Eating up to three daily servings of kimchi could reduce the overall risk of obesity in men, according to a new study that suggests the classic Korean food could boost the body’s good gut bacteria.
Kimchi is made by salting and fermenting vegetables, including cabbage and radish, with flavorings and seasonings such as onion and garlic.
According to researchers, cabbage and radish are already low in calories and high in vitamins, dietary fiber and good effects on intestinal bacteria.
In the new study, scientists investigated whether regular consumption of kimchi might be associated with a reduced risk of overall obesity.
They evaluated data from nearly 116,000 participants who took part in a large, long-term community study of the larger Korean genome.
Participants’ dietary intake over the past year was assessed using a validated 106-item questionnaire for which they were asked to indicate how often they ate a serving of each food, never or rarely, up to three times a day.
Participants’ height, weight and waist circumference were measured, and about 36 percent of men and a quarter of women had obesity.
The researchers first found that, compared to those who ate less than one daily serving of total kimchi, participants who ate five or more servings weighed more, had larger waistlines, and were more likely to be obese.
These participants were also more likely to have low income and drink alcohol.
But after accounting for other factors, researchers found that eating up to three daily servings of kimchi in total was associated with an 11 percent lower prevalence of obesity compared to eating less than one daily serving.
Among men, three or more daily servings of cabbage kimchi were associated with a 10% lower prevalence of obesity and a 10% lower prevalence of abdominal obesity compared with less than one daily serving, the researchers said. researchers.
“However, since all results showed a J-shaped association, it is recommended to limit excessive consumption of kimchi,” they added.
Since kimchi is a major source of sodium, scientists say moderate consumption should be recommended due to its health benefits.