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Health Benefits of Kimchi

author image Marie Dannie
Marie Dannie has been a professional journalist since 1991, specializing in nutrition and health topics. She has written for "Woman’s Own," the "Daily Mail," the "Daily Mirror" and the "Telegraph." She is a registered nutritionist and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in food science from the University of Nottingham.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
A side plate of kimchi on a table. Photo Credit: kenjito/iStock/Getty Images

A spicy food in traditional Korean cuisine, kimchi is no longer just a condiment or side dish to a Korean meal. This spicy fermented napa cabbage is now frequently included in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries and soups. Rich in vitamins A and C, the strong flavor of kimchi is distinctive and exotic and is now widely available at Asian grocery stores, health food stores and some high-end supermarkets.

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Macronutrients and Calories in Kimchi

With only 34 calories and no total fat per 100 grams serving, kimchi is a low-calorie, low-fat food. However, kimchi is rarely eaten on its own, so to keep the calorie and fat content low, choose low-fat dishes like stir-fries or soups to use your kimchi in. As a vegetable-based food, kimchi contains only 2 grams of protein per serving and low amounts of carbohydrates and sugars, but it does have 2 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Colorado State University reports that the recommended intake of dietary fiber for adults is 14 grams per 1,000 calories. Based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, 100 grams of kimchi will provide a little more than 7 percent of the daily recommended value of dietary fiber.

High Sodium Content

Because of the way kimchi is made, it is high in sodium, providing 670 milligrams of sodium per 100-gram serving. A diet that is high in sodium increases your chances of developing high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. According to Colorado State University, the majority of American adults consume excess amounts of sodium in their diet. The daily upper limit recommendation is 2,300 milligrams of sodium. For African-Americans, adults over the age of 51 and those with a history of heart disease, the daily upper limit falls to 1,500 milligrams. A single serving of kimchi provides between 29 percent and 45 percent of the recommended daily limit of sodium.

Rich in Vitamin A

A 100-gram serving of kimchi has 18 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. As a natural antioxidant, vitamin A may reduce your risk of developing heart disease and cancer, which can be caused by free radicals -- produced as your body digests food. Vitamin A is also needed for healthy body development, including in embryos and fetuses, and it is vital for maintaining healthy vision. The daily recommended intake of vitamin A is between 700 and 1,300 micrograms for all adult men and women.

Rich in Vitamin C

A 100-gram serving of kimchi has 18 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Like vitamin A, vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, protecting your body’s cells from damage from free radicals. Vitamin C aids in the production of numerous proteins, especially collagen, which keeps your skin elastic, and helps your body produce and maintain your ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. It is also essential for repairing wounds. The adequate intake of vitamin C for adults is between 75 and 120 milligrams per day. If you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke, MedlinePlus recommends that you increase your daily intake by 35 milligrams.

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