Depending on what part of the world you’re from, there’s a chance that you’ve never actually heard of a dish called kimchi. In Korea, kimchi is one of the most popular dishes around, and typically consists of scallions, garlic, ginger and chili powder. Of course, there are different ways to prepare kimchi, but most are based around napa cabbage. This is a dish that has been served in Korea for thousands of years, and is making its way across the world.
If you enjoy good Asian cuisine, then you’ll probably love the vegetable based kimchi. You’ll also love all of the fantastic health benefits that you can get from eating this group of delicious and nutritious foods. Now that it’s more easily attainable than it was back before the common era, we can all enjoy kimchi and its nutrition. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of kimchi, and what those proven health benefits are.
Nutrition of Kimchi
There are some different ways that you can enjoy kimchi, though the recipe that we’re focusing on uses napa cabbage. When eating a serving of 3.5 ounces using the normal recipe, you’ll only be getting around 34 calories. Though most of those calories are from carbohydrates, it’s still well under the amount you should be getting in a day. You’ll also add in a gram of protein and dietary fiber to help your body.
Out of the vitamins found in kimchi, the most abundant is vitamin A with about 15 percent of your daily value while you get nearly 10 percent of needed vitamin C and vitamin K. Those found in smaller amounts include vitamin B6, folate and thiamin. As for the minerals, there isn’t one that necessarily makes up a big amount of your daily recommendation, but you’ll still find a decent amount of manganese, copper, iron, magnesium and calcium. All of this comes with no cholesterol, and very little fat within kimchi.
Easy to Digest
You may have heard a lot in recent years about probiotics, which have been praised among the health community for their effect on the digestive system. Probiotics help to create new bacteria in your gut that allow your body to digest more efficiently. Since kimchi is fermented, it has plenty of these probiotics that your body will need, and is comprised of foods that already help your digestion.
That’s because most of the ingredients in kimchi are high in fiber, which many know is the key for a healthier digestive system. It’s also been suggested that kimchi can help with those that suffer from gastric ulcers because of the bacteria that causes them is fought off by the bacteria found within kimchi. There are some other things to consider in digestive health with kimchi, but we’ll touch on that at the end.
You might be wondering which countries have the lowest obesity rates in the world. The one that ranked as the thinnest country across the entire planet was South Korea at only 3.8 percent, where kimchi is eaten by just about everybody. A lot of that has to do with the low calorie count, as kimchi only has 34 in a 3.5 ounce serving. That means you can eat quite a bit of kimchi in one sitting without worrying about packing on the pounds.
It’s been suggested that kimchi also helps you to burn fat more efficiently by helping your digestive system through creating more helpful bacteria. Not only will that make you feel more full for an extended period of time, but it also helps to boost your metabolism. Studies showed that those who eat more kimchi tend to have lower body fat percentages, which is always a good sign.
While having a lower body fat percentage is going to be good for lowering your cholesterol, kimchi can help to lower your cholesterol either way. Studies suggest that eating kimchi on a regular basis correlates with a lower cholesterol level because of the range of ingredients that have heart healthy effects, including garlic.
There is a link between lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and kimchi overall, as well as blood sugar levels (which we will get to in a moment). Kimchi also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that will help your overall heart health. Overall, that reduces your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
We already mentioned that South Koreans on average are the thinnest country in the world, it also has been pointed out by many that people in the country tend to have great skin. Kimchi contains different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and selenium that keep hair and skin looking fantastic, even as you age. For starters, vitamin C helps your body to produce collagen for more skin elasticity, while selenium boosts your vitamin C levels overall.
Even certain skin conditions can help be eliminated by eating kimchi, including dermatitis. Dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes your skin to become red and itchy. Kimchi battles this through its bacterial content and can also kill certain types of infections. That also translates to the scalp, where clearer skin equals thicker hair that grows in faster and with more shine.
Blood Sugar Regulator
It’s estimated that South Korea also is much lower than other developed countries in terms of people with diabetes. That’s another benefit that can be linked with kimchi, as it’s so low on the glycemic index. Even studies have been able to back up a link between kimchi consumption and more improved glucose and insulin levels in patients. Even those that already have type 2 diabetes will find a huge benefit as they can avoid more crashes and spikes in their glucose levels, preventing a lot of potentially serious problems.
Summing it Up
Taking all of these great health benefits that you can get from kimchi into consideration, you may be curious if there are any negatives about the dish. There have been some analysts that have listed fermented foods such as kimchi as possibly raising your risk for getting gastric cancer, but no conclusive evidence has been shown just yet. Eating unfermented soy has suggested of lowering these chances.
The other thing that you have to watch out for in kimchi is how much sodium is going to be in your dish. You’re getting about one-third of your daily recommended restriction in sodium levels, so kimchi shouldn’t be an everyday food. Instead, try focusing on making a recipe at home by yourself that doesn’t use so much fermentation or salt. Either way, eating kimchi every now and then isn’t going to bring about any negative side effects, and should do much more good than harm. That’s good news, too, since it’s a beloved food by many.