Kimchi is arguably the most famous food in Korea, and its popularity in the United States has surged in recent years as well. What is it about kimchi that attracts so many people? There are plenty of reasons to enjoy this spicy pickled cabbage dish, and here are just a few we thought were worth mentioning.
#1. It provides some amazing health benefits
Kimchi is often thought of as a “superfood” because it is rich in antioxidants. The fermentation process used to make kimchi makes it very high in lactobacilli bacteria, which are known to improve gut function. Loaded with vitamins A and C, it supports the immune system, and has been said to cure chickens afflicted with bird flu. Kimchi has even been attributed to a reduction in allergies, asthma, inflammation, and mental health disorders.
#2. Kimchi provides incredible weight loss benefits
A 150 gram serving of kimchi is very filling, yet contains a mere 40 calories. At the same time, its chili peppers and other spices help kick your metabolism into high gear so you can burn unwanted fat. Kimchi also assists with carbohydrate metabolism, which is important for weight loss because too many stored carbohydrates can quickly turn into fat. The fact that Koreans consume so much kimchi could be one reason why obesity is not a problem in that country.
#3. There are more than 300 different varieties
Many Koreans each kimchi every day, and some will even consume it at every meal. The reason they are able to do so without growing tired of it is because there are more than 300 different varieties. For example, baek or white kimchi uses milder ingredients, while cubed radish kimchi is another spicier version. Try cucumber kimchi for a taste more like pickles, or chonggak kimchi if you also enjoy the taste of fresh greens.
#4. It complements other foods
Kimchi is so flavorful that it makes foods that are otherwise very bland or unappetizing more palatable. It is often served over top of noodles or rice for this very reason. Its fibrous texture helps balance foods that are otherwise very greasy or fattening. Kimchi may be served as a stew, soup, or pancake, and eaten along with meat dishes containing beef, pork, fish, or chicken.
#5. Kimchi is an inexpensive food
Other healthy foods are not within the budget of many families; however, that is not the case with kimchi. Its ingredients are inexpensive and readily available in most grocery stores or farmer’s markets. This means that the cost of creating kimchi is very low, particularly since no special equipment is required for the fermenting process. It will also last for several months in your refrigerator, so there is little or no food waste involved. If you are looking for a healthful, delicious addition to your regular diet, kimchi would make a perfect choice.
These are just a few reasons why people everywhere love Korea’s most famous dish. If you have not yet tried kimchi, what are you waiting for?