Benefits of fermented foods
Growing up Korean-American, kimchi was ubiquitous in our household. We even had it with our Thanksgiving dinner. But I was embarrassed to eat it anywhere outside my house, because of the smell. What many people don’t know is that this stinky cabbage is really good for you.
Kimchi is primarily fermented cabbage, with regional variations on the recipe typically including radish, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, dropwort, shrimp/squid, chilies, and other vegetables and spices. It’s high in fiber, high in vitamins A, B, and C, and it is a probiotic food.
Kimchi contains lactobacillius, the same “good” bacteria found in yogurt and kefir which helps prevent yeast infections and various gut-related ailments. What kimchi has on these other foods is its high fiber content. Lactobacilli feed on fiber, and eating probiotics and lots of fiber will help your body sustain a healthy gut biome of good bacteria to aid in digestion and disease prevention. Recent studies have also suggested that fermented cabbage may help prevent cancer!
Kimchi is definitely an acquired taste, but you don’t need to eat it plain to reap the benefits. It can be mixed into scrambled eggs, stir fried with rice/veggies/meat, put in soup, cooked in a savory pancake, and so much more! I’ve even seen some trendy street food trucks adding it to fries and tacos. Jal meokgesseumnida!