Kimchi is a low-calorie, high fibre and nutrient-packed side dish. It contains a range of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. Kimchi is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium and selenium. Kimchi has an assortment of powerful antioxidants and provides an additional benefit of probiotics as well in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. It contains other healthful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids and isothiocyanates.

Kimchi is prepared in many different varieties. The common ingredients that makeup kimchi are cabbage, garlic, ginger, carrot, pepper, onion and chili. Pre-made kimchi is available in health food stores and supermarkets. I prefer to make my own as I like to know exactly what is going into it. It makes an excellent side dish or pre-meal appetizer. It can be added to stews, soups, stir-fries, and salads or as a topper for omelets or cooked meats.

Here are some of the benefits:

Digestive Health
Kimchi is an excellent food to promote digestive health. It is a source of probiotics due to the fermentation process involved in its preparation. The process of fermentation creates healthy bacteria, lactobacillus which is required by the body to balance intestinal flora. The main ingredient is cabbage and this is known for its detoxification qualities, it assists the body in removing wastes and toxins. It aids in cleaning up the intestines and stimulates a better assimilation of nutrients in the body. The high fibre content also assists with bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Kimchi has a beneficial effect on the levels of cholesterol in the body. Garlic is rich in selenium and allicin. Allicin assists in lowering cholesterol levels whilst selenium protect's the artery walls by preventing the build up of plaque.

Immune System
Kimchi is packed with nutrients and is rich in flavonoids and phenolics. Ingredients such as garlic, ginger and peppers are all renowned for their beneficial effect on the immune system. They assist in fighting infections and are valuable in preventing cold and flu symptoms.

Due to fermentation and the abundance of fibre, kimchi may cause gas and bloating in susceptible individuals. It is advisable to begin by adding small quantities of kimchi to meals in order to assess its effects.

Kate Alderman - Challenge Coach