Daily servings of this popular Korean food may lower obesity risk in men

However, it is recommended to limit excessive intake, scientists say

Vishwam Sankaran
Wednesday 31 January 2024 07:44 GMT
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Eating up to three daily servings of kimchi may cut men’s overall obesity risk, according to a new study which suggests the classic Korean food may enhance 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.

Both cabbage and radish are already low in calories and rich in vitamins, dietary fiber and good gut bacteria-enhancing effects, researchers say.

In the new study, scientists sought to find if regular consumption of kimchi may be associated with a reduction in the risk of overall obesity.

They assessed data from nearly 116,000 participants who took part in a large, community-based long-term study of the larger Korean Genome.

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Participants’ food intake for the previous year was assessed using a validated 106-item questionnaire for which they were asked to state how often they ate a serving of each foodstuff, from never or seldom, up to three times a day.

The heigh, weight, and waist circumference of the participants were measured, and about 36 per cent of the men and a quarter of the women had obesity.

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 a larger waist size, and were more likely to be obese.

These participants were also more likely to have a low income, and to drink alcohol.

But after accounting for other factors,researchers found that eating up to three daily servings of total kimchi was associated with an 11 per cent lower prevalence of obesity compared with less than one daily serving.

Among men, three or more daily servings of cabbage kimchi were linked to a 10 per cent lower prevalence of obesity and a 10 per cent lower prevalence of abdominal obesity compared with less than one daily serving, researchers said.

“However, since all results showed a ‘J-shaped’ association, it is recommended to limit excessive kimchi intake,” they added.

Since kimchi is a major source of sodium, scientists say moderate consumption should be recommended for its health benefits.

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