Kimchi is a traditional Korean food that many people love to eat at almost every meal. The food is comprised of seasoned vegetables and salt that can be taken fresh, fermented, or as a salad. The food can be made in so many ways, with the most common being the Kimchi made of cabbage.
Spicy Kimchi cabbage is widely consumed in Korea, but other types of kimchi can be made from the different vegetables available. The food is the main ingredient in most Korean food and can be consumed with a variety of other foods with ease.
This food can be made with any vegetable of your choice and seasoned with ginger, garlic, chili powder, jeotgal, and scallions. In the old days, Koreans used to store Kimchi under the ground to preserve it for months, but that has changed today with technology and the use of refrigerators.
The History Of Kimchi
The history of these foods dates back to 37 BC, when fermented foods were widely used. There are records of Chinese people referring to the skills of the Koreans in making fermented foods.
Further historical records point to how jars were used to ferment vegetables in Korea. While some of the early records do not mention garlic or chili powder, they go to show kimchi foods were long used since the days of our ancestry.
This dish is widely used in both North and South Korea. It has been shown to be important for the Korean soldiers, giving them morale. Even the famous Korean astronaut Yi Johnson went with it to space.
What Are The Main Ingredients Of Kimchi?
The different varieties of kimchi are determined by the vegetables used to make them. The added ingredients also help determine the flavor of kimchi.
Here are the main ingredients if you want to try kimchi for yourself:
Vegetable is the main course here, and one can choose from the different options available in the market. The commonly used vegetables are cabbage and radishes.
However, you can also try vegetables like celery, burdock root, balloon flower root, garlic aster, cucumber, eggplant, mustard greens, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potato vines, and much more.
For the initial salting of the vegetables, use the Korean sea salt that is known to have a large grain size and low sodium content. This salt is used to develop flavor in the fermented foods. However, apart from the salt, you can use other seasonings like chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and many more.
Microorganisms Present In Kimchi
There are various microorganisms present in kimchi, among them being Bacillus mycoides, Lactobacillus Brevis, B. subtilis, and much more. These are good bacteria that help with digestion.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kimchi?
This spicy fermented food is referred to by most people as Korea’s superfood, and one that comes with a lot of health benefits. The food is so common in Korea that the locals refer to it as cheese. Here are some of the top health benefits of the food.
1. Contains Healthy Bacteria And Probiotics
Kimchi is fermented in the same way as yogurt, and this gives a wide variety of healthy bacteria and probiotics that help with digestion. This is one of the best foods to help promote healthy digestion. The presence of lactobacillus helps maintain a healthy flora in the body.
The bacteria and probiotics help clean the intestines and promote greater assimilation of the nutrients. The fiber present in kimchi also aids in helping stabilize the bowel movements. This prevents constipation in such individuals.
2. Lowers The Levels Of Cholesterol
Kimchi is a good food for those individuals suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in their blood. The food helps reduce the amount of cholesterol in blood through the compounds allicin and selenium, which are highly present in garlic. Remember, we mentioned garlic in preparation of kimchi. The eminent compound allicin will help decrease the cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases.
Selenium further builds on the benefit of allicin by building a plaque around the arteries and preventing blockage of the arteries. Studies have shown how good fermented kimchi is in lowering the amount of cholesterol and concentrations of blood glucose.
3. The Amazing Antioxidant Properties
The different varieties of kimchi have been found to be rich in powerful antioxidants which come with a ton of health benefits. The antioxidants help prevent the oxidative damage in the body which can even help prevent aging.
The antioxidants give your body a shield from the damage caused by free oxygen radicals. They help prevent cell oxidation, making you carefree and relaxed. They are great at reducing the rate at which our skin ages.
4. Aids In The Loss Of Weight
Kimchi foods are not high in calories, with most of them known to aid with carbohydrate metabolism. 150 grams of kimchi is known to contain just 40 calories, although this can vary depending on the variety chosen. The high fiber amount in Kimchi will have you feeling satisfied for a long time, taking away the need to eat too often. By controlling your appetite, you’re more able to control your weight gain.
The chili peppers in kimchi contain capsaicin, which is known to promote the rate of metabolism in people. This makes you spend the excess energy and prevent the storage of fats, aiding in weight loss.
5. Helps Boost The Immune System
The high amount of phenolic compounds and flavonoids are known to help boost the body’s immune system. They help fight common infections like cold and flu symptoms. Studies have shown that the food helps make the immune cells more active and the antibiotics to be in greater amounts.
6. Prevents Cancer Cases
Kimchi has been shown to aid in the prevention of various forms of cancers. A study done on Kimchi has shown the food contains anti-cancer properties. A good example is a cabbage which contains flavonoids.
These flavonoids are known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Bio-chemicals in this food like sulfide and isocyanate have been shown to help detoxify the heavy metals found in the liver, kidneys, and small intestine, something that helps fight stomach cancer.
7. Makes You Have Beautiful, Radiant Skin
Kimchi does not just make you healthy from the inside alone but also brings out the great looks in you. It makes your skin not only look young but also more radiant due to its abilities to prevent skin again. This is made possible through the selenium found in the cabbages.
Selenium works wonders in keeping your skin and hair healthy at all times. Selenium constitutes part of glutathione, a booster in reconstituting vitamin C, which is also known for making the skin beautiful.
8. Helps Promote Clear Vision
KImchi has good amounts of vitamin A, which helps promote good vision in people. Vitamin A is not just good at promoting vision, but it is also a good antioxidant that clears free radicals in the body and helps with a healthy body development.
Possible Side Effects Of Kimchi
There are few known side effects of kimchi, but recent studies are showing high amounts of kimchi might not be healthy for you. This is due to the high salt content in this food.
The high salt levels combined with red pepper have been shown to form a carcinogen, causing the food to be associated with cancer cases, something that the food should be fighting. However, more studies are needed to confirm this as this food has been in use for centuries with no serious side effects in people.
The top products of kimchi in the market include:
- Mamao’s Premium Kimchi
- Mother In-Law’s Kimchi
- Red Napa Cabbage Kimchi By Lucky Food Seoul Spicy
- Kimchi Kooks Classic Kimchi
- Sinto Gourmet Spicy Red Napa Cabbage Kimchi
- Sunja’s Oriental Foods Medium Spicy Cabbage Kimchi
Kimchi Review Summary
Kimchi seems a healthy choice of foods with several health benefits and one you ought to try. The food is filled with great nutrients and is pretty easy to prepare.