Kimchi: Benefits and side effects


Kimchi is one of the popular side dishes of Korea. It is good for your gut and overall well-being. Know more about the health benefits of kimchi.

People love Korean cuisine for a variety of reasons, but one of the most popular ones is kimchi, which has a rich flavour and crisp texture. Kimchi is a popular and delicious side dish that is commonly consumed in Korea. Not only it’s incredibly tasty, but it also offers many health benefits. No wonder why it has become increasingly popular across the globe. This traditional Korean dish is made of fermented vegetables like green onions, cabbage, and radish, along with other ingredients such as sugar, salt, onions, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. Since some of these vegetables are seasonal, Koreans preserve their food so that they can have access to kimchi all year round. The fermentation process gives kimchi its distinct aroma and taste, and it is also beneficial for your health. Read on to know the health benefits of kimchi.

What are the benefits of consuming kimchi?

Kimchi contains various vitamins like A, B, and C, as well as minerals like iron and calcium, contributing to overall nutritional value. So, the traditional Korean fermented dish offers several health benefits.

Kimchi in a bowl
Kimchi can help in digestion. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

1. Helps in digestion

Kimchi is rich in beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that promotes a healthy gut microbiome, aiding digestion and supporting the immune system, says
nutritionist Deepti Khatuja.

2. Aids weight loss

Kimchi is typically low in calories, making it a healthy addition to meals for those watching their calorie intake. Consuming fermented foods like kimchi may be associated with weight management and a reduced risk of obesity.

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3. Combats inflammation

The ingredients in kimchi, such as garlic, ginger, and chili peppers, are rich in antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

4. Fermentation benefits

The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients, making them more easily absorbed by the body.

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Remember, while kimchi has numerous health benefits, moderation is key due to its high sodium content, says the expert.

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Can you eat kimchi every day?

Consuming kimchi daily is generally considered safe for most people, but moderation is key to avoiding excessive salt intake and potential digestive issues.

What are the side effects of kimchi?

Kimchi has various health benefits, but it may have some side effects for certain individuals.

1. High sodium content

Kimchi is often high in sodium, which can contribute to elevated blood pressure. Individuals, especially those with hypertension, should consume it in moderation.

2. Spicy ingredients

The spicy nature of kimchi may not be suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs or those who experience acid reflux, says Khatuja.

3. Fermentation gas

Some people may experience bloating or gas due to the fermentation process that produces gases like carbon dioxide. This can be discomforting for individuals with digestive issues.

4. Histamine content

Fermented foods like kimchi contain histamine, which might trigger allergic reactions in some individuals or exacerbate symptoms in those with histamine intolerance.

5. Potential allergens

Ingredients like shellfish or fish sauce used in some kimchi recipes may pose allergen risks for individuals with specific allergies.

Kimchi may be good for your skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Does kimchi improve skin?

Antioxidants in kimchi may contribute to improved skin health, although more research is needed to establish a direct link, says the expert.

As with any food, it’s important to be mindful of individual sensitivities and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns or pre-existing health conditions.


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