Kimchi, the Korean Superfood

Written by Jack Peacock
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

How could anything containing cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, onion and ginger not be considered a healthy choice? Those are some of Kimchi’s star ingredients and not only do they offer enormous health benefits on their own but when mixed together and fermented as they are in Kimchi they make this food into what many consider to be worthy of the title superfood.

The fermentation process uses probiotics like lactobacilli which have been found to strengthen the immune system, decrease inflammation as well as help the body keep a healthy digestive system. Kimchi also has been known to boast antioxidant, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic benefits. Vitamin C, B vitamins, Beta- carotene, calcium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber are also a part of what makes this dish a powerful health promoter.

One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food has found a correlation between asthma sufferers and their kimchi intake using data from the fourth and fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It suggested that there’s an increased risk of asthma associated with low intake of the nutrients that Kimchi provides as one of the staples in the Korean diet.

kimchi in a meal

Image by Jack Peacock

Kimchi, like most fermented foods, comes with an odor that might take some getting used to. It is usually served as a side dish or incorporated into a main dish such as Kimchi fried rice. The taste is that of a refreshing salad and can be spicy. Overall, Kimchi is deliciously different and a great addition to any diet intended to promote health and longevity.





Boweden, J. (2007). The 150 healthiest foods on earth. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Hyesook Kim, Se-Young Oh, Myung-Hee Kang, Ki-Nam Kim, Yuri Kim, Namsoo Chang (2007-2011) Association Between Kimchi Intake and Asthma in Korean Adults: The Fourth and Fifth Korea National Healthand Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17, 172-178.

Kun-Young Park, Ji-Kang Jeong, Young-Eun Lee, James W. Daily III (2014) Health Benefits of Kimchi (Korean Fermented Vegetables) as a Probiotic Food. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17, 6-20.

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