Have you ever watched Korean dramas and seen actors enjoy every bite from a particular red saucy dish? Have you wanted to get your hands on one since it looks delectable? This is a sign that you should.
Kimchi is a Korean dish that is enjoyed by many—whether it’d be locals or people from around the world. It would often serve as comfort food for a lot of people, but did you know that consuming this dish provides awesome health benefits?
You read that right, Kimchi does offer a multitude of health benefits!
Care to find out what positive changes they can do for your overall health? Stick around and find out—and you might end up wanting to buy several jars yourself.
What Is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean delicacy that stemmed from over 3,000 years in the past in the Land of the Morning Clam—Korea. Before we tackle what it consists of in terms of ingredients and such, let us first delve into its roots and how it came to be.
According to Syuoung Park, executive chef at Jungsik, Kimchi was made by Koreans who did not want to die of starvation, so they came up with a dish wherein they ferment the vegetables and store them during winter as a means to preserve them. 1 This way, Korean families would have their source of food during harsh climates. 2
Now that we know where it came from and why it was invented, we can now move on to what ingredients make up this mouth-watering dish.
So what exactly is it composed of? Kimchi is made from fermented vegetables, specifically, nappa cabbage, carrots, and daikon radish. It is enriched with other ingredients such as garlic, gochugaru (Korean chili powder), and ginger.
When it comes to taste, the pogi kimchi, which is the one we commonly see and eat, is described as having that sour and salty kick. This is usually due to the fermentation process—the longer they ferment, the more distinct and less punchy the flavor would be.
Now that you know what is actually Kimchi, let’s discover what are the main health benefits of eating it!
1. May Lower Blood Sugar
According to a study, the consumption of fermented, fresh kimchi may aid in lowering the blood levels of prediabetic individuals.
Furthermore, the study states that fermented kimchi positively impacts prediabetic individuals by decreasing their insulin resistance and increasing their insulin sensitivity. This was proven by conducting a study among prediabetic individuals.
In eight weeks, all 21 individuals were told to eat either fresh or fermented kimchi. Results showed 33.3% of the participants had improved their glucose tolerance after consuming both fresh and fermented kimchi. 3
That being said, if you’re the type who fancies eating sugary foods, then maybe you would want to try consuming kimchi to maintain healthy levels of glucose.
2. May Slow Down Aging Process
Kimchi, the ones that are fermented for at least two weeks, become rich in antioxidants. When consumed, fermented kimchi may slow down a person’s aging process since these target the cells and increase their viability. 4
This would ultimately result in the prolongation of an individual’s cell life. Moreover, fermented kimchi also decreases cell oxidation, and what this does is make the skin appear more youthful.
3. May Treat Inflammation
When kimchi is fermented, probiotic properties build up over time. Probiotics, which are made up of good bacteria as well as natural yeasts that live inside our bodies, offer tons of benefits, and controlling inflammation is one of them.5
While inflammation may initially be good for the body since it’s responsible for fending off infections from invading our bodies, too much of it would be catastrophic. An increase in inflammation levels would result in swelling, damaged tissues, and pain.
By consuming fermented kimchi, there’s a possibility of lowering high inflammation levels in your body. So if you or anyone you know has inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, then you may recommend fermented kimchi to them. 6
Read More: Best Natural Antibiotics
4. Helps Improve Eye Health
Cabbage consists of carotene antioxidants and this helps improve one’s eye health. When we consume cabbage, our body converts that into Vitamin A, in turn, this makes our cornea, the covering outside of the eye, clear so we can see better.
In addition, Vitamin A also helps in improving our vision in areas that are not well lit. Basically, Vitamin A is an important component for our eyes as it protects the eye from various afflictions.
Since cabbage is one of the main components of kimchi, consuming this dish would be of great benefit for our eye health.
5. Possibly Help With Weight Loss
According to one study, both fresh and fermented kimchi affects a person’s weight. The study showed that the participant that consumed kimchi had improvements in terms of weight loss.
The factors that make up a person’s weight, namely BMI and body fat, have been reduced due to the consumption of kimchi. It’s important to mention that the fermented kimchi has shown more promising results compared to the fresh one.
Those who consumed fermented kimchi lost more weight compared to those who ate fresh kimchi. So if you’re looking to include a new dish for your diet, it is a great option since it helps with weight loss and is low in calories as well.
6. Kimchi May Help Improve Heart Health
As previously mentioned, kimchi contains antioxidants, and we have ingredients like ginger and red peppers to thank for that. Antioxidants offer tons of benefits to the body, the main benefit would be stabilizing damaged cells.
Once this is done, diseases won’t be able to progress that fast in our bodies, and additionally, protect us from various chronic conditions that affect our organs like the heart.
7. May Aid In Preventing Yeast Infections
Are you worried about yeast infections? Don’t be, since consuming kimchi may help in preventing yeast infections.
Fermented kimchi contains good bacteria, and when this type of bacteria makes its way into our bodies, it will most likely fend off infections that cause fungus. 7
8. Kimchi May Aid In Lowering Cholesterol
This particular study has shown that people who eat kimchi on a regular basis tend to have low levels of bad cholesterol. The study wasn’t able to determine which ingredients were exactly responsible in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol.
Nonetheless, they’re certain that this benefit was gained through consistent consumption of kimchi. 8
If you love eating oily foods, then ensure that you have some kimchi in your fridge since this may aid in lowering your cholesterol.
9. Improves Digestive Health
As we’ve mentioned, kimchi contains probiotics, and the first part of our bodies that would benefit from this would be our digestive system.
Probiotics help manage the following:
- Weight gain
- Lactose intolerance
- Bad cholesterol
- IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
- Absorption of nutrients
Kimchi is one of the foods that are known for having probiotics, so if you want to improve your digestive system’s health, then go ahead!
10. Helps Support Our Immune System
The majority of immune system activity takes place in the digestive system, and since we’ve established that kimchi is good for the digestive system, this would result in probiotics supporting our immunity against foreign bodies.
Read More: Habits That Weaken Your Immune System
Buy Kimchi Online
I guess you are quite amazed by all the health benefits that can provide Kimchi, right? Not only it’s a delicious dish but eating is improves your health!
If you want to eat more Kimchi, feel free to order some online via Amazon for example.
Kimchi isn’t just a traditional Korean delicacy someone enjoys as a side dish, but it’s also a type of food that provides a bunch of benefits to our health.
If you want to reap the entirety of its benefits, then it’s best to go for fermented kimchi rather than fresh kimchi—the more fermented it is the more probiotics and antioxidants it would have.
Ultimately, this traditional Korean dish will improve your health as you consume it on a regular basis. You don’t have to stick to the common pogi kimchi since there’s over 300 kinds of kimchi you can try cooking and each one has its own unique kick to it.