If you’re a fan of Korean BBQ—and we know what you’re thinking: who isn’t?—then you know that kimchi has got to be the king of side dishes!
For those of you who aren’t aware, kimchi is actually just fermented vegetables seasoned with garlic, onions, and chili peppers or powder. Much like how yogurt “adds probiotic benefits to dairy,” kimchi is fermented with probiotic lactic acid bacteria that add a little extra boost to vegetables. According to dietitian Kathleen Levitt, these bacteria create microorganisms that help us digest food better. Though we’re probably most familiar with kimchi as fermented cabbage, other varieties of kimchi include radishes and cucumbers.
During the fermentation process, kimchi creates healthy bacteria that help fight infections. In a study published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention, scientists found that this “immune-boosting feature combines with kimchi’s anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-reducing properties to lower the risk of cancer.” Additionally, kimchi has a ton of fiber, which makes us feel full, thus leading us to eat less than we normally would.
Kimchi is also a low-calorie food, with only 22 calories in one cup! It’s best to keep it as a side dish though, instead of a meal staple, because kimchi is loaded with sodium. As with everything else, consume in moderation.
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