So what makes kimchi unique in taste in a world of dozens of other fermented foods? Why is it a superfood not only on par with, but even better for you than yogurt, sourdough, kefir and sauerkraut? Kimchi: A highly nourishing meal with its unique taste.
Kimchi as Highly Balanced Meal
The first thing to note is that kimchi blends several ingredients together, so you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients of everything added to the mix. Whereas sauerkraut gives you the health benefits of cabbage, kimchi is the result of teamwork. When you eat the traditional baechu-kimchi, you not only get the benefits of the napa cabbage, but also of the radishes, green onions, garlic, ginger, red pepper powder, seafood (best fried on All clad D3 and D5 cookware) and other ingredients in there.
Kimchi as Complete distinctive Meal
We’ll look at the most familiar of all kimchis, baechu-kimchi. The napa cabbage has vitamin C and carotene, therefore, the body converts to vitamin A. Radishes also have lots of vitamin C and minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which helps build bones. Red peppers have many vitamins and are one of the main reasons that harmful bacteria don’t grow in kimchi, while helpful bacteria do. Jeotgal, fermented seafood, adds flavor and essential amino acids, as a result it can boost the immune system, build muscle and more.
However, it’s not essential and kimchi can be made 100% vegan. Garlic is one of the world’s best anti-microbial foods with high amounts of allicin, which “binds to harmful substances, thereby detoxifying the body of heavy metals and other such harmful substances.” As you can see, no other fermented food in the world which relies only on single ingredients can compete with this blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
In other words, Don’t forget that you can also substitute pumpkins, persimmons, or a whole host of other vegetables for napa cabbage. and you can enjoy the particular health benefits of those foods throughout the year as well.
Kimchi, a protector from Epidemics
The second benefit of kimchi is that it’s low-calorie, all-natural and mostly plant-based, which also makes it more filling. Before the rise of industrialization during the sixties and seventies, Koreans didn’t suffer from nearly the same degree of modern epidemics like heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure as they do now. Even now, their numbers are comparatively low compared to Americans. Remember, most Koreans traditionally ate some type of kimchi at nearly every meal and this practice continues to this day.
In addition, Some estimates say that the average daily consumption of kimchi has gone from around 300 grams to 60-100 grams nowadays.5 That means that traditionally Koreans would eat vegetables throughout the day. In this case they’d fill themselves up on fiber-rich kimchi loaded with billions of probiotic organisms, rather than eating potentially unhealthy foods like the burgers, pizza, bagels and pasta, which are so prevalent in the standard American diet. The average serving (one cup) of kimchi has between 45–90 calories. If we take the low figure, 45 calories, that’s about the same as four potato chips.
Imagine how quickly you can fill up on a serving of kimchi versus eating only four chips! Even one cup of yogurt has 100 calories and would probably not fill you up nearly as much as a serving of kimchi. It should be no wonder that by eating lots of cabbage, radish and other vegetables, Koreans were able to fill up with great foods while keeping their weight low.
Kimchi, as Fermented Food
The third benefit of kimchi is similar to that of the other fermented foods: the lactic acid bacteria and other probiotics produced in the fermentation process. Probiotics have been linked to a bunch of health benefits, But briefly, our intestinal tract is filled with trillions of bacteria—many of them helpful and some harmful. These bacteria help with everything from digestion to energy production to mood regulation, via the vagus nerve that connects to the brain.
Moreover, The worse bacteria, pathogenic yeasts, parasites and viruses overgrow in our gut, the more things that can go wrong with our health. Bloating, digestive issues, inflammation and even anxiety and depression can result from microbial imbalances. By eating kimchi, we consume thousands of different strains of beneficial bacteria. In fact, over 2,300 strains of lactic acid bacteria have been found in kimchi! Compare this to the five or so strains that most probiotic pills give you. You just can’t compete with real, fermented foods. Above all, you get all of the benefits from eating real, whole, raw and living foods. Hence, Kimchi has ruled all them due to its uniqueness.
Kimchi: Why Ingredients Matter
Organic foods have been shown to have many health benefits over the years, but science still needs further testing in order to establish the full range of advantages organic food has over conventionally grown products. However, many health benefits have been firmly established. Some chemicals, such as glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used herbicide, are considered “probable carcinogens” by the World Health Organization and this chemical is often sprayed all over conventionally grown wheat fields and more. Roundup® in particular has come under increased scrutiny for its harmful effects. This alone is a good reason to buy organic produce whenever possible.
Conventionally grown vegetables may also not be as nutritious for us as their organic counterparts. A six-year study of onions showed 20% more antioxidants in organic onions versus conventionally grown. Remember, antioxidants are responsible for attacking “free radicals,” unstable molecules that bond quickly to areas in the body and produce cellular degeneration. Free radicals are caused by things like radiation, cigarette smoke, drugs and pesticides. These free radicals cause oxidative stress, leading to a “rusting” effect in the body, which can play a role in a host of diseases, such as:
- Heart Disease
So how does kimchi undergo fermentation and what exactly does this magical process do to the healthful properties of the cabbages, radishes, garlic, ginger and/or peppers that you bite into weeks after they’ve been stored? At the most basic level, fermentation is the process whereby bacteria break down the sugars in food in order to feed themselves, and they do so anaerobically—without oxygen. As a result of this process, they emit alcohols, gases or acid in the process. When they emit alcohol, you get beer, wine, spirits or Korea’s favorite, soju. When we ferment foods, we’re encouraging certain types of bacteria to grow. Temperature, pH, oxygen levels and the length of fermentation all play a role in how quickly or slowly these bacteria grow.
Kimchi Science & Health Benefits
Kimchi as really ruled them all as super food due to its uniqueness .. It’s no exaggeration to say that kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world. Everyone knows that vegetables are super healthy on their own, especially leafy greens like napa cabbage, which makes up the majority of kimchi recipes. But once transformed by lactic acid bacteria through the miraculous process of fermentation, humble veggies become something even greater, as a result they are capable of improving and maintaining our health more than the vegetables in their original state.
Kimchi has ruled as super food due to its uniqueness because Kimchi is naturally cholesterol-free (if made vegan), low in fat and calories and packed full of fiber and a wide array of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Importantly, It also has all the nutritional advantages of ginger, garlic, red peppers, scallions and whatever other vegetables you choose—all wrapped into one.
Peculiar Substantial Meal
Furthermore, There are almost infinite potential health benefits that can come from eating kimchi on a regular basis. Most of these benefits have studies to back them. Other benefits, not discussed here since they’ve not been scientifically verified, have been passed down as sacred knowledge throughout many generations in Korea and beyond. Everyday, scientists are verifying more and more of what Koreans innately know about how good kimchi is, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an increasing amount of the literature validate this folk wisdom as the years go on.
Kimchi as Unusual Health Beneficial Food
Consequently, Kimchi has ruled them all as super food due to uniqueness and benefits—backed by scientific studies—that you can look forward to after making kimchi a regular part of your diet:
- Gut Health and Stronger Immunity
- Enhanced Digestion and Elimination
- Weight Loss and Body Contouring
- Cardiovascular Health
- Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Properties
- Greater Energy
- Clearer, Vibrant Skin
- Mood Enhancerly
- Increased Mental Clarity
- Healthy Blood Pressure
- Anti-Mutagenic and Cancer Prevention