Kimchi : It's a Gut Feeling

by Kiki Athanassoulias

Koreans are on to something, and the world has finally caught-on.

Koreans’ tend to have remarkable good health, noticeably great skin, and increased immunity to diseases. Is it because it is a country that scores high on the Happiness Index? Perhaps the truth is in the pudding…and in this case… a side-dish called Kimchi. And let me tell you, they have it as a side to just about EVERY dish.

In case you’re not up to date when it comes to worldly cuisine, let me bring you up to speed: Kimchi is a fermented vegetable mixture consisting mainly of Napa cabbage, complemented by other tasty ingredients like daikon radish, carrots, green onions, garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, and fish sauce. Its vegan version (i.e. without the fish sauce) has recently gained popularity - to no surprise, as folks obviously want in on this probiotic goodness too.

We may have all heard of probiotic yogurt (boring!)...

Well, welcome to the next best thing that will not only heal your gut, but also literally change your life for the better.

Let me walk you through exactly why you are NOT getting enough of this edible gold in your diet:

Your “insides” will thank you.

This stuff is literally the answer to your digestive prayers. Whether or not you are in need of something to make you “go”, the probiotics present in kimchi will help sort out your intestinal flora and help bring it back to a healthy state. This is all due to how kimchi is prepared - specifically, the process of fermentation, which creates Lactobacillus (healthy bacteria). Fermentation aside, cabbage itself is loaded with fibre, so the digestive benefits to Kimchi are abundant in more ways than one.

Say “No, thank you” to that pesky cold.

The ingredients in Kimchi (in particular the ginger and garlic) are actually known as “super protectors” that have the ability to strengthen your immune system.

Good for when you are NOT rocking oversized garments.

Sure, boxy attire made from squared patterns might be all the rage now, but for when you’re not hiding in draped fabrics, you might care relatively more about a little thing known as your weight. Well, as if Kimchi wasn’t fabulous enough - it is also your answer to shedding those extra pounds. A 2011 study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that Kimchi greatly impacted the weight and body fat of overweight and obese patients – who went on to lose both weight and fat. In addition, patients eating a diet containing kimchi experienced improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure, and the waist-hip ratio.

Let’s address the big stuff.

Kimchi has been confirmed as containing anti-cancer properties and claim is backed by wide-array of multiple scientific studies which found that the reason behind this is mainly due to its ingredients containing beneficial flavonoids and glucosinolates. Furthermore, kimchi has also been proven as a helpful diet addition for those with diabetes - a study done on patients with type-2 diabetes showed improved glucose tolerance and lower levels of fasting glucose (vs. patients not eating a kimchi-containing diet).

Glow from the inside out.

The micro biome in our gut governs many of our body’s key functions and is crucial to our overall health - as Dr. Raphael Kellman explains extensively in his famous book. A balanced microbiome supports mood and brain function – so if you want to feel better and be better…it all starts with your gut! Eating Kimchi = helping your gut.

So, in case it isn’t clear: Eat Kimchi. The rest will sort itself out. 


Kiki Athanassoulias is a Rotman Commerce graduate from Toronto, and a current fellow in the entrepreneurial non-profit organization, Venture for Canada. She is the Marketing Director at Meal Garden .  Between writing her blog and working, she has also setup a homemade Kimchi startup called"Waeguk Kimchi" that caters to local foodies. 

Picking up the Right Cabbage  (Photo Credit : Yasi Shafiei) 

Picking up the Right Cabbage  (Photo Credit : Yasi Shafiei) 

Sometimes just picking up the Kimchi also helps. 

Sometimes just picking up the Kimchi also helps.