If you’re so into Korean Drama or anything related to Korea, surely you know what kimchi is though perhaps you have no idea how the taste is. Kimchi is a Korean’s traditional cuisine, mostly served as banchan or side dish. However, sometimes kimchi is also added as ingredients to other Korean’s traditional cuisines like soups, fried rice, rice cakes and even porridges.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is salted, seasoned and fermented vegetables. The varieties of kimchi are based on the vegetables or seasoning used but mostly the vegetables used for kimchi are Korean radishes and napa cabbages. For the seasoning, traditional kimchi is using Korean sea salt, chili powder, ginger, garlic, scallions and jeotgal or salted seafood. However, from the many combinations of vegetables, seasonings and jeotgal, right now there are hundreds varieties of kimchi which sometimes is different from one region to others based on the ingredients available locally.
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History of Kimchi as Part of Korean Traditional Culture
The name of kimchi comes from the ‘shimchae’ a Korean word means ‘salting of vegetables’. Kimchi is not only part of Korean’s cuisine but also part of Korean’s traditional culture because according to history statement, kimchi has been part of Three Kingdom’s cuisine since the early period, as early as 57 BC which stated that Korean people (at that time referred as Goguryeo) were well known to be skilled in fermented foods. However, nothing about garlic and chili peppers was mentioned until the late of 16th century when chili was firstly introduced by Portuguese traders to Korea.
For people who never taste kimchi before, you will find the taste is a bit unique with the combination of salt, sour, spicy and sweet blended into one fermented vegetables. Asides from the rich flavor of kimchi, this fermented vegetables are also rich of nutrients that provide you longer list of health benefits.
Kimchi Benefits is Good for Your Stomach
There are some qualities of kimchi that is promoting the healthy stomach. Kimch is so rich of fiber and as fermented foods, kimchi contains ‘healthy bacteria’ which is also good for digestion.
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
How could kimchi promote healthy digestion? The answer is quite simple because kimchi is rich of fiber and it is a common knowledge that all foods that are rich of fiber promotes healthy digestion. In other words, if you want to have healthy digestion, eat kimchi.
- Natural Source of Probiotics
Kimchi is a natural source of probiotics because the fermentation process is not only giving kimchi a unique flavor but also promoting the growth of healthy bacteria, especially Lactobacillus which is best known to be ‘good bacteria’ that will keep your intestine in healthy state.
- Body Natural Detox
The original kimchi is made from cabbage. The cabbage itself has its own benefits to human body since cabbage has detoxification qualities that could be used by body to eliminate toxins and waste naturally. As it is fermented, the qualities are increased.
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- Promotes Better Assimilation of Nutrients
Sometimes, the digestion system is full of unnecessary compounds that are no longer able to be absorbed and only wasting the space. The effect is your digestive system cannot work optimally like the nutrients there are essentially required by body but cannot be absorbed. Kimchi could assist in eliminating those unnecessary compounds to promote better assimilation of nutrients.
- Stabilizes the Bowel Movements
Do you know that the bowel movement will affect the overall metabolism process? The slower the movement the slower metabolism will be. If that happens, condition like diabetes because body could not fast enough to turn glucose into energy, cardiovascular problem because potassium cannot be fully absorbed to eliminate sodium in the blood stream.
- Prevents Constipation
Once your bowel movement is under control is easy to deal with some more digestive conditions like constipation. It is because the fiber and healthy bacteria in kimchi could assist in stabilizing the bowel movements.
- Reduces the Risk of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer or colon cancer is not only occurring because of free radicals that cause the development of cancerous cells but there are more factors, especially unhealthy eating habit and unhealthy digestive system. Kimchi could assist in keeping your digestion in healthy state.
- Reduces the Risk of Allergic
Most of types of allergic are caused by foods that are consumed. Actually, the probiotics contained in kimchi could assist in reducing the risk of food allergic. Though there are many studies that are still required to prove this statement.
- Prevents Gastric Ulcers
Gastric ulcer is one of the stomach conditions. This condition is considered to be a serious stomach problem. The early symptom of this condition is when the fluid acid is produced in excessive amount. Kimchi which is rich of fiber and healthy bacteria will make sure the stomach in healthy stage and condition like gastric ulcers could be prevented.
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Kimchi Benefits – Good for Your Heart
Though kimchi contains high sodium so it is should be avoided by those with high blood pressure level but overall, kimchi is good for your heart as long as you consume it in moderate amount.
- Affects the Level of Cholesterol
The main reason why kimchi has a good affect in the cholesterol level is because of the high amount of garlic that is used for the seasoning. Garlic is the natural source of allicin and selenium which are effective in lowering cholesterol level.
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack
Allicin found in kimchi is also good for heart and able to reduce the risk of heart attack. However, you have to be careful with the sodium contained in kimchi, since it is fermented by using salt. It is good to prevent but not good for those with high blood pressure.
- Prevents Stroke
Foods that could reduce the risk of heart attack are supposed to be able to prevent stroke as well. Kimchi is one of the foods that are recommended for you to prevent stroke.
- Prevents Blood Clot
Selenium and allicin are also effective in preventing the accumulation of blood clot. Blood clot mostly occurred because of the excessive production of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in the artery. Furthermore, fiber in kimchi is also able to bind the ‘bad’ cholesterol and eliminate it completely from body system.
- Controls Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is not easy to control but kimchi has some properties that will optimize the function of digestion system. So, glucose that is found in blood stream will be turned immediately into energy or stored into skin fat cells to be used later.
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Kimchi is Good for Your Skin and Hair
It’s no wonder why Korean people are having healthy and glowing skin because they consume kimchi in daily basis that guarantees healthy skin for the consumers.
- Natural Source of Antioxidants
Some types of powerful antioxidants are found in relatively high amount in kimchi. They are phenols and flavonoids. Antioxidants are essential for human body, though there are some types of antioxidants that are produced by body itself but mostly this powerful property are obtained from foods that are consumed.
- Treats Atopic Dermatitis
There are some skin conditions that kimchi could treat effectively. One among the list is atopic dermatitis.
- Reduces Skin Inflammation
Many people just don’t realize that skin inflammation could lead to more serious conditions. That’s why, treating it immediately is a smart solution. Meanwhile, kimchi is a delicious solution to reduce the skin inflammation.
- Produces Shiny Hair
Korean people are not only well known for their healthy skin but also their healthy and shiny hair. Though eating kimchi is not going to make your hair shiny but some properties contained in kimchi are good for hair growth like minerals and vitamin C.
- Prevents Wrinkles in Your Skin
Kimchi contains vitamin C and some types of antioxidants that are essential for the regeneration of new cells. Skin products are only able to eliminate the dead skin cells from outside but from inside regeneration of new skin cells will replace the dead skin cells to prevent wrinkles being on display.
- Prevents Acnes
What most people don’t know is that fermented food always good to prevent acnes. It is due to the gut bacteria is performing some beneficial functions to your overall body health including your healthy skin.
- Promotes the Production of Collagen
The main compound required to optimize the production of collagen is vitamin C. Collagen is essential to keep your skin healthy, firm, elastic and glowing. Kimchi is so rich of vitamin C and it will make sure the availability of collagen in your body to promote healthy skin.
- Accelerates the Healing Process
Don’t ever think that the disinfectant you apply in your wound is the reason why it heals. Disinfectant is only preventing further infection to the open wound, the gratitude of healing process should goes to kimchi. Well, not literally kimchi but this super food contains some properties that could accelerate the healing process.
- Contains Anti-Aging Properties
Aging is something you cannot stop but as long as you know the right thing to eat, you could slow down the aging process significantly. Fermentation process of kimchi is the representation that even vegetables could stay longer than it should be, it also applies to your skin.
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Kimchi is Low in Calories
All foods that are low in calories are good to keep you in shape. That’s why if somehow you are having problem with weight gain perhaps putting kimchi as your daily side dish sounds like a delicious idea.
- Weight Loss Solution
Kimchi is low in calories so it is totally safe to be consumed in daily basis even if you’re in a weight loss program. Furthermore, kimchi is so rich of fiber that will assist in suppressing your appetite by making you full longer.
- Prevents Obesity
Obesity is more than just a weight gain problem. That’s why, preventing it in the first place is better than deal with it later. The fermentation process of kimchi provides this food with some healthy bacteria that will make sure healthy digestion which prevents obesity effectively.
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Kimchi is Rich of Vitamin A and C
When it comes to vitamin and then kimchi is so rich of vitamin A and C. We all know that vitamin C and A are two significant types of vitamin that are essential for human body.
- Beneficial to Immune System
Not only rich of vitamin C which is good for immunity system but kimchi is also rich of other nutrients obtained from garlic and ginger as seasoning. That’s why the amount of flavonoids and phenolic components are relatively high which are well known to be beneficial to immune system.
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- Fights Viral Infection Effectively
Viral infection is not easy to be avoided but kimchi is effective and delicious solution to fight the viruses. That’s why many Korean are making spicy kimchi soup during winter or rainy days because this super food could fight viral infection more effective than any other medicines.
- Promotes Brain Health
Vitamin A and vitamin C are essential for brain health. Vitamin A will prevent the macular degeneration conditions like Alzheimer or dementia and vitamin C will make sure the optimal function of brain and nerve system.
- Good for Eye Health
It is a common knowledge that foods that are rich of vitamin A is good for eye health. Furthermore, antioxidants contained in kimchi could fight the macular degeneration conditions which could cause blindness in senior people.
More Benefits of Kimchi
It seems like the list of kimchi is never ending but so far, there are more health benefits of kimchi that you should know.
- Lights Your Mood
Are you in a bad mood? Try a plate of kimchi because this food will light your mood. That’s the health benefits of kimchi, also you can eat it for lunch with your fellows.
- Good for Mental Health
Kimchi is rich of minerals that have been proven to be effective in treating someone with mental health condition. However, if you are currently in depression medication, don’t leave your medicine because though some of properties in kimchi is probably good for mental health but they are not going to cure your mental condition.
- Treats Asthma Effectively
When it comes to asthma, most people thought that it is a respiratory problem. Well, it is a respiratory problem but this condition would not happen without a trigger. The trigger in asthma is allergic; food allergic is one of the many triggers. As mentioned above, as kimchi could assist in reduces the risk, it is also able to treat asthma effectively. Also read: Symptoms of Asthma
- Friendly Food for Diabetic Patients
It is not easy to create a daily diet menu for diabetic patients. However, kimchi is so rich of flavor with the combination of salty, sour, spicy and sweet flavors will be good to be added to daily menu. Since it is friendly for diabetes, so it is safe to be consumed even in daily basis without afraid of blood sugar level is getting spike.
- Good Food for Those with Autoimmune Disease
Just like diabetic patients, it is not easy to create daily menu for those who have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease. However, kimchi is considered to be one of the safe food to be consumed though further discussion with your doctor is required, especially for you who never eat kimchi before in your life.
- Optimizes the Mineral Absorption
Minerals are essential for human body but sometimes the absorption of minerals is not optimal due to some factors. Those factors are like some interference from other minerals and when the digestion system is not function optimally. Kimchi will assist in optimizing the mineral absorption.
Cautions of Kimchi Consumption
As super and delicious food, kimchi also contains some precautions you should aware of. With a lot of health benefits, surely you should know that consuming it in large amount will bring you nothing but harm for your body. Below is the list of cautions of kimchi so if you like it, please be wise in consuming it.
- As kimchi good for digestion but in large amount, kimchi could lead to some digestive problems.
- Just like many fermented foods, kimchi could cause bloating and gas in the stomach.
- Kimchi as salted and fermented foods surely rich of sodium which is bad for those with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
- Vitamin A in large amount could be toxic and kimchi is so rich of vitamin A though the case is rare but being caution is not a crime.
Overall, kimchi is not only delicious as a side dish but also full of benefits, as long as you are wise enough to consume it in moderate amount.
How to Store Kimchi
Well, after you find out about the health benefits of kimchi surely you want to start consuming it just like Korean people, though perhaps for most people the taste of kimchi is a bit unique but as side dish, kimchi is so refreshing. Most Korean people are making kimchi in a bulk and then store it until they are needed to be served. Traditionally, kimchi was stored in a jar to keep in cool but now in modern world, refrigerator is used to store kimchi, furthermore as kimchi is part of Korean’s staple food, there is kimchi refrigerator that is especially designed to store kimchi.
Right now, the popularity of kimchi has been well known worldwide and you don’t need to go to Korea to enjoy a plate of kimchi since there are a lot of Korean restaurants in every country will serve you the delicious kimchi. Although perhaps, it is nothing could compare the original taste of kimchi that you only could find in the original country.
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