Some fascinating and encouraging news came out recently that kimchi, the fermented wonder food, can lower blood triglyceride level by up to 33%. Result!
Blood triglycerides are responsible for building up LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) and breaking down HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”). So lower is definitely better.
The study that discovered this revelation also suggests that kimchi intake can lead to considerably lower levels of cytokines (inflammatory proteins) in the body, can lower total blood cholesterol, and can help sustain healthy liver function.
The research was sponsored by the World Institute of Kimchi in Seoul, a Korean government-funded research institute established to perform research and development into the wonderful world of kimchi - a tasty place to work, we’re sure.
So what is Kimchi, anyway?
Kimchi is a yummy salted food made from fermented vegetables - primarily consisting of cabbage and other flavoursome ingredients. Commonly served as a side dish or appetiser, it’s made in hundreds of varieties and is a great complement to many different meals. Or you can just stick a fork in the jar when you’re peckish.
(Our own original recipe consists of cabbage, carrots, radish, onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper and sea salt - all organic, all natural!)
It’s widely recognised as South Korea’s national dish and is famous for containing all kinds of healthy goodness - vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics (which might explain why they have one of the longest life expectancies in the world). It’s said that the average adult Korean consumes more than 18 kilograms of kimchi every year (we can only hope this trend grows over here, too), and it plays a significant part in Korea’s economic throughput. Some Koreans even have a special fridge, just for their kimchi!
How does kimchi help your gut?
Kimchi is known as one of the healthiest foods in the world, and rightly so. It contains probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that reproduce and develop during the fermentation process. This is where naturally-occurring yeasts and bacteria break down the carbohydrates in vegetables to produce lactic acid and essential vitamins - partly contributing to the delicious tangy taste.
Fermentation improves the shelf-life of food, and that of the people that eat it: fermented foods have been linked to such benefits as weight loss, improved digestion, and a stronger immune system.
Alongside the probiotic goodness, most varieties of kimchi contain onions, garlic and chilli, contributing to its spicy flavour - each of which have their own unique health benefits.
All that goodness in your gut can in fact do wonders for your mental health, too - as we wrote about in a previous blog - due to the enteric nervous system, a sort of extension of your brain that lives in your belly. Your ‘second brain’ is, to some extent, responsible for how you feel, and exchanges messages with the main brain up in your skull. Which is why it’s so important to keep it happy by feeding it healthy things.
How do you eat kimchi?
Well of course, our first recommendation would be to head over to our online shop.
We sell jars of our own delicious Kimchi, with an original flavour, alongside a new turmeric and black pepper variety (the amazing health benefits of turmeric will have to wait for another blog post).
As a side dish, it’s traditionally served with other dishes and eaten with rice. As a great accompaniment to many savoury dishes, it can be put alongside most meats, or put into stews, pancakes and soups, just don’t heat it too much or you’ll destroy some of the goodness. Best of all, our version of kimchi is perfectly happy as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet, too.
There’s an abundance of ways to eat kimchi:
- Mixed into scrambled eggs
- In tacos, burritos and quesadillas
- On top of a pizza
- Mixed in an udon noodle stir-fry
- In a slow-cooked winter vegetable stew
You can even put it on toast. Try including a large helping of mashed avocado first - delicious!
It’s a versatile food that’ll bring a zing to any dish you pair it with. A superfood with a Country of superfans backing it. Thankfully, it’s available now - why not give it a go?