A lot of research has recently come out praising the health benefits of kimchi, a popular fermented food originally from Korea. It’s made by a simple process of fermenting cabbage, spices, and other vegetables in a tightly closed jar. Although traditionally made kimchi does have a specific type of crock that is used, it can be made at home in glass jars. Kimchi is practically a super-food; a low-calorie, high fiber condiment that can be used to heal many ailments and improve overall health.
Due to the fermentation process kimchi is an excellent source of probiotics, these are the good bacteria that help your body fight off various infections. Kimchi is also packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, some B vitamins, iron, calcium, and selenium. These all contribute to supporting muscle growth, improve your immune system, and improve blood flow.
If you suffer from high cholesterol kimchi may be the answer you’re looking for as part of a heart-healthy diet. Recent research has proved that kimchi has the ability to lower cholesterol levels when eaten on a daily basis. Garlic, one of the key ingredients in kimchi, is a great source of both allicin and selenium. Allicin is a well-known compound that can reduce cholesterol levels, which will help decrease chances of developing strokes and heart attacks. The selenium, another active compound in garlic, can help lower cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol plaque from building up in your artery walls.
The fermentation process to make kimchi also contributes to the delicious taste and creates a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria your body needs to maintain a balanced state of bacteria in your colon. The cabbage, which is the main ingredient in kimchi, will also help your body get rid of waste, and stabalize your bowel movements.
As a weight loss food kimchi is believed to be highly supportive due to its lactobacillus content. Lactobacillus is one of the many good bacteria your body needs to function at a top level. This good bacteria in kimchi can help control your appetite by lowering blood sugar levels. The fiber content in kimchi may also help you feel less hungry so you are not as likely to over=eat during the day.
Most of the ingredients used to make kimchi such as ginger, pepper, and garlic have all been known to support the immune system and are believed to have the ability to stop or shorten cold and flu symptoms. The antioxidants in kimchi are beneficial for protecting your body from free radicals. There are some theories which support the idea that high levels of free radicals may increase susceptibility to flu and colds.
Eating kimchi regularly may also help reduce your chances of developing certain cancers, such as stomach cancer. It is the cabbage used to make kimchi that gives it powerful antioxidants and flavonoids known to help prevent cancer. Along with the antioxidants and flavonoids it possesses, cabbage is also a rich source of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates when digested convert into a compound known as isothiocyanate, which is an effective anti-cancer phytochemical found in many cruciferous vegetables..
Although kimchi is considered a super-food with extraordinary health benefits it is important to eat it with caution. Eating too much of this fermented dish can cause digestive distress and may even increase your chances of developing gastric cancer. Also if you have high blood pressure be sure to carefully monitor your kimchi intake as it normally has a high amount of salt in it. You can eat kimchi by itself as a pre-meal or with meal condiment, add it to soups, to rice, or as a topping on sandwiches.
John Maddox is an experienced herbalist who writes about natural alternatives to medicine, nutrition, diet, and fitness. He is currently doing research on natural acne treatments; his work can be found online at Natural Acne Med.