It seems like every month a new superfood hits the market; from chia seeds to black pudding, now it seems that the unassuming Korean staple has joined the ever-growing list.
What is it?
Kimchi, or to put it simply, fermented cabbage can be found across Asian stores and tucked away on a shelf in most Korean homes. Kimchi is made up of cabbage leaves, salt, vinegar, garlic, pepper and chilli peppers and a bunch of other spices. It is left to bubble and ferment in tightly closed jars. Then, it is served as a side or dolloped into stews, noodles, and soups. It is especially amazing as an accompaniment to grilled cheese sandwiches.
If the sound of fermented foods makes you wrinkle your nose, then consider this – kimchi can change your life. It has been a mainstay in the Korean diet for centuries and only now are we starting to understand the benefits. It's loaded with vitamins, its good for the gut, and it can even contribute to the longevity of life. Let’s look at how kimchi can change your life…
You got to love lactobacilli. This happy bacteria can be found in probiotics, yoghurt and fermented foods – including kimchi. Good bacteria is a must for a healthy gut system, and healthy guts have a massive impact on your immunity and your overall quality of life. If you want to keep your guts in good balance, then add a pile of kimchi to the plate.
A staggering 70 percent of your immunity is found in your guts which means if you bring some kimchi and its good bacteria into your life then your immune system is set to fly. Alongside the lashings of good bacteria for a healthy balance, Kimchi is also high in vitamins, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.
All this talk about gut health and we have yet to mention that 90 percent of serotonin is produced down there. As we all know, serotonin is responsible for those happy uplifting moods that keep us feeling fine and productive throughout the day. If you want to keep some kind of high stability when it comes to your moods then maybe kimchi can help you achieve just that.
The rumours are true – kimchi is a stress buster. For those with climbing high blood pressure or rich cholesterol numbers, eating kimchi can have a positive effect on reducing the stress factor and bringing blood pressure down. This is because one of the key ingredients (garlic) contains lashings of allicin and selenium, both of which melt away those layers of cholesterol that build up in the body.
Cut Through Brain Fog
Ever have those days where you feel like your brain is wrapped in cotton wool? For those who suffer low concentration levels, slumps in energy, and head fog, then kimchi can cut through the storm. As we mentioned its great for its antioxidant-rich properties which in turn promote good gut health and reduce inflammation in the central nervous system – all things which lead to those low energy levels.
How to Eat It?
So you have stocked up on jars of kimchi and now what the hell do you do with it? Any Korean recipe will go glorious with kimchi and as mentioned it makes a great flavour bursting addition to stews, noodles and soups. But you don’t need to solely eat it Asian style. A little kimchi a day will go a long way when it comes to happy and harmonious health both for the body and the brain.
Kimchi and scrambled eggs, kimchi on grilled cheese, savoury kimchi pancakes, chicken salad sandwiches with kimchi, a dollop of kimchi on your favourite burger, kimchi quesadilla and even kimchi on pizza – the sky is certainly the limit for this tangy spiced superfood.
What are your thoughts on kimchi? Share in the comments.