Our 4 Favorite Ways To Eat This 3,000-Year-Old, Gut-Boosting Food
At this point, most of you have probably heard of kimchi. But, unless you've been to a Korean cooking class (highly recommend), you may not know exactly what it is—or how to eat it. While there's absolutely no harm in enjoying this gut-healthy superfood on its own, integrating it into a recipe is a creative way to give your dish a tangy kick and a dose of probiotics. You don't even have to prepare the kimchi yourself—leave the prep work to Jongga.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean food that was invented and developed over thousands of years ago. There are about 200 different types of kimchi in Korea, but in general, it's made by fermenting Napa cabbage or radish with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and various seasonings such as salts, red pepper powder, garlic, leek, ginger, and more.
Based on the specific ingredients and preparation methods, each type of kimchi has its own unique features in biochemical, nutritional, and organoleptic (aka taste, smell, texture, etc.) properties. Personally, we love Jongga Kimchi because it's gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO with vegan options—plus it includes more than eight kinds of vegetables and a deep umami flavor that's hard to beat.
Health benefits of kimchi.
Although kimchi has been around for quite some time, it became particularly popular during the fermented food craze of the last 10 years. The LAB produced during the fermentation process remains active and alive in the human body, providing probiotic health benefits, which support the gut microbiome. The beneficial microbes not only help to build a diverse and well-balanced gut ecosystem, but the probiotics in kimchi also assist in managing bloat and gas and have been shown to promote anti-constipation and colorectal health1.
Beyond just the gut, research suggests kimchi may contain other health benefits1, such as anti-inflammatory properties, immune support, and brain and skin health promotion. It has also been associated with weight loss, reduced risk of metabolic syndrome2, and even the possible prevention of cancer growth3. But studies show that certain probiotic strains are more sensitive to extreme temperatures4 and can lose potency after prolonged heating. Jongga, however, is fermented with ideal temperature control and meticulous time management, which allows for consistently high-quality kimchi, full of billions of plant-derived LAB.
How to enjoy kimchi.
Kimchi is low-calorie and high in fiber, so it's the perfect side to any meal. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a snack or added to your main dish as a way to spice things up. Here are some of our favorite kimchi recipes:
Kimchi Noodle Soup
Rich in antioxidants and protein, this gut-warming soup is the ideal dish for chilly winter nights. Plus, it's quick and easy to make—no hourlong simmer required!
Kimchi-Marinated Kale Buddha Bowl
This nutrient-dense Buddha bowl from The Yoga Kitchen Plan is not only detoxifying but also supports healthy digestion and improves skin texture, thanks to the kimchi.
Kimchi Fried Farro
In this weeknight staple from the Healthyish cookbook, kimchi is mixed in with the hot dish to permeate the grains with flavor and then added on top for an extra boost. The farro nourishes the probiotics to help them thrive for maximum gut-healing capability.
Ginger + Turmeric Breakfast Bowl With Kimchi
If you thought kimchi was only appropriate for lunch or dinner, you'd be wrong. This ginger + turmeric rice bowl is the perfect way to start off your day—although you'll probably want to save some for later too. It's anti-inflammatory (from the ginger and turmeric), probiotic-rich, and packed with flavor.
Kimchi all day every day.
With its countless health benefits and its savory-sourness, kimchi is a great addition to your weekly meal lineup. Topping your food off with even a spoonful of this traditional Korean ingredient will help to contribute to healthier digestion and a stronger immune system. And while making it yourself can take up to a week for proper fermentation, Jongga gives you the option to throw it onto your plate at a moment's notice with premade, shelf-stable kimchi that's globally renowned for its fresh, authentic taste—easy and delicious!
Ryan Brady is a Content Freelancer at mindbodygreen. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Yale University and is currently finishing her M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology, with concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice, at Columbia University.
Ryan is passionate about holistic health, fitness, and spiritually-centered living. She loves using her knowledge and personal experience to help others improve their well-being. When she’s not working or studying, Ryan can be found traveling to new places, snuggling her dog, or experimenting with gluten free, vegan baking.