When you are trying to improve your health, you may hear about superfoods. One superfood you should take note of is Korean Kimchi, it’s actually one of the East’s favorite foods – and for a good reason – It is a bit spicy with a little side of sweetness, and a tad pickled taste. The taste can vary depending on how long it is fermented, and there are various recipes to use with this superfood.
How Do You Use Korean Kimchi?
You can use Kimchi as it is or you can put it in pretty much any dish, it’s versatile. It’s quite common to use as a side dish with Korean meals.
Some ideas to use Kimchi, but not limited to:
- Add to rice
- Use on grains
- Add to stew
- Eat with eggs
- Mix with pancake batter
- Turn it into pasta sauce
When it’s gone you can even use the remaining liquid. Stir the rest of it in some mayo or even sour cream for a dip that has a kick of spice. You could even use it as a liquid for your steamed rice.
What Makes Kimchi So Healthy?
Kimchi is full of antioxidant compounds, including beta-carotene. Consuming antioxidants can help reduce the risk of serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Kimchi provides a well-rounded source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Nutrients per serving
Just one cup serving (150-gram) of this superfood contains:
- Calories- 23
- Carbohydrates- 4 grams
- Fat- Less than 1 gram
- Fiber- 2 grams
- Protein- 2 grams
- Sodium- 747 grams
- Sugar- 2 grams
Note: Sometimes Kimchi can be made different but this is a general nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
Kimchi is considered a superfood because of its powerful nutritional compounds and profile.
With a variety of health benefits, Kimchi offers:
Kimchi undergoes a lacto-fermentation process, which makes it unique. This type of fermentation uses Lactobacillus, which is a bacterium that allows the sugar to break down into lactic acid. The sourness profile of the Kimchi is due to the lactic acid. When this superfood is taken as a supplement, the bacterium can offer many benefits such as hay fever and some forms of diarrhea.
Added Immune System Protection
Lactobacillus plantarum, a specific strain in Kimchi, can help boost your immune system. In fact, a study in mice who were injected with this strain revealed that it can lower levels of inflammatory markers for tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in comparison to the control group. As TNF alpha levels are elevated during disease and infection, a reduction means that the immune system is working properly. While human research is needed, this is a promising benefit of Kimchi.
Potential Inflammation Improvement
The active compounds and probiotics in Kimchi can help fight inflammation. Another study in mice shows that HDMPPA, a main compound in Kimchi, improves blood vessel health by suppressing any inflammation.
Potential Weight Loss
Fermented and fresh kimchi are naturally low in calories and can help with weight loss. During a four week study in 22 people with extra weight found that consuming fermented or fresh kimchi helped to reduce body mass index (BMI), body fat, and body weight. Additionally, the fermented variation lowered blood sugar levels. Individuals who are fermented kimchi experienced more improvement in body fat and blood pressure percentage than those who ate the fresh dish.
Can Help Strengthen Your Heart
Kimchi can have the potential to reduce your risk of heart disease. The reason for this could be due to the anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that inflammation can be an underlying cause of heart disease.
A study that lasted a week in 100 people found that eating 0.5-7.5 ounces (roughly 15-210 grams) of kimchi daily drastically lowered their blood sugar, LDL (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol levels, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Of course, more human research is needed but there is optimism that kimchi is a great superfood to lower the risk of heart disease.
Because of the tremendous gut health benefits due to the fermentation and bacterium of kimchi, this provides an indirect positive benefit to your brain health. This is because of the enteric nervous system, located in the gut and communicates with your brain. When your gut is off, you can feel a little anxious or even depressed, you can just feel a bit off mentally. When your gut is at its best, you may feel like your mental health is at its best. Thankfully, kimchi nourishes your gut, which makes it indirectly a mental-health/brain booster.
Eye Health Support
Kimchi is an excellent source of beta carotene antioxidants, which is due to cabbage being the main ingredient. The body converts this antioxidant to vitamin A, which is vital to eye and vision health. Beta carotene has been known to help support eye health, especially as you age. It’s one of the most important nutrients for eyesight.
What You Should Keep in Mind
While kimchi is a superfood and can provide the body with extraordinary health benefits, you have to use caution. Because it contains live bacteria, you must store and prepare it properly as it can cause food poisoning. Eating an excessive amount of this, just like anything, could be toxic to the body. Be mindful and use it as a side or cook it with a meal per day. Always discuss with your doctor if taking in medicinal form.
Kimchi can potentially offer you a whole variety of health benefits. Due to its flavor profile, you can make all sorts of side dishes or use it in your main dishes for extra flavor. If you are into the sweet and spicy, with a pickle taste, Kimchi may be worth a try.
If you love this, please share this post with your friends! ????