This typical Korean dish could be the key to reducing obesity.


Eating up to three servings a day of classic Korean kimchi can reduce the overall risk of obesity in men. On the other hand, radish kimchi is related to a lower prevalence of abdominal bulging in both sexes. This is stated in research published in the journal ‘BMJ Open’. Kimchi is made by salting and fermenting vegetables with various aromas and seasonings, such as onion, garlic, and fish sauce. Cabbage and radish are typically the main vegetables used in kimchi, which is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, microbiome-enhancing lactic acid bacteria, vitamins, and polyphenols. Previously published experimental studies have shown that bacteria isolated from kimchi had an anti-obesity effect. And the researchers wanted to know if regular consumption could be associated with a reduced risk of general and/or abdominal obesity, considered particularly harmful to health. To reach this conclusion, the researchers relied on data from 115,726 participants (36,756 men; 78,970 women; average age 51) who participated in the Health Examinees (HEXA). The HEXA is a large, long-term community-based study of the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, designed to examine environmental and genetic risk factors for common long-term conditions among Korean adults aged 40 years and older. Related News standard No Obesity and alcohol cause an increase in colon cancer in young Europeans R. Ibarra standard No A nutritionist’s recipe to prepare kimchi, the Korean dish that is gold for the microbiota Elisa Escorihuela Dietary intake from the previous year was evaluated using a validated 106-item food frequency questionnaire in which participants were asked to indicate how often they ate a serving of each food, from never or rarely, to 3 times a day. Among the variants of kimchi, there was chicken, radish, watery or even mustard leaf. Then, each participant’s height and weight, BMI, and waist circumference were measured. A BMI of 18.5 was defined as underweight; normal weights 18.5 to 25; and obesity above 25. Abdominal obesity was defined as a waist circumference of at least 90 cm for men and at least 85 cm for women. About 36% of men and 25% of women were obese. The results indicated a J-shaped curve, possibly because higher consumption is associated with higher intake of total energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, sodium and cooked rice, the researchers say. Overdoing kimchi is also dangerous Compared to those who ate less than one daily serving of total kimchi, participants who ate five or more servings weighed more, had larger waists and were more likely to be obese. They were also more likely to not be highly educated, have a low income, and drink alcohol. However, after accounting for potentially influential factors, eating up to 3 servings of total kimchi daily was associated with an 11% lower prevalence of obesity compared to less than 1 serving daily. In men, 3 or more daily servings of classic kimchi were associated with a 10% lower prevalence of obesity and a 10% lower prevalence of abdominal obesity compared with less than 1 serving daily. In women, 2-3 servings/day of this type of kimchi were associated with an 8% lower prevalence of obesity, while 1-2 servings/day were associated with a 6% lower prevalence of abdominal obesity. On the other hand, eating lower than average amounts of radish kimchi is associated with around 9% less prevalence of obesity in both sexes. And consumption of 25 g/day for men and 11 g/day for women is associated with an 8% (men) to 11% (women) lower risk of abdominal obesity compared to no consumption. It should be remembered that this is an observational study and, as such, it cannot establish cause-effect. The researchers recognize that food frequency questionnaires cannot always identify quantities accurately, and the findings may not be generalizable to populations in other parts of the world.

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