Probiotics and Other Health Benefits of Korean Kimchi
Korean Bok Choy Kimchi
The Benefits of Kimchi
For centuries, kimchi has been a major part of the Korean diet. It is the traditional fermented food that is served at every meal. As Americans become more aware of the benefits of probiotics, kimchi is making its way to the American palate and plate.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that aid in maintaining the balance of microorganisms in our body's intestinal tract. On average, the human digestive system contains more than 400 types of probiotic bacteria. These all serve to inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria by promoting the health of the digestive system.
What are the heatlh benefits of the probiotics in kimchi?
Well-fermented kimchi is known to have antibiotic functions such as lactic acid bacteria produced in the fermentation process which then suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria. It also helps to prevent the growth of other bacteria in the intestines. For meat eaters, kimchi also helps to prevent hyperacidity that is the result of excessive meat intake and other acidic foods.
- helps reduce indigestion and gas. Excess bad bacteria causes irritation leading to indigestion, gas and fluid retention.
- helps you feel less hunger. Lactobacillus, one common strain of good bacteria has been linked to appetite control. Good bacteria helps stabilize blood-sugar levels which means less frequent and less intense hunger and fewer fat storage hormones.
Some studies have shown that kimchi can shorten the duration of a cold. Other studies have shown that kimchi can help clear up yeast infections and UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).
The juice and salt from kimchi helps to keep the intestines clean.
The chili peppers and garlic help to lower blood cholesterol and are an aid in blood-clotting.
What about calories, vitamins, and minerals?
The ingredients are low in calories and sugar but contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C in particular, and minerals such as calcium and iron. It also has high levels of Beta Carotene. After 3 weeks of fermentation the levels of B1, B2, and B12 double. The lactic acid is efficacious in the prevention of adult diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancers.
How does it compare to yogurt?
When it comes to probiotics, Americans are more familiar with yogurt. Well fermented kimchi has more lactic acid bacteria than yogurt. Known to be good for the intestines, it also has anti-germ functions.
Other types of fermented foods in the American diet are kefir, unpasteurized/homemade pickles, tofu and more recently, miso soup.
Americans are also likely to use probiotic supplements.
Is it possible to overdo probiotics?
Not if it comes from food, although all foods in moderation are always best.
Is it only served as a side dish?
In addition to eating kimchi as a side dish it is also served as kimchi stew, kimchi soup, kimchi dumplings, kimchi stir fried rice, the list is becoming endless.
What is the most common type of kimchi?
The most common type of kimchi is made from Bok choy, also known as Pak Choi and commonly called Chinese Cabbage in American markets (and less often brassica which is related to the cabbage family). Kimchi is also made using radishes, leeks, cucumbers, green onions, lettuce, and other types of cabbage, etc. In fact in Seoul, S. Korea there is a Kimchi Museum which displays the more than 150 kinds of kimchi, and ways to serve it.
Why is it called kimchi?
The origin of the name, kimchi, may have originated from the word chimchae which means salting of vegetables. It then probably went through some phonetic changes such as from chimchae to dimchae to kimchae to kimchi. Sometimes it is spelled kimchee.
When I lived in Seoul, S. Korea I had the pleasure of enjoying kimchi, of every kind, on a daily basis. My favorite is the most popular kind, the one made from bok choy. Kimchi stir fried rice is also excellent.
See link below for kimchi recipe and Korean pancake recipe.
Easy Kimchi and Easy Pa Jun Recipes
- Easy Korean Kimchi
QUICK & EASY KIMCHI RECIPE (picture below) With the new found American interest in probiotics, this Korean staple is finding its way to the American plate and palate. Kimchi is Korea's most celebrated...
- Korean Pancake/ Pa Jun Recipe
This is the most basic recipe using green onions (scallions) but you can add julienned carrots, mushrooms, and bell peppers for extra flavor, color and nutrition. See note* below for seafood pa jun as...