Kimchi: Good or Bad for You?

In the last few months, I have seen a number of  articles about kimchi and in particular, its health benefits.  As understanding of the human microbiome has grown, articles like this one talk about the probiotic and other benefits of eating it.  Years ago, Tim wrote a post about the link to kimchi consumption to certain kinds of cancer.  Yet now, some medical organizations are recommending eating kimchi, such as this one suggesting consuming it with antibioitics.  This leads to the question – is kimchi good or bad for you?

“The dose makes the poison” – Paracelsus

After reading more articles and papers on the health effects of kimchi, I would say that kimchi’s goodness or badness really depends.  This review of eleven randomized controlled trials on the health of effects of kimchi finds that there are numerous studies that show some positive benefits such as lowering cholestrol and increased fiber intake, but more rigorous studies need to be done. In places where increased gastric cancer is associated with kimchi, kimchi consumption averages 1 to 1.5 cups per day according to this article. Taking a cue from the saying from Paracelsus says and as other articles and papers suggests, moderate consumption is likely to be not problematic (I am not a doctor though).

I personally like kimchi, and after I had a round of antibiotics, I did eat extra kimchi after that. I eat it only occasionally and definitely not in the the cup per day kind of volume, so I think that given my limited intake and my taste for it, it’s good for me.


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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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