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The Secret to a Healthy Stomach

February 25, 2014

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I first learned about kimchi during an episode of the television show House Hunters International. The episode featured a couple who was exploring three different housing options in Korea. Although each house differed in size, style, and location, there was one thing they all had in common – two refrigerators!

After a little research, I learned that many households in Korea have two refrigerators, one designed specifically to store kimchi, a traditional fermented vegetable dish. 

Kimchi is a combination of various vegetables such as cabbage, daikon, radishes, and cucumbers tossed with spices and sauces like garlic, ginger, chili pepper, salt, sugar, and fish sauce, and then fermented, giving the dish its signature acidic and spicy flavor.

Fermentation, defined as the process of breaking down into simpler components, makes foods easier to digest. The process involves salting food  in order to protect it from bacteria and storing in a cool place with minimal oxygen. Since the process doesn't involve heat, fermented foods also retain enzymes, vitamins, and other important nutrients that are often destroyed by food processing. 

A healthy staple in the Korean diet for over 4,000 years, kimchi is growing increasingly popular worldwide for its plethora of health benefits.

Healthy bacteria for your gut. Best known for its abundance of healthy bacteria, kimchi aids digestion, helps prevent yeast infections, and can even defer the growth of cancer. Proponents also believe that the probiotics in kimchi may be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, depression, and all sorts of stomach issues.

Loaded with vitamins and minerals. This fermented favorite is packed with vitamins A, B, and C, as well as iron, calcium, and selenium, which are known to help prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes, support muscle growth, and improve your immune system.

May help with weight loss. Kimchi has a high amount of lactobacillus which is a good bacteria that can help to regulate appetite by lowering blood sugar levels. Additionally, kimchi’s high fiber content is said to help you feel less hungry and avoid overindulging during meals.

Just like with many great things, it’s important to keep moderation in mind when consuming kimchi. Although it offers a ton of extraordinary health benefits, too much of this fermented food could lead to gastric issues, as well as high blood pressure due to its high salt quantity. The best practice is to eat a small amount of kimchi before a meal, add it to soups or rice, or as a sandwich topping.

Interested in making your own kimchi? Learn how here!

What are your thoughts on this tasty fermented food?