© Foodio | Dreamstime.com
If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine, you might already be familiar with kimchi, a mixture of salted and fermented vegetables, because it has been a staple for centuries. But if it’s your first time reading about it, you’ll be glad to discover that kimchi may benefit not only those at risk of heart disease and diabetes, but also those looking to lose weight, improve digestion, promote skin health, and so much more.
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). Its probiotic properties are comparable to yogurt.
Kimchi Benefits for Weight Loss
Studies have reported numerous health benefits of kimchi and other fermented vegetables. For instance, eating kimchi may help obese people decrease body weight, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and percentage of body fat.
Consuming kimchi may also improve several metabolic factors associated with being overweight that increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes: fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In healthy young people, kimchi helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
Other Kimchi Benefits
Besides its effect on weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, kimchi has been studied for its potential benefits, including:
- Increased antioxidant status 
- Protection from asthma 
- Anti-aging properties [1,6]
- Anti-cancer benefits [1,7]
- Protection from atherosclerosis 
- Anti-constipation effects 
- Colon health promotion 
- Brain health promotion 
- Skin health promotion 
Utilizing Kimchi Benefits
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 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.
Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated.
 J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 2002;31:117–123.
 J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 1995;24:169–182.