By now, there’s no need to introduce the origins of this well-loved Korean side dish. You may have come across it in your favorite Korean barbecue restaurant, have bought a jar (or two) in a supermarket, and might have even snacked on some recently.
But kimchi rightfully holds its place as South Korea’s national dish to thrill the taste buds of people all over the world for reasons not limited to its taste. Today, we’re not here to educate you about what goes into kimchi but we’ll look at its efficacy when it comes to improving overall health.
If your digestion is on the rocky side these days, you might be running low on fiber and good bacteria. Fortunately, a serving of kimchi can almost immediately boost both these substances. This is due to the fermentation process kimchi goes through to produce lactobacilli along with an ample amount of fiber from the vegetables and leaves (commonly cabbage).
Reduces additional cravings
Adding a low-calorie side dish that is nonetheless jam-packed with nutrients and flavor like kimchi can keep cravings at bay. This is because we tend to feel more satisfied with whatever we’re eating when we add something complex like a serving of spicy kimchi to our meal, therefore reducing food intake. In fact, lactobacillus from kimchi has even been seen as a powerful weapon against obesity.
Allegedly fights cancer and boosts immunity
Almost every ingredient that makes up kimchi produces antioxidants, which makes it a goldmine for disease-fighting compounds. Cabbages, for example, contain indole-3-carbinol, which is a powerful component for combatting colon cancer. Red pepper, garlic, radish, and ginger, which can all be used and turned into kimchi, are known to be high in anti-inflammatory components like alicin and capsaicin that help prevent diseases associated with oxidation like heart disease and multiple types of cancer.
Reduces severe symptoms of food allergies
Turns out, kimchi’s active probiotics can lessen the blow of severe allergies. A study conducted in 2010 showed that consuming kimchi before eating the food you are allergic to significantly suppresses its most dangerous symptom: the tendency to constrict airways.
Helps maintain clear vision
The daily consumption of kimchi and all its compounds also elicit vitamin A that is responsible for bone health, healthy reproduction, and maintenance of clear eyesight—something our constantly strained eyes (from using our phones) need to stack up on.
Benefits the skin and hair
It’s actually no coincidence that Koreans are renowned for their radiant skin. This is because a significant amount of their skincare regimen comes from the food they eat.
Kimchi, along with other types of fermented food, is rich in antioxidants like selenium, which is known to help maintain healthy and shiny hair on top of the fact that this fermented dish’s anti-inflammatory ingredients also reduce the onset of acne.
Header photo courtesy of Dongtan Ko from Pixabay
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Writer: JOY THERESE GOMEZ