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Kimchi: The Korean Superfood That We Love

Kimchi, the Korean national dish, has been cherished and eaten by many people in East Asia for centuries. It is known to have a spicy taste and typically forms the main ingredient of a side dish with other vegetables. As a common condiment, it is highly beneficial for health. Typically, kimchi gets made by fermenting vegetables such as cabbage and radishes. It is created by putting the vegetables into a brine which draws out their fluids, aiding in the preservation process. Fermentation with lactic bacteria ensures that the desired taste is maintained. Kimchi has a tangy and salty taste since it is fermented.

Kimchi is a Korean dish created several thousand years ago as a food storage method. A staple of the Korean people, kimchi is made by adding different spices to a base recipe and creating varied flavours. Eating more fermented foods is good for physical and mental health. The science behind it is that eating kimchi provides probiotic bacteria which benefit your gut.

The HealthifyMe Note

Kimchi is a Korean national dish that offers various health benefits. It is abundant in minerals, vitamins and essential nutrients. The key ingredients in Kimchi that make it healthy are ginger and garlic. However, kimchi is fermented, which makes it acidic. The microorganisms break down the carbohydrates in vegetables, and that’s where the tangy taste comes from. Nevertheless, Kimchi has some impressive health benefits backed by research.

Nutrition Facts of Kimchi

As per USDA,100g of kimchi offers:

Energy: 15 KcalProtein: 1.1 gCarbohydrate: 2.4 gFibre: 1.6 gCalcium : 33 mgIron: 2.5 mgMagnesium : 14 mgPotassium : 151 mgVitamin B6: 0.213 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Kimchi tastes delicious and also provides essential nutrients with fewer calories. It’s rich in vitamin A, B vitamins, and minerals. Interestingly, kimchi is full of beta-carotene and other antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of severe health conditions like stroke and cancer. Kimchi is low in calories but high in healthy nutrition and enables you to stay healthy. It is rich in provitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese, and a research review suggests that fermentation helps break down compounds that impact nutrient absorption.

Kimchi Health Benefits

Kimchi is a spicy and tangy Korean dish of vegetables, fish, and glutinous rice. This dish is known for its health benefits, including reducing inflammation, fighting diabetes, and improving heart health. Here are the most critical kimchi health benefits:

Improves Gut Health

The evidence is strong that kimchi, a fermented food, can support immunity by improving the health of good bacteria. Moreover, including fermented foods in your diet improves your intestinal health, which helps relieve constipation. Gut-friendly foods, like kimchi, are well known for their probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that can help improve your digestive health, positively affecting the health of your overall body. 

Helps Enhance the Nutritional Value of Meals

The fermentation process by mainly lactobacillus bacteria may enhance the nutritional value of food. Also, the bacteria synthesise vitamins and minerals, and the fermentation process deactivates some less favourable compounds, commonly referred to as anti-nutrients.

Improves Heart Health

Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are a powerful remedy for lowering blood pressure, and kimchi also keeps blood vessels healthy. To maintain a healthy ticker, you should think about eating more delicious fermented foods like kimchi. Studies show that kimchi can help with cholesterol levels and blood sugar, reducing risk factors for heart disease.

Kimchi Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Exposure to kimchi affects body weight, BMI, and glucose management positively. However, how eating fermented kimchi supports these effects is not yet fully understood. More research will conclusively clarify this point.

Reduces Inflammation

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the compounds in fermented foods like kimchi can improve cardiovascular health and even enhance memory. Of course, it would help if you had inflammation to heal from injury, but long-term inflammation can increase the risk of an illness.

Getting plenty of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet (like kimchi) can help combat chronic inflammation in your body. A mouse study found that when they had kimchi, inflammatory compounds got reduced, and an increase in antioxidants led to less inflammation.

A preliminary study found that L. Plantarum, a probiotic isolated from homemade kimchi, had significant anti-inflammatory effects. However, more studies are needed to understand the impact of L. Plantarum KU15149 on human inflammation.

Lowers Cholesterol Level

Garlic in kimchi can help lower your cholesterol. In addition, allicin and selenium are found in garlic and indirectly benefit you by preventing plaque build-up in your arteries. Also, this would allow for more successful stroke prevention or cardiovascular diseases.

Kimchi for Healthy Eyesight

Eating 100 grams of kimchi provides 18% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A, an antioxidant, can help eliminate free radicals that cause cancer. Aside from its benefits for your health and body, Vitamin A is also essential in developing a healthy embryo and maintaining clear vision.

Healthy for Skin and Hair

Kimchi helps to prevent wrinkles by keeping skin and hair healthy with the selenium found in garlic. Kimchi also contains selenium, a key component in glutathione, making it stronger and more effective in the body. Eating kimchi is excellent for your skin; it reduces ageing and gives your skin a youthful glow.

Prevents Stomach Cancer

Kimchi carrots help eliminate harmful toxins. Kimchi also contains cabbage and radish, which are biochemicals that can help eliminate heavy metals. Studies have shown that these particular bio-chemicals can prevent stomach cancer. 

Kimchi Manages Weight

Kimchi is excellent for your diet because it contains the necessary nutrients and capsaicin that lowers calories and boosts your metabolism.

Prevents Peptic Ulcer

Helicobacter pylori cause ulcer formation in the stomach. Kimchi contains leuconostoc mesenteroides which produce dextrin that can stop ulcers from forming by feeding H. pylori found in your stomach.

Boosts Immunity

Consuming high cholesterol foods can increase immune cell activity and make antibodies more abundant. Therefore, high cholesterol diets combined with a kimchi dietary supplement can produce an optimal level of immunological response.

Kimchi May Improve Brain Health

Some kimchi may benefit the brain. It contains compounds that can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and make it easier for you to think. In addition, a research review of studies with mice indicated that eating fermented foods like kimchi may help do complex tasks. However, human studies can make this information more authentic. 

Contains Plant Compounds

Kimchi is a tangy dish containing phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It includes vegetables with pods, and these vegetables contain polyphenols and glucosinolates. So eating kimchi can help protect you from free radicals and inflammation.

May Prevent Oxidative Stress

Kimchi is an excellent source of antioxidants that can help protect your cells from oxidative stress. Kimchi is powerful against various oxidants in a test tube study, which means it can help reduce oxidation and improve the survival of cells. More research on people can make it very promising for reducing oxidative damage and improving the quality of cells.

Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients Used

Napa Cabbage: 1Ginger: 3 inchesGarlic: 4 cloves Scallions: 2Fish sauce: 1 tbspShrimp paste: 1 tbsp Korean Chili Flakes: 2 tbsp 

Preparation Method

Cut the cabbage into 1-inch cubes and put them in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of sea salt and put in plastic wrap. Make sure it is completely covered so the salt will not spill. Place the plate on top to keep it submerged.Create a paste from garlic, ginger, shallot, Korean chilli flakes (or Gochujang), fish sauce (or miso), and sugar. Those with a lighter taste can omit the chilli flakes or use half the called-for amount.Peel and cut the daikon radish (or carrot) into match sticks, about 2-3 inches long. Cut the scallions into 1-2 inch pieces. Place the drained cabbage with the daikon, scallions and chilli paste into the bowl. Massage a bit with gloved hands. This mild version is not very red (2 tablespoons chilli flakes). You can also add more chilli flakes if you want it spicier. To make sauerkraut, pack cabbage tightly into a large jar (big enough to hold 2 quarts) or crock, and cover it with brine; leave at least a 2-inch gap at the top to catch the flavorful liquid that will release.Create a tight seal with the cabbage leaf, then press down to submerge the cabbage. You can avoid this step if your ideal setting is a sunny spot. Add a weight to the top of the jar and cover it with a lid. Place it in a basement or cabinet to ferment for 3-5 days.The ideal temperature for fermenting kimchi is between 55 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want it too cold, or it’ll take forever to ferment, but if the temperature is too high, it could negatively affect the final flavour.After three days, tap the jar of kimchi to see if any bubbles rise to the top. Taste it and keep fermenting for 2-3 more days if you want your kimchi tangier. Then put it in the fridge and taste it again. The flavours will be more robust after two weeks in the fridge, and the spice level will become less intense as time goes on.

Storage and Food Safety for Kimchi

Eating kimchi is excellent for people with a compromised immune system, so long as you prepare it properly. However, if kimchi isn’t properly stored, it can cause food poisoning as the fermentation process creates live bacteria.

Kimchi is best stored when refrigerated after opening. Kimchi fermentation creates beneficial bacteria, so please keep it in the refrigerator to prolong its freshness. It would be best to store kimchi at a constant temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit.You should always make sure to submerge the contents of the container with the brine before resealing it. It is also essential to use clean utensils when handling kimchi in its container because dirty utensils may contaminate and cause spoilage.Avoid opening and closing your container too often to prevent the spoilage caused by impurities in the air. If you have a big jar of kimchi, transfer portions into smaller containers so the kimchi will last longer.

Precautions When Consuming Kimchi

Pathogenic Bacteria

Kimchi has several health advantages, but it still includes live germs. The microorganisms used to make kimchi are entirely safe to eat. One must, however, make and store kimchi appropriately. Otherwise, harmful bacteria may increase during fermentation and storage.

Food Poisoning

Fermented foods are usually free of microorganisms that cause food poisoning. Because lactic acid is produced naturally during fermentation, it can aid in the control of any hazardous microorganisms that may be present. However, like other meals, kimchi is susceptible to these dangerous microbes. According to studies, kimchi can lead to epidemics of both E. coli and norovirus in the last ten years. People can reduce their risk of food poisoning by purchasing kimchi from a reputable source and properly storing it.

High Sodium Content

​​Kimchi has a high salt level. People at risk of high blood pressure should be concerned about this food’s high salt content. Therefore, they should consume kimchi in moderation.

Summary

Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish that is popular in East Asia. It offers various health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Kimchi is a healthy source of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can support your digestive system. Kimchi is also high in vitamin C, thiamin, and niacin. According to some studies, kimchi may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. In addition, it contains high levels of antioxidants, which can protect your body from free radical damage.

One must be careful of the growth of pathogenic bacteria in kimchi. It should be safely prepared and properly stored. It might also cause food poisoning. In addition, people with high blood pressure must be mindful of the high sodium content in kimchi.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is it OK to eat kimchi every day?

A. Consuming kimchi daily can have many health benefits, but there are also drawbacks to it. For example, those with IBS or at risk of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease may not be able to consume this as much due to its high level of sodium and garlic.

Q.What are the benefits of eating kimchi?

A. Kimchi provides several health advantages, including the prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Kimchi is a good source of probiotics, which are good microorganisms that help your digestive system work better. Vitamin C, thiamin, and niacin are all abundant in kimchi. Kimchi lessens the risk of heart disease and cancer. It has many antioxidants, which can help protect your body from free radical damage.

Q. Is kimchi the healthiest food?

A. Kimchi is a healthy food because it provides beneficial bacteria. It helps balance your gastrointestinal tract by providing probiotics, cleansing digestive routes, and helping with digestion. The high-fibre content in kimchi also helps to detoxify the body.

Q. What are the disadvantages of kimchi?

A. It’s important to keep an eye on the growth of harmful bacteria in kimchi. It should be prepared and kept safely. It may also result in food poisoning. People with high blood pressure should avoid kimchi due to its high salt content.

Q. Does kimchi help poop?

A. Kimchi is a Korean dish with cabbage and other vegetables. It’s fermented, which introduces healthy probiotic bacteria to your gut. Kimchi specifically promotes anti-constipation and colorectal health promotion.

Q. Can you eat too much kimchi?

A. Eating kimchi in moderation is essential because a high intake can cause obesity and digestive distress. Additionally, an excess intake of this dish could lead to gastric cancer development. In addition, people with high blood pressure must consume it in moderation due to its high sodium content.

Q. Is kimchi a Superfood?

A. Kimchi is called the ‘Korean Superfood’ because of its antioxidant, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic properties. Vitamin C, B vitamins, Beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, iron, and dietary fibre are all included in this dish’s health benefits. In addition, its high fibre content improves digestive flow and helps detox the body.

Q. Is kimchi good for your liver?

A. The consumption of kimchi helped lower signs of liver damage. In addition, liver enzyme levels, stored as indicators of liver damage, were both lower when compared to the non-kimchi group. Also, this suggests that kimchi benefits a healthy liver function.

Q. Does kimchi give you gas?

A. Side effects from fermented foods are usually temporary, with the most common complaint being increased gas and bloating. However, these may worsen when consuming fibre-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.

Q. Does kimchi make you fat?

A. Eating kimchi may help people with excess weight lose weight. People found that both fresh and fermented kimchi helped reduce body weight, body mass index, and body fat.

Q. Does kimchi slow ageing?

A. Numerous probiotics make kimchi healthy, allowing it to potentially better regulate your immune system and promote weight loss. It may also help fight inflammation and slow the ageing process.

Q. Is kimchi good for gut health?

A. Consuming kimchi can help you maintain healthy digestion by adding good bacteria to your diet. Also, gaining probiotics from eating fermented food can reduce the effects of many GI disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colon inflammation.

Q. Is kimchi high in salt?

A. Kimchi has many health benefits but is also high in sodium (salt) and garlic.

Q. Does kimchi make you fart more?

A. People may suffer from bloating after eating fermented foods. For example, kimchi has cabbage, so it can cause gas, especially in people who are prone to bloating and gas. 

Q. Does kimchi have nutritional value?

A. Kimchi provides beta-carotene and other antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of various severe conditions. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin C, B vitamins, Beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, iron, and dietary fibre are all abundant in kimchi. Its high fibre content improves digestive flow, and it also helps detox the body.

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