Kimchi, a staple Korean side dish, is a traditional fermented probiotic food. It’s also called gimchi or kimchee, but whatever you call it, all kimchi has the same spicy and sour flavor. Kimchi consists of a variety of ingredients, such as napa cabbage, radish, scallions, cucumber, and red chili paste. It also contains garlic, ginger and red pepper powder. And kimchi boasts a great deal of health benefits, as well. For example, one of the most noteable kimchi benefits is the fact that it’s full of probiotics. This makes it a viable probiotics option for vegans or those who can’t tolerate dairy. Learn more about the health benefits of kimchi by reading below.
Here are 5 kimchi benefits:
1. Provides Probiotics that Help Improve Digestion
Kimchi benefits start with the ability to improve digestion. This is due to the high amount of probiotics kimchi contains. When you think of probiotics, you might think of yogurt, or perhaps sauerkraut. But if you don’t do dairy or are looking for some variety in your diet, you should try kimchi. This spicy, sour mix is a fantastic source of probiotics, which can help improve the health of your gut.
And, the longer kimchi ferments, the greater concentration of probiotics it builds, making for even better health benefits. However, note that in order for it to be considered “real” kimchi, it needs to be refrigerated and unpasteurized. Otherwise, the probiotics will not remain intact.
Repopulating your gut with good bacteria is crucial for your health. Probiotics can help treat constipation and fight indigestion, inflammation, as well as hormonal changes. And fermented foods like kimchi can treat diarrhea that stems from antibiotics, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, candida, pouchitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. (1)
2. Helps Increase Immunity
Did you know that 75 percent of your immune system is stored in your gut? This is one of the prime reasons that gut health is so important! If your gut isn’t healthy, neither is your immune system, and you are more susceptible to contracting illnesses or developing diseases. However, consuming as kimchi benefits your gut health, it also is a great way to boost your immunity.
Boosting your gut health with kimchi and other probiotics can help fight off such conditions as:
- leaky gut syndrome symptoms
- food or seasonal allergies
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- cognitive-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s
- autoimmune disorders like arthritis
- bacterial vaginosis
- bladder infections and urinary tract infections
- dental or respiratory infections
- obesity and cancer
Furthermore, the red pepper powder in kimchi has anti-carcinogenic as well as antioxidant effects. And the garlic can help fight off viruses, fatigue, as well as lower inflammation.
Bonus? Cabbage is anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, providing you with vitamins A, C, and K. The cabbage also contains prebiotics, which is yet another way to boost your immunity. It also is effective in preventing cancer and aiding in heavy metal detox. Wow!
3. High in Fiber
Kimchi benefits continue with a high amount of fiber. As it’s primarily vegetables, kimchi is both filling and good for your heart and digestive system. A high intake of dietary fiber significantly lowers risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and some gastrointestinal diseases. (2)
4. Helps You Lose Weight
If you have a sugar addiction, you should know that eating fermented foods like kimchi can help you kick that addiction to the curb. In this way, kimchi benefits your plan to lose weight. Furthermore, kimchi is low in calories but high in nutrients as well as fiber, which can help you stay full while staying on track. And the spicy quality to kimchi can help boost metabolism, due to the thermogentic effects the red pepper has inside your body.
Additionally, kimchi benefits your weight loss plan due to the fact that probiotics are now linked with reductions in weight and body fat. In fact, new research suggests that manipulating the microbial ecosystem in the gut may be a viable treatment option for obesity. (3)
5. Can Help Fight Cancer
Kimchi benefits extend to fighting cancer, as well. This is due to kimchi being anti-inflammatory as well as containing antioxidants. Cabbages of many color varieties, in fact, are chock-full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. (4)
Anti-inflammatory foods are crucial when it comes to preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, artery diseases, and cognitive disorders. Furthermore, the garlic in kimchi contains allicin, which can help reduce the risk of developing liver, stomach, and thyroid cancers. And Chinese cabbage contains indole-3-carbinol, which can help fight against the development of stomach and colon cancers.
Between the probiotics, cancer-fighting abilities, and nutrient content, kimchi benefits your health in several ways. Start reaping kimchi benefits by adding it to your diet today!