Kimchi is the latest fashionable ferment which has the health world talking. In this article, we’ll uncover just how good for you this spicy Korean cabbage dish really is.
We’ll explain what kimchi is, investigate its health benefits, share its nutritional profile, and advise you on how to get more kimchi in your diet.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage dish, known for its high probiotic content.1 However, there’s a massive variance between individual kimchi recipes. Cabbage is included in most varieties of kimchi, and other vegetables including radish, carrot, and onion are frequently used.
Cabbage and other vegetables are typically flavoured with spices, including chilli, or even fish sauce, and left to ferment in a jar for 8 to 14 days.
Health benefits of kimchi
Kimchi is linked to a wide variety of health benefits, including:
- Probiotic properties. Fermented foods, like kimchi, increase the volume of probiotics (good bacteria) present in the gut2
- Anti-ageing properties. Evidence suggests that kimchi’s is effective at slowing the ageing process3
- Reduced risk of yeast infections. Kimchi has antimicrobial properties that can inhibit candida (the fungus that causes infection) developing4
Nutritional benefits of kimchi
As there are so many different varieties of kimchi, it’s difficult to give an exact nutritional profile of this tasty condiment.
This is the average nutritional profile of a 100mg portion of kimchi made from cabbage:5
- 6 mcg of vitamin K; 36% of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin K promotes normal blood clotting and is also connected with teeth and bone health6
- 213 mg of vitamin B6; 16% of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin B6 helps the body capture and use the energy from proteins and carbohydrates
- 210 mg of riboflavin; 16% of your daily recommended intake. Riboflavin helps maintain the health of the eyes, skin and nervous system
Kimchi contains plenty of other minerals, including calcium, copper, magnesium and iron.
What to eat with kimchi
In Korean cuisines, Kimchi is typically served as a condiment at the side of rice dishes or stirred into curries or stews. Pork is a favoured partner for kimchi; its saltiness is the perfect accompaniment to kimchi’s tartness and tang.
Kimchi’s spiciness beautifully contrasts with the creaminess of some cheeses too. Try it with some cheese on toast.
Or try our two recipes using kimchi:
How to include more kimchi in your diet
Take inspiration from traditional Korean cooking and stir Kimchi into a soup or stew for an added health-kick. Add a spoonful to grain bowls to enjoy the health benefits, without depleting kimchi’s nutrient content by cooking.
Last updated: 22 January 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.