Kimchi is a very popular dish in Korea, so much so that each person consumes 40 pounds of the spicy side dish every year. And in Korean restaurants throughout the world, more and more people are discovering this delicious condiment. While it may be spicy for some people, it still is enjoyed by plenty. If you’re a fan of this Korean dish, you’d be pleased to know that there are some health benefits you can get from eating kimchi.
What is Kimchi?
First things first, what is kimchi? As mentioned, kimchi is a very popular dish that comes from Korean cuisine. It is made of a red fermented vegetable mixed with garlic, vinegar, salt, chili peppers, and other spices. The common varieties of kimchi include cabbage and radish, although there are now other vegetables being turned to kimchi. Considered as a side dish, kimchi is traditionally served at every meal—along with rice or noodles. It can even be used for cooking soups, pancakes, burgers, or even as a topping on pizza.
Why do Koreans love it so much?
Preparing kimchi is a tradition among Koreans that date back to thousands of years. The main reason why Koreans created kimchi was so they could preserve vegetables for the winter season. Since it can get pretty cold during winter, they eat kimchi to help their bodies stay warm. By fermenting these vegetables, they can get the help they need during the cold season since it can be stored for weeks in the refrigerator.
History of kimchi
The history of kimchi can be traced back to 7th century Korea. Compared to how it is being prepared today, kimchi used to be nothing more than plainly salted vegetables. As time went on, spices and flavors were gradually added to kimchi. By the 18th century, kimchi was already modernized and included hot pepper as one of its major ingredients.
So why is kimchi good for you?
Studies have shown that kimchi can actually do more than just regulate the body’s temperature. In fact, it has been linked to help keep obesity at bay among Koreans. It has been found to be full of vitamins A, B and C and has been discovered to contain lactobacilli, which (like yogurt) helps with good digestion and prevention of yeast infections. At the same time, kimchi has been found to help in preventing the growth of cancer. With these, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t love kimchi too. Here are more health benefits that you can get from eating kimchi regularly:
Promotes good digestion. As mentioned, kimchi is a great source of good bacteria called lactobacilli, which helps promote a healthy stomach. At the same time, the fiber found in kimchi helps in stabilizing the individual’s bowel movements and even helps prevent constipation.
Contains antioxidants. Kimchi also contains antioxidants that protect the body against oxidative damage and even shield it from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Contains anti-aging properties. Kimchi also helps prolong the effects of aging so you do not have to worry about your skin looking older than you should be.
Strengthens immune system. Kimchi is rich in phenolic components and flavonoids, which help in making your immune system stronger. This way, you can fight off infections and easily cure symptoms found on common colds and flu.
Healthy cholesterol. When consumed regularly, individuals can have a healthy cholesterol level in their body. This is because of the garlic found in kimchi, which contains components that help lower cholesterol levels and prevent the build-up of plaque on the artery walls.
Helps against skin disease. The lactobacillus bacteria found in kimchi also helps with different skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, edema, and hemorrhage.
Anti-obesity. Additionally, the lactobacillus in kimchi is helpful in assisting weight loss. It does so by curbing your appetite and even reducing your blood sugar levels. The fibers found in kimchi also helps in making you feel full so you don’t overeat.
Helps against gastric ulcers. The lactobacillus in kimchi also contains therapeutic effects on peptic ulcer and gastritis disease as it helps stop harmful pathogens from connecting to stomach cancer cells.
Helps in controlling diabetes. Kimchi also helps in lowering the body’s blood sugar levels. This is why it is recommended for those who are going for a low-fat diet.
Helps prevent cancer. Kimchi is considered as a valuable food that helps reduce the risk of cancer development. The vegetables preserved in kimchi have already been found to help protect the body against cancer so this can be a big help for the body.
Promotes shiny hair and radiant skin. Kimchi does not only help with your health, it can also do your skin and hair some good. This is thanks to the selenium found in the garlic packed with kimchi. By consuming kimchi, you get to help prevent wrinkles from appearing on your skin.
How to prepare kimchi?
One of the good things about kimchi is that you can eat it alone or as a side dish. Depending on your preference, you can actually use kimchi in a variety of ways. And since it is sold in different markets, you can have access to it anytime you like.
If you would like to make your own kimchi however, the first thing you need to do is decide what type of vegetable you would like to use. The common vegetables to use include Chinese cabbage and radish. But you can also do this with cucumber, garlic, ginseng, cayenne peppers, or even mustard leaves. You will need to mix these vegetables with spices and seasonings to help preserve it. Once your kimchi is ready to be consumed, you can easily enjoy it alone or as a main ingredient in your stew or any other dish.
Safety precautions in consuming kimchi
Individuals who have high blood pressure should be careful when eating kimchi. This is because it contains a high concentration of salt that could be harmful. In order to enjoy the effects of kimchi, it is recommended that it should be consumed in small quantities. To be sure, you may even seek the advice of your physician before you include kimchi in your daily diet.
With these health benefits provided by kimchi, it is no surprise why it has been recognized as among the healthiest foods in the world. Try a kimchi dish today so you can see just how good it can be for you.