• the nutritional profile of kimchi
• how it may support gut health
• how it may enhance nutritional value
• how it may support heart health
• how it may support blood sugar management
• may have useful anti-inflammatory properties
Nutritional profile of kimchi
An 100g serving (drained) provides:
- 24kcal / 102kj
- 1.1g protein
- 0.2g fat
- 3.9g carbohydrates
- 1.8g fibre
- 1.62g salt
Nutritional figures will vary depending on the ingredients used. An 80g serving contributes a portion towards your five-a-day.
What are the top health benefits of kimchi?
1. May support gut health
Including a variety of fermented foods in the diet may improve intestinal health and as a result support the immune system and your anti-inflammatory responses.
2. May enhance nutritional value
The process of fermentation, by mainly lactobacillus bacteria, may enhance the nutritional value of the fermented food. This is because the bacteria themselves synthesise vitamins and minerals and the process of fermentation deactivates some less favourable compounds, which we commonly refer to as anti-nutrients.
3. May support heart health
Compounds known as biologically active peptides, such as conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), are produced by the bacteria responsible for fermentation and may have a blood pressure lowering effect. Compounds in kimchi also appear to help keep blood vessels clear of the damaging effects of atherosclerosis.
4. May help blood sugar management
Studies suggest that consuming kimchi appears to have positive effects on body weight, body mass index (BMI) and glucose management. How exactly eating fermented kimchi supports these beneficial effects is not fully understood, and more research is needed to understand the mechanics involved.
5. May reduce inflammation
Is kimchi safe for everyone to eat?
Generally, kimchi is safe for most people unless you have a specific allergy to any of the ingredients. It may also cause some unpleasant side effects such as gas and bloating if you’re not used to fermented or high-fibre food.
Those with an intolerance to histamine may be best to minimise their consumption of fermented foods and people following a low-sodium (salt) diet may also need to be mindful that kimchi may contain high levels.
Overall, is kimchi good for you?
Offering a good balance of spice and sour, kimchi makes a tasty addition to the diet as long as you are not allergic to any of the ingredients or suffer from a histamine intolerance. If you don’t make your own kimchi check the food label for salt content, as some products may contain as much as 3% salt. Look for unpasteurised varieties as pasteurisation kills off beneficial bacteria.
Use up your jar of kimchi:
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Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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