically, are excessive levels of sodium as well as nitrate, which undergoes chemical reactions to form N-nitroso compounds, which are potent carcinogens (Song et al. 2015). However, nitrates occur endogenously; are seen naturally in fruit and vegetables and all animals, including humans; and are frequently used as additives in processed meats.
One case-control study claimed kimchi was a risk factor for gastric cancer solely due to a significantly higher consumption of kimchi reported by gastric cancer patients in comparison with the control group (Nan et al. 2005). Another paper proposed that high sodium intake alters the gastric mucosal barrier, increasing the possibility of exposure to N-nitroso compounds and causes inflammation to the gastric epithelium, promoting endogenous mutations (Wang 2009). But a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands followed a group of people for more than six years and reported that a higher intake of nitrate from foods did not correlate at all with an increased risk of gastric cancer (Van Loon et al. 1996).
Aside from the inconsistent results, the expected correlation between high salt intake and gastric cancer is not seen in the United States. According to 2007–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, the U.S. average intake of sodium per day is only slightly lower than Korea’s: 4,500 mg for males aged 19–50 and 3,000 mg for women of the same age group. What is intriguing, though, is that the incidence of gastric cancer is relatively low in the United States. Another important consideration is that while a national screening program has been implemented in Korea, there is no standard screening test for gastric cancer in the United States, possibly resulting in inaccurate data secondary to artifacts in reporting.
Adding to the interesting but confusing landscape painted by kimchi is the question of its red pepper content. Capsaicin is the principal pungent component in hot peppers, including red chili peppers. Conflicting epidemiologic data and basic research results suggest that capsaicin can act either as a carcinogen, co-carcinogen, or as a cancer preventive agent. Capsaicin is unique among naturally occurring irritant compounds because the initial neuronal excitation evoked is followed by a long-lasting refractory period during which the previously excited neurons are no longer responsive to a broad range of stimuli, a process that has been exploited for its therapeutic potential.
While kimchi’s high salt and hot pepper content may seem like risk factors for gastric cancer, the findings seem sufficiently divided and inconclusive to claim this association with any confidence. Further investigation is clearly mandated. In the meantime, it would seem that moderation in our habitual kimchi intake may be the best approach.
Roger Clemens, DrPH, CFS, Contributing Editor
Adjunct Professor, Univ. of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, Calif.
Angel Jung is a master’s degree candidate, global medicine, at the Univ. of Southern California School of Medicine ().
10 Health Benefits Of Kimchi According To Science (+6 Delicious Recipes)
Kimchi is a well-known traditional Korean side dish around the world. It is commonly composed of Chinese cabbages or other leafy vegetables fermented with the use of Lactic Acid Bacteria. Kimchi can be seen in almost all Asian restaurants worldwide.
Kimchi is one of the oldest known ethnic dishes originating from Korea. Kimchi has been present as early as the early period of the Three Kingdoms in Korea (37 BC-7 AD). Kimchi has been seen mentioned in ancient journals dating thousands of years ago. (1)
This is why it is deeply ingrained in the history and culture of Koreans and other Asian societies. It is only recently that people are starting to realize that other than Kimchi’s unique and delicious taste, it also holds potential in being a nutritious part of our daily meals.
Most of this health benefits come from the vegetable and bacteria used to ferment Kimchi. Take a look at 10 health benefits that you can get from Kimchi according to science:
1. Consuming Kimchi Regularly Helps Improve Your Digestive System
Let us start with one of the most obvious benefits of most fermented dishes. Kimchi contains millions of lactobacilli also known as the “good bacteria”. This is because of the process of how it is made and prepared.
Lactobacilli are bacteria that normally live in our digestive system and help us digest the food we eat. Too much stress in our environment more often than not causes the lactobacilli count in our body to drop which could lead to indigestions or sometimes diarrhea. (2)
Kimchi due to its fermentation contains enough of this good bacteria to replenish our bodies supply. Coupled with the fiber from the leaves and vegetable that Kimchi is made of, you can assure that eating Kimchi will protect you from diseases such as constipation and indigestions.
Some researchers have also shown that lactobacillus has the ability to fight off common food borne pathogens in our digestive tracts. Kimchi antimicrobial property is sure to ward us against uncomfortable and deadly gastrointestinal diseases. (3)
Key Takeaway: If you are experiencing trouble in eating or defecating, Kimchi with its high fiber content and millions of lactobacillus will surely cure you in no time. Make sure to include this in your daily diet to maintain a healthy stomach and digestive system.
2. Eating Kimchi Daily Will Improve Your Immunity
Research have shown that seventy-five percent of our immune system exists in our digestive system due to the food we eat and the drinks we take. Because of this, some researches have linked probiotic rich foods like Kimchi can help increase our overall immunity. (4)
Improving our immunity through the food we eat will increase our defenses against all types of bacteria. This is because of the fact that the digestive system is our first defense from foreign objects that enter our body through our mouth.
Kimchi is also one of the ingredients of red pepper. Red pepper, just like any other peppers, is known to have anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
Cabbage, on the other hand, has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that also helps boost our immunity. Cabbage in Kimchi is known to have biochemical such as sulfide and isocyanate which are known to have antimicrobial properties. (5)
Key Takeaway: Our immune system is one of the most important parts of our body. Without it, we will be prone to a lot of diseases which would easily cause our death. Luckily, a lot of the ingredients in Kimchi can help boost and strengthen our immune system.
3. Kimchi Is A Low Calorie Dish That Can Reduce Your Food Cravings
Korean in their early history are very strict when it comes to their health. That is why a lot of their dishes are primarily composed of vegetables and healthy foods such as tofu and Kimchi.
That is why Kimchi was one of their favorite dishes because all of Kimchi’s ingredients are jam packed with nutrients but are all low in calorie. Kimchi is mainly composed of vegetables such as cabbage or radishes.
Both of which are high in satiating fiber, or fibers that easily make you feel as if your stomach is full. Probiotics are also known to play a part in weight reduction and stopping sugar addiction. (6)
Recent studies have shown that improving the good bacteria in our gut, such as lactobacillus, can help the body regulate the cholesterol it absorbs through the digestive tract. Lactobacillus from Kimchi has even been seen as a powerful weapon against obesity. (7)
Many have speculated that this may be the reason why the obesity and overweight population in Korea seem to be very low compared to other countries.
Key Takeaway: Kimchi is a healthy and delicious way to lose weight and at the same time improve your gastrointestinal tract health.
4. Kimchi Can Provide You Antioxidants To Fight Cancer
Kimchi is filled with ingredients and spices that are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are also known to be cancer preventing foods because of their ability to promote our bodies overall health.
Cabbage, for example, can contribute a lot of compounds that are naturally anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. Adding this to your diet would surely help you fight off harmful diseases such as cancer. Cabbage in Kimchi also contains indole-3-carbinol which is a powerful drug against colon cancer.(8)
Garlic, radishes, scallions, ginger and red peppers are also high in components that are antioxidants that are also anti-inflammatory in their nature. Anti-inflammatory dishes are important in preventing diseases associated with our body’s oxidation, such as cognitive disorders, coronary artery diseases, or cancer. (9)
Capsaicin coming from chili peppers such as red pepper that is used in the production of Kimchi have been shown to aid our body’s defense against lung cancer. Allicin, which comes from garlic, has also been proven to battle the causes of stomach, liver, and thyroid cancer. (10)
Key Takeaway: Cancer can scare us to do a lot of the things we want to in our lives. Kimchi can help us fight this fear, and have a more enjoyable and cancer free life!
5. Eating Kimchi Can Dramatically Slow Down The Aging Process
Growing old or worse, looking old is one of the scariest inevitable things that people come to face. It scares us because of our fear of death and the judgment of our appearance by the people around us.
Sadly, the increase in stress and pollution that people are experiencing from work and the environment aren’t making things better but worse. That is why we are frantic to find ways to both extend our lives, youth, and looks.
The best-known solution to rapid aging are antioxidants that our body can absorb from the food we eat or pharmaceutical drugs that we can buy in pharmacies. Do you ever wonder why Koreans always look as if they have ivory white and silk smooth skins? Researchers have, and a lot of them pointed to the diet that most Koreans have.
All Koreans eat one thing in common, that’s right, Kimchi. Researchers have speculated that the antioxidant properties of the ingredients used in making Kimchi are responsible to this seemingly fountain-of-youth that all Koreans have. (11)
Key Takeaway: If you want to look young most of your life, then eating Kimchi is perfect for you. Get that perfect skin Koreans always boast about!
6. Kimchi Can Help You Prevent Peptic Ulcer
Peptic Ulcer refers to sores or ulcers between our stomach and our small intestines. It is often caused by the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria often enter our body through the things we eat. (12)
Some symptoms of Peptic Ulcer include bloating, nausea, heart burn, or vomiting. In some sever cases it can manifest in the form of dark or black stool, weight loss, vomiting blood, or severe pain in the upper abdomen.
Two-thirds of the world population are infected with H. Pylori. Thus, a lot of us are prone to having Peptic Ulcer. If it is left untreated, peptic ulcer can lead to bleeding and perforation or tear of the stomach wall. This can in some cases can also lead to death.
The fermentation of Kimchi causes Kimchi to contain leuconostoc mesenteroides also known as lactic acid bacteria. It is a bacteria which is known to produce dextrin, which is an anti-microbial substance that is used to stop the growth of Helicobacter Pylori in our bodies. (13)
Key Takeaway: There is a 60 percent chance that you are already infected with Helicobacter Pylori, this means that if you do not take care of your health there is a big chance for you to get peptic ulcer. It would be best for us not to risk it and add Kimchi as part of our regular meals.
7. Kimchi Has Been Found To Decrease The Cholesterol In Our Bodies
A Korean study has recently found evidence that support claims that eating Kimchi as a daily part of your meals can help in keeping cholesterol and glucose levels in our body in a perfect balance.
Researchers from Pusan National University in Korea subjected 100 young men as samples for the study. The young men were then divided into two groups. One group were fed a large amount of Kimchi, about half a pound, and the other group was given a smaller dose, half, and ounce. (14)
They consistently did this for a week then tested the blood of all 100 students. Remarkably, both groups received almost the same amount of dip in their cholesterol levels. Suggesting that even small amounts of Kimchi can greatly benefit our hearts.
It has also been published in the Journal of Medicinal foods, which was published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., that a research has proven that its subjects that ate the fermented cabbage dish Kimchi saw a drop in their body’s total cholesterol level, Low Density Lipoproteins (or “bad cholesterol”) and blood glucose levels after just a week of taking part in the research.
Key Takeaway: If you are a regular eater of Kimchi, whether it is in large amounts or not, you can rest assure that you have lower chances of getting heart diseases than those that do not.
8. Eating Kimchi Daily Can Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease wherein your blood sugar, or blood glucose, levels are higher than normal. Glucose in our bodies come from the sugar in the food we eat. Insulin, on the other hand, is in charge of breaking down the glucose particles for our body to absorb and turn into energy.
In type 1 diabetes patients, their bodies are not able to make enough insulin to break down the glucose. While in type 2 diabetes patients, the more common type, their bodies can produce enough insulin, however, their organs cannot make use of the insulin well. (15)
Diabetes has become one of the human race’s most common long-term diseases. It has been estimated that 415 million people worldwide already have diabetes, meaning 1 in 11 adults can have diabetes. Worse, 46 percent of them do not even know it. (16)
Researches have shown that the antioxidant properties of Kimchi can significantly reduce the glucose in a person’s body. The same research says that this result shows that Kimchi can be a powerful weapon against diabetes in adults. (17)
The research has shown that in just four weeks of eating a healthy dose of cabbage based Kimchi, all subjects were seen to have higher levels of insulin and at the same time lower levels of glucose.
Key Takeaway: Diabetes is scary, but what is even scarier is knowing that you can prevent it but not doing so. Eating Kimchi can be a healthy and delicious way to keep diabetes at bay.
9. Eating Kimchi Can Help Reduce The Severe Symptoms Of Food Allergies
Most food allergies can be triggered by eating the smallest amounts of sea foods, milk, peanuts, fishes, wheat, and eggs. The allergy is triggered by certain proteins that the patient’s body has mistakenly decided as harmful.
If you have a food allergy, whenever you consume the smallest amount of the food which you are allergic to, your body signals your immune system to release chemicals known as histamines. This chemical then can cause swelling of the face, constriction of your airways, and more. (18)
Some people can even have an allergy to whole groups of food, such as seafood, and egg based products. This prevents them from enjoying a lot of dishes thus reducing their opportunities to taste and enjoy most foods.
Recent studies that have been conducted that Kimchi was able to suppress one of the most dangerous symptoms of food allergy. The study which was published in 2010, showed that eating Kimchi before eating the food which you are allergic to has prevented the airways to constrict. (19)
It is theorized that the probiotics present in Kimchi were responsible for this positive outcome. More research is being done on this topic, however, this gives hope to people who are afflicted with deadly food allergies.
Key Takeaway: Studies are now getting closer to completely prove that eating Kimchi is beneficial for people with food allergies. If proven, allergy patients can now have a better way of life and more opportunities to try the food they love.
10. Kimchi Protects Our Body From Chemicals Coming From Plastics
Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a very common chemical used to harden plastics that are used in very common things such as plastic drinking bottles, or disposable food containers. It can also be found in CD’s medical devices, the lining of canned foods, dental sealants, and much more. (20)
Getting BPA in our body can cause a lot of problem for us. It can disrupt our hormonal levels, negatively impact the brains and behavior of developing infants and children, it can cause us cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes.
A study in 2007 by scientists, were able to prove the ability of a certain bacteria present in Kimchi in degrading Bisphenol A. This bacteria is a probiotic bacteria known as Bacillus pumilus. (21)
This shows that the benefits of Kimchi stretch beyond organic threats but also man-made ones such as BPA’s. With our ever advancing technology, it would soon be impossible to avoid these chemicals. Luckily, we can easily combat them by eating something as simple as Kimchi.
Key Takeaway: BPA’s are one of the most common chemicals humans are being exposed to every day. It can cause so much damage to our bodies unless we detoxify them with healthy foods such as Kimchi.
What To Look Forward To
Due to Kimchi’s popularity, it has been given the prestigious title of being South Koreas national food. Kimchi’s tangy and tasty has stolen the heart of, not just Koreans, but everyone in Asia and the rest of the world.
It was invented thousands of years ago, and still, new ways are still popping up on how to cook them. Kimchi has a long shelf life making it a perfect dish for a road trip or for any occasions.
With its versatile taste, Kimchi can be added into numerous dishes, from soups, noodles, or even rice meals. With Kimchi’s dozens of health benefits, you won’t even think twice before stuffing your mouth with it. You can never get enough Kimchi!
Try out these recipes to have a new way of enjoying your favorite Kimchi:
1. Homemade Kimchi
It would be unwise to go through other recipes if you have never tasted the original. Try this recipe out to experience the culture and history of Korea!
- 250 grams of wombok cabbage leaves
- ¼ teaspoon of Salt
- 3 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder (sold in Asian markets)
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 piece of large clove garlic, finely minced
- 10 grams of fresh ginger, finely grated
- 3 tablespoons of water
- ½ cup of chopped green shallots
- Chop the wombok cabbage leave into desired sizes, preferably 3 inches long each and 2-3 centimeters wide.
- Place the chopped cabbage into a large bowl.
- Mix the cabbage with the salt and massage with your hands until the cabbage softens.
- Soak the salted cabbage in clean water for about an hour.
- After soaking, rinse the cabbage with running water for about 1 minute.
- Return the cabbage into the bowl without the salty water.
- On a separate bowl, form the Kimchi paste by mixing soy sauce, ginger, red pepper powder, and ¼ cup of the salted water from the previous step.
- Throw in the chopped green shallots and mix well.
- Mix the cabbage and Kimchi paste using your clean hands.
- Transfer now the finished product into a jar, make sure that there is as little as possible air left inside the jar.
- Ferment the Kimchi in a warm spot for three or more days, occasionally taste the Kimchi until it has achieved your desired flavor.
2. Chicken Salad Sandwich With Kimchi
American style chicken salad meets Asian Kimchi, this multicultural dish is sure to tickle your taste buds around the world. Experience varying flavors from different cultures in every bite.
- 3 pounds of roast chicken
- 1 cup of drained Kimchi
- 1 large rib of celery
- 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
- 2 pieces of scallions
- 3 tablespoons of Kimchi liquid
- 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon of table salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Sliced white bread
- Shred the roasted chicken into small pieces using a fork.
- Chop 1 large rib of celery
- Thinly slice the 2 pieces of scallions
- Combine all ingredients into a bowl except the roasted chicken, mix thoroughly until the seasoning are evenly distributed.
- Toss in the roasted chicken, then mix well without crushing the chicken.
- Take about 2 tablespoons full of the salad and place between two white bread.
3. Kimchi Burger
This easy to prepare and pack dish is not only delicious but filled with tons of healthy ingredients for you and your family. It is a healthy way to enjoy as a meal or as a meal.
- ¼ cup of light mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon of sodium-reduced soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 piece of egg
- 1 piece of green onion, chopped
- ⅔ cup of Kimchi, drained and chopped
- ¼ cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 pound of lean ground pork
- 4 pieces of deli-thin slices cheese
- 4 pairs of burger buns, split and toasted
- lettuce leaves
- tomato slices
- red onion slices
- In large bowl, stir together ginger, soy sauce, mayonnaise, and sesame oil until fully combined and smooth. Do not over mix or too much bubble will form.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then mix in the chopped green onion, panko, Kimchi, salt and mustard.
- Mix in the ground pork and shape into four thick patties.
- Grill the patties for 10-12 minutes each or when it is no longer pink inside. Flip the patties halfway through.
- Pour some mayonnaise onto the patties after you transfer them into the bun. Top each one with the sliced cheese.
- Assemble the burger by placing some lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise between the buns.
- Serve while hot!
4. Kimchi Crab Spring Rolls
Don’t be intimidated by the name, every second you spend on this Kimchi spring roll would be worth it the moment you take a bit of this delectable dish.
- 250 grams of crab rolls
- 1 piece of carrot
- 1 celery rib
- 2 pieces of green onions
- 1 ½ cup of Kimchi
- 1 bunch of Chinese parsley, chopped
- 12 spring rolls wrappers
- Canola oil for frying
- Cut the carrot, celery, and green onions into thin strips.
- Lay a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface and fold it at 45° for you to have a diamond shape.
- Place the chopped vegetables in a rectangle at the center of the folded wrapper
- Drop a spoon of Kimchi on top of the vegetables and place a piece of crab roll on top of the vegetables and add some chopped Chinese parsley.
- Wet your fingers with clean water and spread some water around the edges of the spring roll wrapper.
- Proceed to fold the wrapper to form a cylindrical shape covering the stuffing.
- Preheat the oil to about 375 F.
- Fry the spring rolls for about 7-10 minutes or until the look golden brown.
- Dry excess oil with a paper towel and enjoy!
- Best served with vinegar as dipping sauce.
5. Kimchi Fried Rice
It’s no secret, South East Asians like Koreans love rice! What better way to enjoy two of the best things in the world than to combine them? Meet the delicious Kimchi Rice!
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil
- 1/2 piece of yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 piece of small green pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1 cup of cabbage Kimchi
- 3 cups of cooked rice (loosened and refrigerated overnight)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 2 pieces of scallions, chopped.
- Preheat the oil on high heat using a wok.
- Sauté the onion, garlic, crushed pepper, and green pepper for about a minute.
- Toss in the sliced cabbage Kimchi and cook for another minute.
- Add in the rice and soy sauce. Continuously stir the rice to avoid it from getting burnt.
- Cook on high heat until rice turns light brown and all ingredients are well combined.
- Sprinkle the chopped scallions on top and add salt to taste.
- Enjoy with an omelet egg on top!
6. Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese with Kimchi sounds really interesting, but to spoil it for you, IT’S PERFECT! The acidity of the Kimchi compliments the saltiness of the cheese creating a fireworks of flavors in your mouth!
- 4 slices of your wheat bread
- 2 Tablespoons of softened butter
- 4 slices of meltable cheese
- 3/4 to 1 cup Kimchi, drained, patted dry, and chopped
- Spread a thin slice of butter on one side of each bread. Make sure to cover-up up to the breads edges.
- Heat a cooking pan over medium heat, then place two slices of bread butter-side touching the pan.
- Next, place one slice of cheese to each piece of bread. Then put a layer Kimchi over the top of the cheese, then cover it again with another slice of cheese.
- Let the bread cook on the pan until it becomes golden-brown and the cheese begins to melt. Adjust the heat of the stove accordingly to avoid burning the bread even before the cheese melts.
- Place another slice of bread on top with the buttered side up. Gently flip the bread to cook the other side.
- Cook the grilled cheese on the pan for another minute or so, or until the uncooked side also turns golden brown.
- Gently squeeze the bread to help the ingredients stick together with the cheese.
- Remove from the pan and let it cool before slicing and serving!
Wrapping It Up
Kimchi is world famous because of its light and delicious sour taste. It has been around way before the first stove was even invented. It became popular in Korea because of how easy it is to store and keep fresh.
You have probably tasted Kimchi in your local Asian restaurant before or one of your Asian friends probably brought some with them after a vacation in his or her hometown. But I bet that you have never thought about how much health benefits you’ve been receiving from eating Kimchi.
Kimchi is filled with probiotics, vitamins, and nutrients that are sure to protect you from both natural diseases and manmade harmful chemicals. Doing all this while blessing your taste buds with Kimchi’s culturally charged history!