Anyone unfamiliar with the traditional Korean dish of kimchi should think of it as a course and salty sauerkraut that’s been supercharged with hot sauce. Of course, this culinary staple of fermented cabbage and vegetables has been kicking around for more than 3,000 years, so plenty of people are already aware of it even if it has only recently gained recognition in the U.S. Kimchi, however, may not be for everyone’s pallet thanks to its distinct and spicy taste. But there is no denying that properly prepared kimchi offers a host of benefits. It is a probiotic that supports gut health. It is also generally free of leading food allergens and its nutritional makeup helps deliver an array of health benefits of kimchi. Beyond this, its very name, kimchi, sounds cool. Read on.
Kimchi is not only suitable for vegans and vegetarians; it is a low-carb, gluten-free and dairy-free product. It helps individuals control the amount they eat because the small size is satisfying.
This spicy dish is full of lactobacilli, “good bacteria,” that support healthy digestion. The probiotics in fermented foods like kimchi can lessen gastrointestinal disorder symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and colon inflammation, among others.
Kimchi offers anti-inflammatory properties that may support heart health by decreasing blood sugar, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. More research is needed to identify the specific level of support.
Those consuming higher amounts of kimchi appear to lower their risk and severity of atopic dermatitis, asthma and rhinitis. These individuals also appear to have stronger immune systems. The exact reasons are unclear, but it may be the result of kimchi’s vitamin C levels and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
This product can lower blood glucose and increases glucose tolerance for those with Type 2 diabetes, which can result in better blood glucose control and improved response to insulin.
The three Lactobacillus plantarum strains in kimchi (ATG-K2, ATG-K6 and ATG-K8) have antimicrobial powers that appear to kill bacteria and fungi. With their ability to kill yeast-infection-causing fungi like Candida albicans and Gardnerella vaginalis, it’s believed that they might also help people deal with yeast infections.
The cabbage in kimchi is a powerful source of beta-carotene antioxidants, which help produce vitamin A that boosts eye health. The lutein in kimchi is important for the eye health of older adults.
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