Diet and Nutrition

What Is Kimchi? Health Benefits and Kimchi Recipes

What Is Kimchi? Health Benefits and Kimchi Recipes

Key Takeaways

  • Vegetable kimchi is considered to be anticancer, anti-obesity, antidiabetic.
  • Kimchi promotes a stronger immune system and a healthy digestion.
  • According to a number of scientific research and studies conducted by Korean scientists, it has been proven that the regular consumption of vegetable kimchi enables people to live a long, strong, and healthy life.

Kimchi is made up of salted and fermented vegetables, which Koreans enjoy the most. It has been known for about 2,000 years. The most typical Korean dish of steamed rice with kimchi is a popular meal that every Korean loves. According to Korean studies and research, kimchi is a probiotic that has amazing health benefits. 

Consuming kimchi can help people lead a healthy life with many health improvements such as:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Healthy digestion
  • Improves nutrient absorption 
  • Increases the presence of certain vitamins in the body
  • Works against tooth decay
  • Prevents gastrointestinal conditions like diarrhea
  • Reduces the risk of developing both colon and bladder cancer

Additional health benefits of kimchi

When kimchi is used in various dishes, it helps remove toxins from the body, which are present in the form of metals, perchlorates, and pesticides.

The balance of good and bad bacteria present in the gut is important to be controlled. The gut bacteria gets disturbed due to the usage of antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, intake of toxins, and increasing stress levels. It also increases harmful bacteria, which can cause serious health problems. To maintain the balance, you need to take probiotics, which can help increase the percentage of good bacteria and to repopulate the gut.

Good bacteria is prominently featured in kimchi, which is a fermented food. In the fermentation process of kimchi, bad bacteria are killed and the probiotics remain. One of the highly effective components of kimchi is lactic acid bacteria. 

Studies have shown that most traditional ingredients of kimchi such as garlic, ginger, red pepper, and cruciferous vegetables are healthy foods containing vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. Moreover, vitamin C, vitamin B, beta-carotene, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium are present in kimchi at higher levels.

According to a number of scientific research and studies conducted by Korean scientists, it has been proven that the regular consumption of vegetable kimchi enables people to live a long, strong, and healthy life.

Kimchi promotes a healthy way of living because:

  • Kimchi is considered to be anticancer, anti-obesity, and antidiabetic.
  • It also works against constipation as well as reduces cholesterol levels and the formation of blood clots.
  • It keeps the brain and skin healthy, and helps control other health-related issues.
  • It is also considered as one of the best antioxidants and anti-aging solutions.

Today, kimchi recipes have become highly popular because of their appetizing tastes and flavors along with their amazing health benefits.

Anticancer 

Korean scientists have worked on various forms of kimchi recipes to boost kimchi's anticancer effects and to let the people be aware of the various health advantages of kimchi. Other kimchi recipes include ingredients such as leaf mustard, Chinese pepper, and Korean mistletoe extract (KME).

The regular consumption of kimchi along with the Korean mistletoe extract (KME) tend to control the growth and spread of cancer cells in the colon. According to research, due to kimchi's anticancer properties, it tries to cure the onset of cancer.

Anti-obesity 

Korean researchers have also tested kimchi against various health-related problems, and it has always responded positively by offering the best of results. When kimchi was tested on a group of obese woman, it worked effectively. Obese women were supplemented with kimchi in the form of 3-6 grams of freeze-dried capsules.

The kimchi capsules were effective in reducing the weight and visceral fat of the women. Taking the supplements also remarkably decreased their body mass index (BMI). It also kept control over their serum triglycerides and made them feel healthier and stronger. The study also showed that the medicine is effective in controlling blood glucose, fasting insulin, blood pressure, and leptin levels to normal.

Controls cholesterol

A test was conducted on a number of Korean adult men between the age group of 45-65. It was found that most of the men were healthy and had their cholesterol levels under complete control due to the consumption of vegetable kimchi. Most of the men consumed 450 grams of kimchi everyday and it kept them completely healthy without any health problems.

Kimchi consumption is linked to getting higher levels of HDL or good cholesterol, which makes a person energetic. Most Koreans use kimchi in their everyday diet whether they are having it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Anti-aging 

One of the main benefits of eating kimchi is its anti-aging quality. According to studies, it is found that the regular consumption of kimchi can increase epidermal thickness up to 39 percent when experimented on a group of people. According to scientists, the anti-aging effect of kimchi is due to its antioxidant properties, which offer high levels of chlorophyll, vitamin C, and phenolics.

The lactic acid bacteria contained in kimchi offers various probiotic properties such as:

  • Offers transport in the human GI tract and helps normalize the function of the large intestine 
  • Keeps the stressful environment of the stomach under control using an acidic pH and bile
  • Enhances antimicrobial solutions
  • Effectively prevents cancer development
  • Boosts the immune system of the body
  • Reduces inflammation or allergic reactions
  • Normalize cholesterol levels
  • Relieves diarrhea and constipation

Earlier, the main ingredient used in kimchi was radish, but today, the Chinese cabbage is mainly used in most kimchi recipes. The Chinese cabbage was introduced in the 18th century, and since then, it has become part of kimchi recipes.

Highly preferred recipe

Recipes for kimchi are estimated to be more than 160 different types. Most of the vegetables, when used in the preparation of food along with various ingredients, vary in taste. The taste is also dependent on fermentation conditions and the number of lactic acid bacteria involved in the fermentation.

There are many ingredients used in kimchi, but the most popular are cucumber, green onion, leeks, watercress, mustard, pear, apple, pine nuts, chestnut, gingko nut, and cereals. Kimchi can also be prepared using fish and crabs. One of the highly preferred kimchi recipes is made using lacto-fermented cabbage with added radish, pepper, garlic, ginger, and green onion. Even fermented seafood dishes are used along with kimchi.

The benefits of kimchi

One of the best health benefits of kimchi is that it works as an anticancer drug. It also purifies the body through a detoxification process, which removes heavy metals and other pesticides. The fibers in kimchi can completely help remove the toxins from the body and relieve constipation.

According to studies, Chinese cabbage and radish are most effective in offering health benefits. The use of kimchi in everyday life prevents cancer and also keeps the normal functioning of the liver, kidneys, and small intestine without any health issues.

The mixture of red hot pepper powder and kimchi is highly effective and scientifically proven to prevent cancer. The red pepper powder, which contains capsaicin, eliminates the chances of developing lung cancer when used along with kimchi.

The fermentation process of kimchi produces lactobacilli and lactic acid, which can effectively suppress harmful bacteria. It helps in stimulating beneficial bacteria and keeps the body healthy and strong.

The allicin present in garlic reduces the chances of developing liver, stomach, and thyroid cancer. Moreover, the compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C) contained in Chinese cabbage reduces the chances of developing stomach cancer.

The mixture of garlic and red hot pepper powder used in kimchi can kill the bacteria that can cause gastritis, such as Helicobacter pylori. Moreover, it is said that kimchi's spicy substances tend to overcome the problems relating to ulcer and gastritis.

Research scholars and professors from the University of Ulsan's Nutrition Department have found out that eating kimchi enhances the activation of immune cells in the body. Eating Kimchi can also lower the amino acid homocysteine in blood. It weakens the blood vessels completely and can cause severe heart problems or stroke.

Kimchi is a great source of calcium, copper, phosphor, and iron. It also provides vitamins A, C, B1, and B2. Kimchi is an alkaline food, so and it can prevent blood acidosis caused by an excessive consumption of meat and other acidic foods.

Consuming kimchi on a regular basis can help control high cholesterol levels and prevents conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. It also helps the body adjust to specific changes in the body and promotes a faster recovery process from certain diseases.

Kimchi as a superfood

Kimchi offers many benefits and makes people feel energetic. Kimchi is even called as a superfood because it offers many health benefits and can also be used in various food recipes offering a delicious taste and appetizing flavor. Most of the recipes use napa cabbage, which is highly preferred and one of the cruciferous vegetables used in making kimchi.

The other vegetables used to making kimchi are discussed below with details:

Napa cabbage

This cabbage contains anti-cancer phytonutrients such as indoles and isothiocyanates. It is a highly effective superfood. It also contains large amounts of sulfur, which helps in the body's detoxification process. Polyphenols in napa cabbage also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called as anthocyanins. Napa cabbage is loaded with phytochemicals, which have detoxification properties that can help prevent cancer of different types.

Daikon radish

The daikon radish is identical to a big-sized white carrot. The taste of the daikon radish is milder compared with the conventional and small-sized red radishes. The big-sized daikon radish is highly rich in vitamins B and C. The radish has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. It is also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and fiber. It also contains copper, iron, and sulfur. Daikon radish also offers added health benefits since it is low in calories and without any fat or cholesterol.

Green onion

Green onion contains a large amount of vitamin K, which many people lack. The green onion is also rich in sulfur and vitamin C. According to a research conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the Linus Pauling Institute, the green onion is proven to be a rich source of phytochemicals. It also has quercetin and anthocyanins, which are flavonoid compounds. Phytochemicals are highly useful in boosting the immune system.

Garlic

Garlic has been used for thousands of years and is highly beneficial for its antibiotic properties. Over the years, garlic has become one of the most effective home remedies for various conditions. Garlic should be used as per the taste and requirement of the recipe. It should not be used more than needed because it may cause health issues such as an intestinal imbalance. Fermented and aged garlic is less effective. However, garlic is one of the essential ingredients when it comes to kimchi recipes because of its nutrients and its sulfur-rich allicin compound that keeps many diseases away. Garlic is considered to be one of the most effective detoxifying agents as well.

Ginger

Ginger is most preferred in the kitchen and in almost all types of vegetables recipes. Ginger has a distinctive flavor and is one of the most effective ingredients used in kimchi. It can also help fight cancer of all types. Ginger remains very powerful with many health benefits, especially its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.

Red pepper

Spicy and tasty red peppers are awesome since they offer many health benefits. They can relieve pain with the help of capsaicin--the most active ingredient of red pepper. Capsaicin works as an anti-inflammatory agent with natural pain-relieving properties. It is a source of many powerful vitamins and a storehouse for beta–carotene. Red pepper also helps in reducing one's weight effectively.