One of the pillar fermented foods, is a Korean, spicy fermented vegetable rapidly gaining popularity across western culture. Kimchi has a cabbage base, with accompaniments such as garlic, ginger, radishes, carrots, red peppers, scallions, etc. Cabbage is a non starchy veggie that's low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. The fiber in cabbage keeps blood sugars stable (i.e.: a great thing!!).
Aside from being an awesome side dish, appetizer, or snack, fermented foods like kimchi provide incredible probiotic health benefits. Other foods under this “fermented” umbrella include sauerkraut, Yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, and pickles. Two specific microorganisms that result from the fermentation process are LABs, lactic acid bacteria, and CLAs, conjugated linoleic acids (source).
L.A.B.s [lactic acid bacteria]
Lactic acid bacteria are a type of good bacteria that are in charge of removing any non-nutrients from the dish so only the necessary and beneficial elements remain. LABs do this by lowering the pH level of whatever environment they live in (aka creating a MORE acidic environment) making it less hospitable for “bad bacteria”. Examples of this “bad bacteria” are the stuff found on kitchen sponges, raw poultry and toilet seats (source). In summary, can think of LABs as the peel off face masks (pictured below) that are gobbling up nastiness our of your body thanks to their acidity.
C.L.A.s [conjugated linoleic acids]
Meanwhile, CLAs take on a host of roles, including antioxidant (keep cells alive), anti-microbial (reduce presence of mold & bacteria, like their fellow LABs), and anti-inflammatory (reduce swelling, and body’s excessive inflammatory responses) (source). Over the past few years, studies have proved CLA's positive effects on cancer, obesity, and atherosclerosis (i.e.: arteries clogged with fat) (source).
Due to the hyperactivity of LABs and CLAs during the fermentation process of these foods, they inevitably result in probiotic properties. Probiotics are actually living bacteria (both friendly 🧑🤝🧑 and not-so-friendly🙅♀️) living in your tummy. The "friendly" types of probiotics are known for diversifying the gut microbiome, helping to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, preventing viral infections, and decreasing anxiety and stress levels.
EASY KIMCHI RECIPE
For first timers wanting to dip their toes into the kimchi game, this is a super easy, straight forward recipe ! Recipe here.