By Kristy Podruchny
If you haven’t already heard of or tried kimchi, it is my pleasure to introduce this traditional Korean delight. Kimchi is comprised of fermented cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables. Ginger, garlic, and miso are commonly used in this delicious concoction as well.
Fermentation is the magic that turns these healthy foods into a powerhouse for your immune system. It’s time we embrace the consumption of healthy bacteria. Let’s change our mindset about fermented foods; our immune systems will thank us!
According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, “Kimchi possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, antiobesity, probiotic properties, cholesterol reduction, and antiaging properties.” These health benefits come from the ingredients themselves and lactic acid bacteria involved in fermentation. Kimchi offers many benefits to our gut microbiome. The fermented cabbage juice contains high levels of glutamine, which is the primary nutrition for GI cells. Your human cells are getting a boost while your gut flora is supplied with new colonies of healthy bacteria. As if that wasn’t enough, garlic and ginger are valued as super foods on their own. Kimchi also contains phytochemicals “which have been reported to possess various medicinal potentials such as antiobesity, anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-atherosclerotic properties” as stated in Frontiers in Microbiology. More phytochemicals are added when you include Chinese cabbage, onions, pepper and raddish into your jar.
Did you know that our bodies are only made of 43 percent human cells? Colonies of yeast and bacteria make up the rest. It’s easy to see how fermented foods are gold for your gut microbiome. Instead of taking a probiotic pill, try incorporating fermented foods like kimchi into your diet. You know your bacteria is alive because you can watch the fermentation process. The journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition noted that “Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been some of the most studied microorganisms. During fermentation, these bacteria synthesize vitamins and minerals, produce biologically active peptides with enzymes such as proteinase and peptidase, and remove some non-nutrients.” These peptides can lower blood pressure, and the enzymes help digestion. These are the ingredients for a healthy microbiome!
After everything you’ve learned about kimchi I bet you’ll be happy to learn how easy it is to make at home! Making fermented foods can sound intimidating, but it’s simple. Massage, salt, and soak cabbage. Mix it with carrots and any other vegetables you desire into a large glass jar along with ginger, garlic, miso and chili powder. Pack it all in and add enough brine to cover the mix. Gently place the lid on top and let it sit at room temperature for 24-72 hours. Make sure to check on your creation and push down any ingredients that have bubbled to the top. Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator. Enjoy kimchi at your pace–fermentation slows in the refrigerator and the bacteria lives on. Don’t hesitate to get inspired by online recipes! Consume and enjoy the benefits from your happy colony of healthy bacteria.
“Kimchi possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, antiobesity, probiotic properties, cholesterol reduction, and antiaging properties.”