If you are a lover of hot and spicy foods and want to add more nutrients to your diet, you can consider adding kimchi to your diet. This Korean dish is made with fermented vegetables which impart a tangy and tangy taste. You can find kimchi in most grocery stores and ethnic markets, but if you have dietary restrictions, note that most kimchi contains fish paste.
It’s simple to make this dish at home with a variety of plant-based ingredients. The process begins with salting the cabbage to extract the water, which allows it to be stored longer. Then add spices to the brine like ginger, garlic, shallot or even soy sauce and ferment everything for 3-4 days in a cool, dark place. “Fermentation is a process that encourages the growth of good bacteria for our gut,” says Ashley Shaw, MS, RD, registered dietitian at Preg Appétit.
Kimchi packs a tangy punch thanks to all the vegetables and spices that give it flavor. Not only is it delicious, but it is also very nutritious thanks to the vegetables and the fermentation process it undergoes.
The 5 health benefits of kimchi
1. Kimchi helps improve your gut health.
Kimchi is packed with probiotics – live bacteria and yeasts that provide health benefits when eaten. “When foods are fermented, they produce probiotics. By eating probiotics, we increase the ratio of good to bad bacteria, improving our immune and digestive systems,” says Shaw.
A 2019 study in the journal Nutrients concluded that taking probiotics to maintain a healthy gut can provide many benefits, including help with serious illnesses, saying, “Probiotic microorganisms are believed to have high therapeutic potential in obesity, down syndrome insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. also appears that probiotics may be useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis, bacterial infections, and various gastrointestinal disorders.”
2. Kimchi helps boost your immune system.
More than 70% of our immune system is in our gut. The immune cells in our gut interact with our microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria and microorganisms that exists inside our body, Shaw explains. Our diet and lifestyle largely influence our gut microbiota, thereby affecting our immunity.
A 2021 study published in Cell found that eating kimchi and other fermented vegetables helped reduce inflammatory markers and increase microbial diversity, suggesting improved immunity.
3. Kimchi may help slow aging.
The secret to a youthful glow may involve eating nutritious foods packed with antioxidants. A 2019 study published in Nutrition research and practice found that kimchi consumption decreased cell damage and inflammation in rats with liver cirrhosis.
Kimchi is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help protect against free radicals. Accumulation of many free radicals is suggested to induce aging in humans, researchers note in 2020 study Borders item.
4. Kimchi helps support heart health.
The key to a healthy heart is a diet high in fiber and low in cholesterol. “A high-fiber, high-fiber diet has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as overall heart health,” says Shaw. A cup of kimchi contains 2.4 grams of fiber and 3.6 grams of carbs, making it a low-carb food. You can add more fiber to homemade kimchi by fermenting fiber-rich vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and broccoli.
5. Kimchi helps improve brain health.
Researchers have studied that the gut is like your second brain, where it helps control digestion, impact mood, and affect cognition. Therefore, what you eat can impact how your brain works. “Probiotic-rich foods, such as kimchi, are packed with beneficial bacteria that help your body and brain,” says Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD, author of It’s your brain on the food. Certain species of bacteria found in kimchi may help increase levels of brain chemicals, improving mood and other mental health issues, studies show.