Today in the chart

Spice Up Your Diet With Kimchi!

Fermented foods like kimchi have been found to decrease inflammation and to diversify the gut microbiome. This results in decreasing negative symptoms of many gastrointestinal disorders.

Do you ever wonder why certain foods make you feel like you have a brick in your stomach? Or why do some foods make you feel bloated, tired, and constipated? Well, it’s all related to the diversity of your gut microbiome and how it’s nourished. The gut microbiome is a powerful and complex army of microbes in our gut that helps us combat acute and chronic illnesses and allergies to ultimately help us thrive and feel good inside and out.  

Besides my children and husband, two things I love most are making delicious food and keeping my body vibrant and healthy. My love for nutrition grew as I learned how our body can thrive with the best fuel. Now that I am 43 and a mom of a two-year-old and an eight-month-old, I need my body to be as energized and healthy as possible. 

Working as a nurse with patients in the ED for over a decade has allowed me to see how most chronic illnesses, including mental disorders, can be modulated and often prevented with the right food choices. Which foods, you may be asking. A few of my favorites are fermented foods, ancient grains, and fiber. 

Think back to how our ancestors ate. Or even further back when refrigeration was not available. Fermentation was key to preserving food. Today, I will only focus on one type of fermented food, kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish consisting of various high-fiber vegetables, including napa cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, bamboo shoots, and Korean radishes, to name a few. Traditionally, kimchi was made during the winter by fermenting vegetables and burying them in the ground in brown ceramic pots—the process of making kimchi allowed family bonding among women of the family. Currently, kimchi is produced in glass vessels with delicious high-fiber vegetables, various seasonings, chili powder, and salt. Vegetables in kimchi are high in fiber and contribute to the intake of vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, and iron.  

A study done at Stanford University showed that fermented foods, such as kimchi, were found to decrease inflammation and diversify the gut microbiome. Diversifying the gut microbiome reduces the negative symptoms of many gastrointestinal disorders. Furthermore, kimchi contains good fiber and a plethora of powerful microbes and metabolites to support our immune system and overall health.

An easy way to add kimchi to your diet is by making a kimchi omelet. Kimchi omelets are super delicious and easy to make. It is full of protein from the egg and all the benefits kimchi offers to the gut. I highly recommend using organic pasture-raised eggs. Pasture-raised eggs are from hens raised outdoors; they have access to lots of sunshine and can feed on insects, worms, and seeds, which are all part of their normal diet. Because these hens are exposed to a lot of sunlight, their bodies convert it to vitamin D and then pass it on to the egg. The yolk from pasture-raised eggs is a beautiful vibrant orange yolk with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, and less cholesterol than commercial eggs. When making your favorite omelet, you can just add kimchi to your recipe. Mix kimchi with the raw egg, and add a bit more after the egg is fully cooked to get the benefits of the probiotic bacteria. Kimchi can also be added to your favorite rice dish or salad or to any dish you would like to add a little oomph! 

Kimchi is available in most grocery stores, like Whole Foods or your local farmer’s markets. When shopping for kimchi, make sure it’s organic; it is locally made in small batches and is fermented in glass vessels. 

Let's foster healthy guts for a healthy and vibrant body!

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