Kimchi is a Korean recipe for Chinese cabbage fermented with chili and other ingredients. It is a very healthy super food thanks to the action of live bacteria, the fiber and the nutrients it contains.
It is becoming easier to find kimchi in the refrigerators of organic stores and in Asian supermarkets. Fermented plant foods such as kimchi contribute to the good health of the intestine and the body in general thanks to their content of live bacteria.
Almost every culture has a recipe for fermented foods that has been passed down from generation to generation. Yogurt is the best known fermented food in Spain. In Korea, kimchi is the national food and is served as a garnish with most meals.
The staple foods for kimchi are Chinese cabbage (Pekingese Brassica, “baechu“ in Korean) and radish, but some traditional recipes also use cucumber, onion, and carrot as main vegetables. It can also contain chili powder, garlic, salt and fermented fish sauce (vegetarian kimchee obviously do without this ingredient).
In addition to the ingredients, the temperature and the duration of the fermentation contribute to the more or less intense flavor of the finished recipe. Its flavor is complex and is dominated by bitter and spicy notes.
WHY PROBIOTIC FOODS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
Foods rich in beneficial bacteria act as probiotics. Using a probiotic supplement or taking fermented foods has become increasingly popular as evidence grows that digestive bacteria have a beneficial effect on the bacterial communities (micro biota) that reside in the gut.
Kimchi production is achieved by fermenting vegetables with lactic acid bacteria, the same bacteria that are used in the fermentation of dairy products (lactobacilli and bifid bacteria).
KIMCHI BACTERIA PREVENT LEAKY GUT
A healthy intestinal micro biota is necessary for the mucous membranes of the intestinal walls to fulfill their main function, which is to allow nutrients to pass into the bloodstream, but prevent the passage of inflammatory, toxic, carcinogenic or allergenic agents. In addition, the micro biota collaborates in the assimilation and production of nutrients and in the functioning of the immune system.
When the bacteria in the intestine are out of balance, the permeability of the mucosa that lines the intestinal walls increases. This problem is known as “intestinal hyper permeability,” which is characteristic of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Cohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Kimchi plays two roles in protecting gut health.
- First, it is abundant in bacteria that increase the number and varietyof populations that make up the micro biota.
- Second, kimchi is also high in insoluble prebiotic fiber,which is the preferred source of nutrition for beneficial microorganisms. Foods that combine probiotics and prebiotics can be called symbiotic.
PRODUCE CHAIN FATTY ACIDS WITH ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES
Beneficial gut bacteria produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that act as messengers. Among other things, they reduce the presence of oxygen in the intestine, which limits the growth of pathogenic bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and salmonella, but not the beneficial ones.
In addition, SCFAs reduce inflammation and improve the functioning of the intestinal tract, protecting against the development of diseases, including colon cancer.
THEY PREVENT MENTAL AND METABOLIC DISEASES
Kimchi bacteria and others, through SCFA, could prevent the development of learning disabilities, diabetes, obesity, and Parkinson’s disease.
Kimchi protects against the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria related to autoimmune and metabolic disorders, intestinal diseases, and neuron-inflammatory diseases. In other words, it can reduce the symptoms of disorders whose symptoms occur far from the gut.
GUT HEALTH CAN IMPROVE SLEEP AND SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Researchers have found that there is a two-way link between the gut and the sleep process. The gut micro biota not only affects the digestive, metabolic and immune functions of the host, but also regulates sleep and mental states through the micro biota-gut-brain axis.
Studies indicate that digestive bacteria and genes that regulate circadian rhythms, including wake-sleep rhythms, can interact. This explains why people with a greater diversity of bacteria and a preponderance of certain populations have better sleep.
IT IS A RECIPE VERY RICH IN NUTRIENTS
In addition to all the benefits associated with probiotics, kimchi is also rich in nutrients. Provides beta-carotene (provitamin A) and vitamin C in abundance. Both nutrients are highly antioxidant and promote the good condition of all body tissues.
It also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant polyphenols, which especially benefit the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that kimchi can help balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
DO YOU DARE TO MAKE KIMCHI AT HOME?
It’s surprisingly easy to make your own kimchi at home, allowing you to modify the recipe to suit your taste and control the quality of the ingredients. We provide you with a couple of recipes:
- Three recipes with kimchi
- Vegan kimchi with apple