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, and for a few days people on the subway looked at each other in a different way.
It first reared its head in November of the previous year, and spread to 29 countries in just a few months.
And it was deadly - before it was snuffed out in July 2003, it had claimed the lives of 700 people, and affected thousands of others, not to mention causing widespread panic.
95% of SARS cases were in Asia, concentrated in China and the surrounding countries.
Surprisingly, not a single case of SARS was reported in Korea, even though China is slap bang next door.
So what's up with that then? Just lucky?
"Don't think so" thought researchers, who began to turn their attention to Kimchi, which Koreans eat every day.
Could it be an anti-disease agent as well as a super-powered source of nutrition?
Sounds about right, no?
They decided to investigate the hypothesis that Kimchi enhances the immune system, boosting its effectiveness in guarding against viral threats.
In March 2005, a bunch of reports came out that scientists had found that Kimchi may be effective against Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - another one of those global epidemics that made everyone go nuts.
What gave them this idea, you ask? I will tell you.
Professor Kang Sawook (Seoul National University - SNU YO!) took a bunch of kimchi and created a lactobacillus culture (you remember - lactobacilli are the awesome-sauce bacteria that make everything groovy when you eat them), feeding it to chickens that had become infected with the virus.
You know where this is going by now, dontcha?
The chickens that ate regular food had a more or less even chance of surviving (by just fighting off the disease with their immune system). The kimchi-fed chickens? Survival rate of 85%.
I'll take that option please. Thanks!
It also had an effect on the reproductive capacity of the chickens (weird - but I guess it makes sense, if you think about it, but you know what let's move on, shall we?).
In the case of the chickens fed normally, their egg-laying capacity went down to 50%, but went back up to 85% for the kimchi group. Looks like a trend. Once again, I'll take the kimchi, if that's alright.
You got any more? I hear you ask. Mais oui, mon ami.
In 2006, around the same time, Dr. Lee Jong-kyung (Korea Food Research Institute) did another test looking at what happened if you expose a bunch of kimchi to gross stuff that can also kill you - salmonella, O-157, and vibrio bacteria - guess who wins? I'll give you a moment.
The kimchi (with its good bacteria) deleted 99% of the hostile bacteria in the infective agents. Just regular, well-fermented, pH 4.4 Kimchi. Didn't even last long - just 4 hours. And the vibrio bacteria went down in 10 minutes. That's some brutal action bro.
Oh, and regular stuff like food poisoning? As you'd expect, Kimchi is pretty handy in preventing stuff like that too.
So yeah, Kimchi is good. You should eat it.
And we're STILL not done. One post left to go in this marathon of magical awesomeness. Stay tuned...
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!