Everything You Need to Know about Kimchi, the Korean Superfood

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Kimchi is a traditional mix of fermented vegetables that is mainstay of Korean cuisine. It’s also earned new popularity in the United States, and for good reason. It’s flavorful, delectably spicy, versatile, low in fat, and high in nutrition. What’s more, the health benefits of kimchi are surprising and powerful. Kimchi is extremely low in calories, fat but quite nutrient dense.  Kimchi has been found to contain a lot of vitamin C and beta-carotene.  A serving of kimchi also contains many necessary minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Read on to discover some of what this time-honored superfood has to offer.

Incredible Health Benefits of Kimchi:

A) Produces radiant skin and shiny hair

Kimchi doesn’t just make your inner beauty shine through-it makes your outer appearance appear excellent as well. Because the selenium found in garlic in kimchi keeps your skin and hair healthy, eating kimchi helps you prevent wrinkles in the long run. Also, selenium is a relevant part of glutathione, a booster that reconstitutes vitamin C and preserves it, thereby making it stronger and more effective in the body.

B) Improves gut health

The health benefits of kimchi extend to the gastrointestinal tract. You probably know that lacto-fermented foods are full of probiotics, or good bacteria and yeasts. These  friendly microorganisms can play an integral role in healthy digestion, the restoration of healthy gut flora, and a strong immune system. In fact, fermented foods like kimchi are crucial for overall gut health.

Your immune system is closely related to your gut health. A strong microbiota can help to lessen the permeability of your intestinal lining, keeping pathogens out and bolstering you against infections. Probiotics can also help you to get better faster if you do happen to find yourself ill. Supporting your gut health with kimchi may just pay off with a stronger immune system as well.

C) Anti-aging properties

Another valuable benefit provided by kimchi attributed to the presence of antioxidants and vitamin C-is its anti-aging qualities. It helps in regulating and attenuating inflammation that speeds up the aging process.

D) Lowers cholesterol

Among  the  many  benefits  of  kimchi  is  its  ability  to  help  lower  cholesterol. If  you’re suffering from high blood pressure or a high cholesterol amount in your blood, don’t fret. The  garlic  found  in  kimchi  contains  allicin and  selenium – both of which are helpful in decreasing  the  cholesterol  reserves  of  the  body. In addition, these  substances  also indirectly help you prevent chances of developing stroke or other cardiovascular diseases of any kind, due to its prevention of plaque build-up in the walls of your arteries.

E) Promotes weight loss

150 grams of kimchi contains only 40 calories. But it’s not limited to this – kimchi helps carbohydrate metabolism to aid you in losing weight. Additionally, the capsaicin found in chili peppers in this Korean dish boosts your metabolism and makes you use the excess energy in your body, thereby increasing weight loss.

F) Reduces inflammation 

The ability to reduce inflammation is yet another of kimchi’s health benefits. The particular bacteria strains in kimchi have anti-inflammatory effects. This helps to alleviate colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

G) Boosts Immune System

The multi-nutrient packed kimchi is rich in a range of flavonoids and phenolic components. The variety of ingredients involved in the preparation of kimchi-including ginger, garlic, and peppers are thought to be super protectors on the immune system. They are thought to help in fighting infections and are valuable in curing cold and flu symptoms.

How to Prepare Kimchi?

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of napa cabbage
  • 4 medium scallions trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1-5 tbsp of red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 5-6 cloves grated garlic
  • 1/4 cup of iodized salt
  • Filtered water (as desired)

Instructions:

  • To make kimchi, first, cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters, through the stem. From each of the pieces then cut the cores. Ensure that you cut each quarter cross wise to strips that are not less than 2-inch in width.
  • In a large bowl, place the cabbage and sprinkle salt all over it. Use your hands to mix the salt properly until it begins to soften a bit. Now, add enough water to it until the cabbage is properly covered. Place a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy. Allow it to stand like that for one or two hours.
  • Ensure that the cabbage is rinsed properly in cold water at least three times. Keep it aside to drain it in a colander for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, start to prepare the spice paste.
  • To make the spice paste, first, properly rinse and dry the bowl you will use for salting. Then add the sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, ginger, garlic or water and stir into a smooth paste. To it, add the red pepper/chili flakes and stir properly. If you want it mild, add just a tablespoon of it. If you want it to be spicy, add 5 tablespoons of it. Once ready, keep it aside until the cabbage is ready.
  • Once the cabbage is ready, gently squeeze out any water, if remaining, from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. To this add the scallions and mix well.
  • Gently work the paste using your hands and let it seep into the vegetables until it is properly coated.
  • Once ready, take a 1-quart jar and pack the kimchi in it. Press it down until the liquid that comes out of the kimchi rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least an inch of space on the top. Seal the jar, once done.
  • Allow the jar to stand at cool room temperature, far away from direct sunlight, for anywhere between 1 and 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine (which is the liquid of the kimchi) may seep out of the lid.
  • Keep checking the kimchi atleast once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon. This way the vegetables will be submerged under the brine. Allow it to ferment properly and keep checking the taste from time to time. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough, put it in a jar inside the refrigerator. Either you eat it right away, or keep it inside an airtight container inside the refrigerator for another week or two.

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