Kimchi: You’re Definitely Not Eating Enough
This guest post was written by Kiki Athanassoulias a fellow Torontonian and lover of gut healthy foods. Kiki is the Marketing Director at Meal Garden, a health-focused meal planning startup, where her goal is to help users live a nutritious and well-balanced life! Kiki is also the co-founder of Waeguk Kimchi, offering handmade kimchi sold at local farmers markets and traded in and around Toronto. In her free time Kiki enjoys yoga, checking out the hippest cafes in Toronto and writing about them. She also shares her cafe hunting, smoothie-bowl eating, and other Toronto-bound adventure photography on her Instagram.
Kimchi is a Korean dish consisting of fermented veggies – sounds scrumptious, right? It’s mainly Napa cabbage complimented by daikon radish, carrots, green onions, garlic, ginger, and a fish-based chili sauce. Now, just because none of the ingredients listed happen to be kale, quinoa, or goji berries – this doesn’t rule out Kimchi as a total “superfood” star!
In fact, it has been deemed one the world’s healthiest food. The Koreans are certainly on to something here and don’t they know it! Typically, a Korean household has two fridges. One is a fridge… you know, the regular kind. But they also have another fridge JUST for kimchi. Traditionally, they would dig a huge hold in the ground where they would store a large clay pot for consistent refrigeration, but now with all of Korea’s stellar advancements, they have huge fridges to keep their kimchi perfectly stored right in the comfort of their own homes.
It’s no wonder that Koreans eat it with literally every meal. Besides being incredibly tasty (although the “spice” level might be something you experiment with to suit your own pallet) it’s loaded with health benefits. If I were to list them all, this article would ramble on forever…so I’m going to break it down for you and keep it simple.
Top Five Health Benefits of Eating Kimchi:
Probiotic gold: The process of fermentation involved in preparing Kimchi creates Lactobacillus (healthy bacteria), which aids the body in maintaining a healthy state of intestinal flora. Cabbage itself (even before its fermented) is loaded with fiber, so the main ingredient alone will help you “go” ;)
Got a cold? Got a flu? Not for long: The ingredients in kimchi (specifically ginger and garlic) are actually known as “super protectors” that have the ability to strengthen your immune system.
Reduce your risk of disease – and I’m talking the major kinds: Several studies have confirmed kimchi’s anti-cancer properties (mainly due to it’s ingredients containing helpful flavonoids as well as glucosinolates). Kimchi is also beneficial for those with diabetes – a study done on patients with type-2 diabeties showed improved glucose tolerance and lower levels of fasting glucose after eating a kimchi-containing diet.
Shed those extra pounds – the healthy way: A 2011 study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that kimchi greatly impacted the weight and body fat of the overweight and obese patients who were being studied – who went on to lose both weight and fat. In addition, patients eating a diet containing kimchi experienced improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure, and the waist-hip ratio.
Get happy! As Dr. Raphael Kellman explains extensively in his book, the microbiome in our gut governs many of our body’s key functions and is crucial to our overall health. A balanced microbiome supports mood and brain function – so if you want to feel better and be better…it all starts with your gut!
Are you convinced yet? Making your own can be great way to get more familiar (set yourself out time to soak & wait…and get ready for some serious chopping).
Alternatively, you can buy pre-made kimchi and incorporate it into dishes such as these…
Thank you so much for this amazing kimchi education. Personally it’s one of my favourite gut supporting foods and whenever I see it on the menu, I ask for double! After reading this I’m going to have to finally make my own, something I’ve been dying to do for a while. Now I just have to convince my husband we need a second, kimchi only, fridge lol
With lots of healthy gut bacteria,