The kimchi health benefits are so vast, that you may want to get dressed and go shopping right now. One of the properties that have convinced people to try this fantastic Korean dish is its fat burning effect. Koreans have been enjoying their fermented vegetables for about 2000 years, and it’s no wonder they’re so thin. In this article, we are going to present the various different kimchi health benefits and reveal why it can help with weight loss.
What Is Kimchi?
Let’s take a second to talk about the ingredients in kimchi. Because you may have heard of it, you may have even tried it a couple of times in a restaurant, but what does it contain? This side dish is made by fermenting vegetables and adding spices for flavor.
There are literally hundreds of varieties, and most kimchi dishes have the following main ingredients: napa cabbage, scallion, radish, or cucumber. Speaking of spices, kimchi is usually seasoned with garlic, chili peppers or chili powder, onions, or ginger. If you are already familiar with the health benefits of these vegetables and spices, then it’s easy to comprehend why kimchi is a powerhouse of nutrients.
Believe it or not, there’s even a kimchi museum in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The people here love this side dish so much that they have created the Kimchi Field Museum, whose mission is to inform tourists about the history, varieties, and the importance of kimchi.
What’s great about kimchi is that you can eat it in so many ways. Most people view it as a side dish, adding it to stews, scrambled eggs, stir-fries, sautéed greens, and more. However, you can also eat it alone and it will still fight off hunger. But let’s dive straight into the kimchi health benefits and talk about why you should eat it more often.
10 Kimchi Health Benefits You Should Know
1. Fights obesity
A study conducted in South Korea suggests that kimchi is perfect for individuals looking to shed a few pounds. Researchers from the Dongguk University in Seoul and ChunLab Inc. assigned 24 overweight women a diet of fresh and fermented kimchi. The women were divided into two groups. Those who consumed fermented kimchi over a period of eight weeks saw a significant change in their metabolic processes. Eating fresh kimchi has also shown an improvement in body weight and body composition. However, fermented kimchi can increase fasting insulin levels and fasting blood glucose. But why?
The women who ate fermented kimchi showed an increased Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio, which had already been linked to weight loss. Furthermore, this dish also contains Bifidobacterium longum, a lactic acid bacterium that can lower body fat. Scientists found a significant correlation between Bifidobacterium longum and decreased waist circumference.
Additionally, Acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 1, an important gene found to be responsible for breaking down fatty acids, was also upregulated in fermented kimchi consumers. To top it all off, aminopeptidase N, a gene responsible for regulating inflammation, was also expressed more in this particular group. This substantial evidence proved that fermented vegetables can aid dieters to achieve their goal.
Furthermore, the low-calorie count is yet another indicator that kimchi is an extremely light food. With 60 grams of cabbage kimchi, you will eat as little as 10 calories, of which less than half a gram is fat. And it’s not just kimchi. Fermented foods, in general, are viewed as superfoods. They are rich in live bacteria that support optimal weight loss.
2. Improves digestion
Kimchi is one of the best foods that promote digestion. It’s a rich source of probiotics, and some varieties also offer prebiotics. The fermentation process through which the vegetables go through creates healthy gut bacteria. Known as Lactobacillus, the bacteria are essential to the body to keep the intestinal flora healthy. The cabbage boosts Lactobacillus, helping us get rid of waste and toxins, thus detoxifying our body. It cleans the intestines while also stimulating the assimilation of nutrients.
Specialists use Lactobacillus to treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammation of the colon, and even necrotizing enterocolitis in babies.
The fiber content in this dish can also help stabilize bowel movements, thus preventing constipation.
3. Boosts the immune system
Kimchi is a storehouse of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. Furthermore, it’s packed with amino acids and minerals such as calcium, selenium, and iron. The variety of ingredients in kimchi (such as garlic, ginger, peppers) are well-known for their beneficial effects on the human immune system.
Consequently, kimchi will help treat and prevent infections. If you have a cold or experience flu symptoms, feast on some kimchi because it is a valuable cure for people with low immunity.
4. Clears the skin
The kimchi health benefits do not only lie in what it can do for our internal organs. The ingredients in this dish provide nutrients such as selenium, that is known to keep both our skin and hair healthy. Eating kimchi can not only prevent wrinkles, but it can also help treat allergic dermatitis.
Lactobacillus sakei, a bacterium species found in kimchi, can alleviate allergen-induced skin inflammation. More so, a study has revealed that kimchi may help cure other conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. Researchers have found that the healthy bacteria in fermented kimchi deploy suppressive reactions on mite-induced dermatitis and can reduce inflammation.
5. Prevents allergic airway diseases
The probiotics contained in kimchi are effective in reducing allergic symptoms. A diet rich in kimchi lowers the risk of diseases such as asthma. A study conducted by Korean researchers has shown an association between asthma and kimchi consumption. The data revealed a prevalence of asthma in adults who consumed fewer amounts of kimchi. According to another study, the lactobacilli found in kimchi can suppress airway hyper-responsiveness.
6. Slows down the aging process
Some of the most valuable kimchi health benefits lie its anti-aging quality. This wonderful dish can help us look and feel younger thanks to the abundance of antioxidants and vitamin C. Aging is associated with inflammation that speeds up the aging process. A study has successfully proven that kimchi can attenuate the inflammation responsible for accelerating the aging process.
The same study has also shown that it may also reduce oxidative stress in the cells, inhibit lipid peroxidation, and extend life span. This may put kimchi on the map of some of the most potent anti-aging foods.
7. Lowers the risk of cancer
This valuable food also helps in reducing the risk of developing cancer. The anticancer effect of kimchi may result from the ability to inhibit Ras oncogene signaling. The cabbage in it contains flavonoids, which can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Research has shown that dietary flavonoid intake is connected to a lower chance of developing gastric carcinoma in women, and reduced aerodigestive tract cancer risk in people who smoke.
Cruciferous veggies such as cabbage contain glucosinolates, a wide group of sulfur-containing glucosides. Multiple studies show that brassica vegetables offer protection against certain types of cancer. Glucosinolates break down to form a group of chemicals called Isothiocyanates, which are well known for being effective in fighting cancer growth.
8. Improves symptoms of diabetes
Kimchi can be highly beneficial for patients suffering from diabetes. The kimchi health benefits do not seem to end. Researchers have also pointed to the anti-diabetic properties of this Korean delicacy. According to a study on Korean traditional Baechu kimchi, this dish can lower the levels of fasting glucose. Additionally, the diabetic subjects have also shown a better tolerance to glucose after eating this dish regularly. It’s also worth mentioning that kimchi is most useful to diabetic patients when eating alongside high-fat foods.
9. Prevents peptic ulcer
Peptic ulcer is a painful break in the lining of the stomach. Symptoms include dull and burning stomach pain. This disease is commonly caused by a Gram-negative bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria are found in the stomach, where it grows freely. If you’re wondering if we can stop its growth, then let’s move on to yet one more of the kimchi health benefits. This miraculous dish contains leuconostoc mensenteroides, a bacterial species associated with fermentation. The bacteria produce dextrin, a group of low-molecular-weight carbohydrates that can stop the growth of Helicobacter pylori.
10. Clears the vision
A 100-gram portion of kimchi can provide you with 18 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake for vitamin A. Already known as an antioxidant that can help us get rid of free radicals, vitamin A can do more than that. It is also responsible for promoting good eyesight. If you ever get tired of crunching raw carrots, just know that you can get your beta carotene from kimchi as well.
Take advantage of the numerous kimchi health benefits. There are almost 200 varieties of kimchi, so you can experiment to find your ideal kind. Nutritionists describe good kimchi as being well balanced when it comes to salt and spices, and having a crunchy texture. Make sure you buy fermented kimchi. Better yet, make it yourself! It’s not that hard. Share some recipes with us if you want.