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 twelve benefits of kimchi you can pass on to your friends:
Kimchi is a low-calorie, high fiber, and nutrient-packed side dish. It is a storehouse of a range 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, selenium. It has an impressive assortment of powerful antioxidants and provides an additional benefit of probiotics as well in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. It contains numerous helpful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyanates with a low amount of fat and sugar.
The delectable taste of kimchi which has been admired globally comes with a super bonus of health benefits attributing to a range of qualitative evidence supported by several pieces of research. Some of the major health benefits have been discussed below.
Kimchi is an excellent food 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. It is made from cabbage which is already well known for its detoxification qualities and helps the body in getting rid of the wastes and toxins. It aids in cleaning up the intestines and stimulates better assimilation of nutrients in the body. Fiber content present in kimchi also assists in stabilizing the bowel movements and prevents constipation.
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. Allicin is an eminent component which helps in lowering the cholesterol levels, thereby, reducing 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. An investigative study has advocated that fermented kimchi helps in lowering the total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol along with the concentrations blood glucose in the body.
Kimchi varieties are rich in powerful antioxidants which are natural scavengers. These antioxidants along with phenols and flavonoids present in it exert a protective effect against the 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-talented 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. A study conducted in this regard has shown that healthy bacteria present in fermented kimchi exerts suppressive effects on mite-induced dermatitis and helps in reducing the inflammation.
As already stated, kimchi is a source of healthy lactobacillus bacteria which the body utilizes for its healthy functioning. This good bacterium also assists in weight loss by controlling the appetite and reducing the blood sugar levels. The fiber content present in it keeps your body full and hunger satisfied for a longer duration preventing you from overeating. A study conducted on obese patients has validated the favorable effects of fermented kimchi on the body with respect to body mass index (BMI), body fat which helps in reducing the development of factors implicated in metabolic syndrome.
The multi-nutrient packed kimchi is rich in a range of flavonoids and phenolic components. The variety of ingredients including ginger, garlic, and peppers involved in the preparation of kimchee are super protectors which are renowned for their beneficial effect on the immune system. They help in fighting infections and are valuable in curing cold and flu symptoms.
Another valuable benefit provided by kimchi is its anti-aging qualities which can be attributed to the presence of antioxidants and vitamin C. A study evaluating the anti-aging activity of kimchee has revealed that it helps in regulating and attenuating the inflammation that speeds up the aging process. The same study has also shown 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 is a valuable food which helps in reducing the risk of development of various cancers. A study performed on its samples has validated its anti-cancer properties. Cabbage present in it contains healthy flavonoids which are known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Another powerful cancer fighters present in cruciferous such as cabbage are glucosinolates. Glucosinolates break down to form isothiocyanates which are well-known for their effectiveness against the cancer growth.
A study conducted on high-fat-diet-fed type-2 diabetics who were given kimchi revealed the 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 the diabetics. It also suggested that this Korean delicacy can prove more useful in diabetes if it is eaten with normal or low-fat diet instead of high-fat food.
Kimchee exerts therapeutic effects in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. A study conducted in this regard has shown that the antagonistic activity of kimchi attributes to the abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria which inhibit the harmful pathogens from connecting to the human gastric cancer cells.