Kimchi is a well-known side dish that has exploded favorably for its health benefits. It’s a traditional Korean banchan (small side dish) made of various vegetables, including the master ingredient: fermented napa cabbage.
Spicy, sour, pungent, and salty, kimchi elevates even plain white rice to make a meal. But does the ketogenic diet approve of this crunchy sour treat?
Let’s look at the nutritional details.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Is Kimchi Keto?
Yes, kimchi is at the top of the keto-approved food list! This low-carb treat is one of the best keto-friendly side dishes you’ll ever get your hands on. You won’t find anyone searching for keto kimchi because the traditional recipes are within the keto limit.
It’s also high in fiber, with around half of the carbohydrates in kimchi being from fiber. That means that the net carbs are a mere 2 grams.
This all means one thing: you can enjoy this pungent and spicy side dish without worrying about maintaining ketosis.
Health Benefits Of Eating Kimchi
Many people have decided to add low-carb kimchi to their keto meals for the flavor alone. If you aren’t convinced yet, consider the following health benefits of regularly consuming kimchi:
Better Gut Health
Probably one of the most well-known health benefits of kimchi (and other lacto-fermented foods) is the positive impact it has on gut health. The modern diet is full of highly processed food, promoting unhealthy gut microbiomes, which in turn lead to many health complications. Regular consumption of traditional fermented foods such as kimchi can prevent gut inflammation, indigestion, and intestinal disease because it contains the necessary probiotics.
Reduces Risk of Type II Diabetes
Scientists have found that kimchi has an anti-inflammatory effect when consumed, and also lowers blood sugar because it doesn’t contain too many carbohydrates.
Consequently, there is a clear correlation between kimchi consumption and a reduction in diseases such as Type II diabetes, which often starts with repeated inflammation and high blood sugar.
Fights Against Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease
Research has shown that people who eat kimchi as part of their regular diet have lower cholesterol levels and even reduced lipid levels.
Scientists have observed that kimchi consumption can be linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, especially atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to clogging). This effect is likely due to kimchi’s anti-inflammatory effects and reduction of cholesterol, lipids, and blood sugars.
Aids In Weight Loss
Lastly, much anecdotal evidence (and a few scientific studies) has shown that kimchi can help in improving weight loss and maintaining fitness levels overall. Of course, it should be paired with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet, but there is no arguing that kimchi is a great fat-loss machine.
Kimchi Nutritional Facts
Analysis of typical kimchi made from napa cabbage shows that it is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C. It also contains a healthy dose of minerals and amino acids. Overall, kimchi has a very good nutritional profile. It’s a low-carb, high-fiber, low-calorie, and low-fat side dish.
One of the most important dietary facts regarding this dish is that kimchi’s net carbs are around 2g per position. That’s half the total carbs because kimchi contains a lot of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Note that most research on kimchi is on recipes using napa cabbage, but there are traditional versions using root vegetables. Also, many commercial kimchi producers add carb-heavy ingredients or even sugar to speed up the fermentation process.
Many tests have shown that commercial kimchi often doesn’t contain probiotics because it is pasteurized to extend shelf-life.
To reap the full health benefits of kimchi, it’s best to try homemade kimchi—even better if you’re the one making it! If you are buying commercial kimchi, check the nutritional label very carefully and look for the words “live probiotics.”
Whether you’re used to eating kimchi or the spicy and pungent side dish is exotic, it’s worth adding to your diet. Not only will it aid in ketosis and help you maintain your keto diet, but there are many proven advantages of consuming this traditional dish.
Homemade kimchi is considerably better both health-wise and taste-wise, and it’s easy to make as well. Add it to your meals and reap the health benefits.