So we're working our way through the benefits of Kimchi, and already we've been going for EVER.
To recap: we've covered its anti-obesity and anti-ageing effects so far.
Now we're going to look at how it helps to prevent diseases.
Diseases have always kind of sucked. Many have been eradicated, but unfortunately some continue to evolve. And as it becomes easier for people to move around internationally, the threat of epidemics increases.
The latest major scare was Ebola in 2015 (there was another one in 2017 which people don't remember, but which basically still shows the problem isn't going anywhere). A lot of people are scared about what might happen if we don't catch it in time for the next outbreak.
Going back in time a bit, the first epidemic in the 21st century was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Some of y'all may not remember this (it was 2003), but it was freaky at the time. I remember getting office emails telling us to take care, hand sanitizer popping up everywhere,...
Yes, that is not a misprint. And yes, I know that sounds a little far-fetched.
So let's back up.
One result of a long and intricate preparation process is that kimchi contains a looooooot of the good stuff. We're talking antioxidants like Vitamin C, beta carotene, phenol compounds, and chlorophyll. You know, the kind of stuff you'd need to be a fitness-nut to know all the names of.
Anyway, one of the many beneficial effects of all this good stuff, is that Kimchi reduces your stress in a big way. Stress can be a good thing if it motivates you. We're talking about the negative kind that just....stresses you out.
Here's a study that proves the point, brought to us by the amazing Professor Lee Jongmi of Ewha Women's University.
A mouse under stress (and no, it doesn't say how she did this, maybe gave it a really tight deadline or something, I don't know) was fed with a mixture containing 5% Kimchi.
The mouse's blood corticosterone - a fancy term for the hormone that indicates the stress...
We've seen in the previous articles how Kimchi has a very specific preparation process, and that this makes the chemistry of kimchi fairly unique among fermented foods.
But so what?
As we've alluded to before, there is a Korean saying that 'Food is medicine'.
If we look at the health benefits of kimchi as measured in lab tests, it is no exaggeration to apply this proverb quite literally to kimchi.
There are so many of these lab results, in fact, that we've had to split them out over four articles.
Let's start with anti-obesity effects.
An article in a 2006 edition of Health Magazine called out the five healthiest foods in the world, with kimchi listed among them.
Describing kimchi as 'loaded with key vitamins' and containing 'healthy bacteria that aid digestion', it also referred to it as 'part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet that has kept obesity at bay in Korea'.
The statistics bear this out.
Korea has one of the lowest obesity rates in the advanced world, battling it out with Japan in the be...
You've probably heard Koreans say 'We have four distinct seasons'. You may also think 'Umm. Yeah, that's kind of a global norm?'
It's the kind of statement that makes sense if you've actually experienced sweltering heat of a Korean summer and the frigid depths of Korean winter.
I heard a theory that the reason Koreans have the expression (and general approach to life) of ?? ?? ('quickly quickly!') is because the seasons change so abruptly that you can easily get caught unprepared.
Sooooo anyway, what does this have to do with Kimchi?
Well, we mentioned in the last article that Kimchi was a way of preserving vegetables for consumption during the long winter months.
In the build up to winter, the preparation of kimchi was a communal event, involving relatives, neighbors, and enormous quantities of Korean cabbage.
Making kimchi is complicated, as you'd expect for something that has over 500 regional variations.
On a basic level, though, what you are doing is pickling vegetables (radish, cabbage,...