Kimchi Benefits Include Weight Loss, Lowering Blood Pressure, and More

Studies have reported numerous kimchi benefits.

kimchi benefits

Kimchi benefits can help obese people decrease body weight, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and percentage of body fat.

© Foodio | Dreamstime.com

Kimchi is a nutritious vegetable probiotic food

Kimchi is a low-calorie, low-fat, nutrient-dense source of vitamins (especially vitamin C and beta-carotene), minerals, fiber, important phytochemicals (including beta-sitosterol, sulfur compounds, and capsaicin), and, perhaps most importantly, numerous probiotic strains (including Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis).[1] Researchers have compared kimchi to yogurt, stating that kimchi can be considered a vegetable probiotic food, while yogurt is a health-promoting dairy probiotic food.[1]

Kimchi for weight loss

Studies have reported numerous health benefits of kimchi and other fermented vegetables. For instance, eating kimchi can help obese people decrease body weight, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and percentage of body fat.[2] 

Eat Right, Starting Now!

Download this expert FREE guide, Complete Nutrition: Low-carb diet, high-protein foods, healthy meal plans, how to use a calorie counter, and more.

Create healthy meal plans and discover the Superfoods that can transform your plate into a passport to better health.

Kimchi nutritional benefits also improve a number of metabolic factors associated with being overweight that increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes: fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.[2] In diabetic rats, kimchi improves insulin function and lowers average blood glucose levels.[3] In healthy young people, kimchi helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.[4]

Other kimchi health benefits

Besides its beneficial effects on weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, health benefits of kimchi that have been reported in the scientific literature include:

  • Increased antioxidant status [4]
  • Protection from asthma [5]
  • Anti-aging properties [1,6]
  • Anti-cancer benefits [1,7]
  • Protection from atherosclerosis [8]
  • Anti-constipation effects [1]
  • Colon health promotion [1]
  • Brain health promotion [1]
  • Skin health promotion [1]

Immune stimulating effects of kimchi need further study

One of the other possible benefits of eating kimchi is immune system stimulation, potentially decreasing the risk of viral infections such as the flu. In animals, kimchi stimulates the growth of immune cells such as spleen cells, bone marrow cells, thymus cells, and B cells.[9] The probiotic strain lactobacillus plantarum isolated from kimchi increases the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity, in mice.[9]

Only one human study, which was small and of short duration (4 weeks), has examined the immune effects of kimchi in humans.[9] Results did not show any clear effects of kimchi on the immune systems of healthy college students. Further studies that are larger and of longer duration are needed to determine the immune enhancing effects of kimchi.

The best kimchi for health

There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi, each with varying types of fermented vegetables, seasonings, and cooking methods. Tastes range from bland to spicy. Good kimchi is often described as having a balanced sour, salty, and spicy flavor and has a crunchy texture. Experiment to find brands and varieties that suit your taste, but make sure you’re purchasing fermented kimchi, as non-fermented varieties are also available. Also, avoid kimchi that contains MSG, excessive amounts of sodium, and/or preservatives. There are many recipes to make you own, like this one.

The benefits of eating kimchi daily can vary from person to person. Share your experience on the benefits of kimchi in the comments section below.

Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated.


[1] J Med Food. 2014 Jan;17(1):6-20.

[2] Nutr Res. 2011 Jun;31(6):436-43.

[3] J Med Food. 2009 Apr;12(2):292-7.

[4] J Med Food. 2013 Mar;16(3):223-9.

[5] J Med Food. 2014 Jan;17(1):172-178.

[6] J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 2002;31:117–123.

[7] J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 1995;24:169–182.

[8] J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55:10486–10492.

[9] Clin Nutr Res. Jul 2014; 3(2): 98–105.

Anchor
Comments
  • Thanks Dr. Kathleen for identifying the many health benefits of kimchi. It is one of those “fermented foods” which is super nutritious because of the beneficial live cultures it places in your gut.

  • Kimchi is indeed delicious. I never knew that it was so beneficial to one’s health.

  • cynthia M.

    My son has been studying the benefits of fermented foods as well and I know our family traditionally craves them, but the kimchi, something I forgot about after using some chopped up kimchi to make awesome tasting egg rolls, will definately get added to my cupboard staples now. Thanks for conveniently linking the recipe to this article.

  • How much Kimchi should I eat in a day? I have severe arthritis.

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!

Send this to friend

Hi,
I thought you might be interested in this article on http://universityhealthnews.com: Kimchi Benefits Include Weight Loss, Lowering Blood Pressure, and More

-- Read the story at http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/11-amazing-health-benefits-of-kimchi-fermented-vegetables/