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It’s a month after some of us set our new year's resolutions, and usually the time of year where our commitment to lose weight through dieting and exercise falls by the wayside.
Never fear – science is here, with a new study out this week claiming that kimchi could be the answer!
Published in the journal BMJ open, the study found that kimchi made with cabbage could help to lower men’s risk of obesity and kimchi made using radishes could help everyone with their weight loss goals.
The researchers looked at data from over 100,000 people aged 40-69 living in Korea and found that those who ate higher levels of kimchi (1-3 servings a day) had up to a 12 percent lower risk of obesity and less excessive fat around their stomach and abdomen compared to those who ate less than one serving per day.
So what gives kimchi its superpower? It's actually the bacteria, or what is more commonly known as the probiotics produced during the fermentation process.
Fermented kimchi contains major species of lactic acid bacteria including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus and Weissella species.
Previously published experimental studies have shown that Lactobacillus brevis and Lactobacillus plantarum isolated from kimchi had an anti-obesity effect and an ability to help regulate blood sugar.
This is part of a growing body of evidence showing how positively changing your gut microbiome can actually affect your metabolism and overall health.
While this was a Korean study that looked at kimchi because it is a staple part of the Korean diet, there are other lactobacillus foods that might have a similar effect including probiotic yoghurts and sauerkraut, although these two were not part of this study.
So if you are feeling a little bit guilty because you didn't go out for a run today - don't stress, just tuck into a serving or two of baechu.
Conclusions and relevance: consumption of 1–3 servings/day of total kimchi was associated with a lower risk of obesity in men. Baechu kimchi was associated with a lower prevalence of obesity in men, and kkakdugi was associated with a lower prevalence of abdominal obesity in both men and women.
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