Is Kimchi Good for You? Health Benefits and Nutrition

Kimchi, a conventional fermented meals from Korea, is now a world favourite in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, soups and lots of extra! If you make a visit to Asian grocery shops, well being meals shops and lots of supermarkets, you’ll discover typically kimchi close to the tofu within the refrigerated part. Often containing cabbage, kimchi will also be made with some other vegetable, resembling radish and carrots.

Whether it is store-bought or do-it-yourself, kimchi has a powerful dietary profile and should supply potential well being advantages. This pickled dish packs a punch of nutritional vitamins A and C and gut-friendly micro organism. But chances are you’ll surprise, how a lot do you have to eat? Keep scrolling to uncover the solutions to kimchi’s well being advantages, potential dangers and suggestions from two registered dietitians.

Health Benefits of Kimchi

Probiotics in Kimchi and Their Role in Gut Health

While many micro organism are naturally current in greens, lactic acid micro organism (LAB) are probably the most dominant micro organism in kimchi. During fermentation, LAB produces a byproduct of lactic acid that offers the vegetable a particular bitter style.

During fermentation, the LAB current within the greens multiply and develop. While there are a number of strains of LAB, the commonest strains current in kimchi are Lactobacillus, Weissella and Leuconostoc.

The micro organism in kimchi are thought of the unsung heroes of our digestive system that will help intestine well being. Eating kimchi has been linked to rising the range and quantity of intestine micro organism that produce short-chain fatty acids, which preserve the intestine lining wholesome and make the intestine inhospitable to dangerous micro organism.

May Protect the Brain and Improve Mood

When eaten in satisfactory quantities, some probiotics, resembling these present in kimchi, have been discovered to manage neurotransmitters, resembling serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate and brain-derived neurotrophic issue. These neurotransmitters could defend the mind from degenerative illnesses, resembling Parkinson’s illness, and should help studying and enhance temper problems, resembling anxiousness and melancholy, in keeping with Maggie Moon, M.S., RD, a Korean American dietitian and mind well being vitamin professional for MIND Diet Meals.

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May Improve Heart Health

Probiotics in kimchi may additionally improve coronary heart well being by decreasing levels of cholesterol and decreasing irritation, says Cheryl Mussatto, M.S., RD, proprietor of Eat Well to Be Well. Research reveals that consuming kimchi could decelerate plaque formation in arteries, thereby decreasing LDL levels of cholesterol. This heart-protective profit may be linked to the antioxidants, folate and fiber current within the preserved vegetable.

Nutrient Density of Kimchi

Kimchi is constructed from greens, so that you get all of the dietary perks of veggies. Kimchi is low in energy, accommodates fiber, and is full of nutritional vitamins. For instance, kimchi is a wonderful supply of vitamin Ok, a nutrient that promotes blood clotting and bone metabolism, and it’s an excellent supply of folate, a nutrient that will enhance stop anemia and help coronary heart well being.

Depending on the elements used to make it, kimchi could also be a superb supply of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps wound therapeutic and the immune system and improves iron absorption.

Potential Immune System Support 

Consuming fermented meals like kimchi, which comprise probiotics, has been related to digestive and immune operate help. It is well known that a good portion of the immune system—about 70% to 80%—resides within the intestine, the place a various group of microorganisms performs an important function in sustaining immune power. For instance, the probiotic strains present in kimchi could assist the immune system filter out broken or dangerous compounds, in keeping with a research of probiotic strains present in kimchi.

Antioxidants and Their Benefits in Kimchi

Moon says there are greater than 200 forms of kimchi, so the kinds and concentrations of antioxidants differ by the elements used to make it. “Some widespread elements are cabbage, radish, inexperienced onion, pink pepper, fermented shrimp and garlic,” Moon provides.

Research has discovered that kimchi is loaded with antioxidants. The authors level out that it’s the elements in kimchi–cabbage, radish, inexperienced onion, ginger, garlic–which might be loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene and polyphenols that present these useful compounds. Antioxidants have the ability to guard your physique from radicals that may injury your physique cells. Kimchi’s polyphenol content material may additionally supply safety towards degenerative illnesses and decelerate getting old.

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Nutritional Profile of Kimchi

Here’s a better have a look at the dietary profile of two/3 cup (100 g) of kimchi:

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Total Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Sodium: 498 mg
  • Beta carotene: 82 mcg
  • Folate: 55 mcg (14% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin Ok: 44 mcg (37% Daily Value)
  • Iron: 3 mg (17% Daily Value)

Potential Risks and Considerations

High Sodium Content

Since kimchi is product of greens, it could sound like it’s best to have a number of it should you adore it; in spite of everything, 90% of the U.S. inhabitants isn’t consuming sufficient veggies. But with kimchi, chances are you’ll wish to be extra conscious of how a lot you eat as a result of each cup accommodates 747 mg of sodium, or one-third of your every day advisable consumption. Because of its excessive sodium content material, Mussatto says consuming massive quantities of kimchi commonly could elevate an individual’s danger of hypertension. So, in case you are watching your sodium consumption, Moon and Mussatto advocate having fun with smaller parts of kimchi.

Histamine Sensitivity or Intolerance

If you may have a histamine sensitivity or intolerance, you can’t break down dietary histamine because of the dysfunction of a selected digestive enzyme in your physique. Depending on the elements used within the kimchi, histamine could also be current within the fermented vegetable. So, in case you are histamine-sensitive or illiberal, you’ll want to tread rigorously.

Moon says that the supply of histamine is more than likely from jeotgal, a Korean fermented seafood, and aekjeot, a Korean fermented fish sauce, that are used as elements to make kimchi. Moon recommends searching for out vegetarian kimchi instead.

Food Safety Concern

Lactic acid produced throughout fermentation kills off potential pathogens. Still, should you’re making kimchi at residence, it’s vital to correctly sanitize all instruments used to make it, lower elements small or shred them, use the correct quantity of salt, and use the precise temperature at time.

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How to Incorporate Kimchi into Your Diet

Kimchi is a spicy, tangy and extremely versatile ingredient that pairs effectively with savory dishes. Enjoy kimchi as a small aspect dish to enhance rice, or add it to stews and salads.

Moon enjoys kimchi with rice, veggies and lean protein, resembling our Kimchi-Tofu Soup with Sesame & Egg. Our recipe for Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls can be an instance of how one can add kimchi as a topping in a grains and greens bowl.

If you’re hands-on and like to make your personal kimchi, you should use it to make Pork & Kimchi Fried Rice with chopped veggies and savory kimchi pancakes.

One of Moon’s favorites is topping off fish tacos with chopped kimchi. Our Korean-Style Beef & Cabbage Tacos can be a artistic approach to take pleasure in taco-inspired meals.

Tips for Buying and Storing Kimchi

If you employ store-bought kimchi, retailer it within the fridge at 40°F (4°C) or beneath and use it by its best-before date when it’s at its peak high quality.

Fermented merchandise like kimchi have an prolonged shelf life. Refrigerated kimchi can final within the fridge for 3 to 6 months, and consuming it throughout the first three months is probably the most splendid for its probiotic advantages.

Since kimchi is a fermented product, it is going to proceed to ferment throughout storage. The taste could change into extra bitter and the colour could change into extra boring. If you see mildew progress or the scent or style of the fermented vegetable is off, it’s time to toss it out.

The Bottom Line

Kimchi is a conventional Korean staple that enhances quite a lot of savory dishes. This fermented meals could supply a slew of well being advantages, from preserving your intestine wholesome to bettering temper and decreasing ldl cholesterol. While this preserved vegetable is nutrient-dense with probiotics, vitamin Ok, fiber and extra, it’s excessive in sodium. If you are attempting to average your salt consumption, take pleasure in it as a small aspect dish.

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