Another one of my favorite probiotic foods, kimchi is a well-known Korean pickled dish that has seen wide acceptance by many cultures outside of Korea.
It is created by mixing a main ingredient such as cabbage with a host of other seasonings and ingredients, like hot pepper flakes, radish, carrot, garlic, ginger, onion, salt and fish sauce. The mixture is left to ferment from a few days to a couple of weeks.
The most common type of kimchi is baechu, which is made with Chinese cabbage. But there are countless other variations of kimchi that are made with cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, radishes and other seasonal vegetables.
Kimchi is very spicy due to the liberal use of red chili pepper, and can also be high in sodium, probably the result of adding fish sauce. So if you are watching your sodium intake, look for for kimchi with lower salt content.
Health Benefits of Kimchi – Kimchi contains the bacterium called lactobacillus kimchii as well as other lactic acid bacteria that are beneficial to our gastrointestinal as well as immune systems. A typical kimchi made with Chinese cabbage, carrot, garlic, ginger, onion and pepper is also high in vitamin A, C, B1, B2, beta-carotene, calcium and iron. Animal studies also suggested that kimchi may be effective against the avian flu virus.
How to Eat Kimchi? There are many ways to consume kimchi. You can use it as a condiment, which is my preferred way of eating since I can only hold a little spicy food at a time, or cook it with practically any food you have on hand but add it at the end of the cooking process to avoid killing beneficial probiotic and digestive enzymes.
But bear in mind that due to the spiciness of kimchi, whatever food you match with kimchi will probably by overpowered by the kimchi. And if you have a sensitive stomach, or suffer from heartburn or acid reflux this may not be the best food product for you.
Where to Buy Kimchi? in the refrigerated section of most asian supermarkets. If you have the time and desire, you can always make your own kimchi from home. You can adjust the seasoning, making it less spicy and salty. There are many recipes you can find on line.
Interesting Facts about Kimchi: Japan, not South Korea, is the largest exporter of kimchi. Japan produces its own version of kimchi. But note that some types of Japanese kimchi skip the fermentation process and thus, do not contain any beneficial probiotics.
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