World's Healthiest Foods: Kimchi (Korea)

Koreans eat so much kimchi as a condiment-side dish combo—approximately 40 pounds of it per person each year—that native Koreans say "kimchi" instead of "cheese" when getting their pictures taken.

What Is Kimchi?

The reddish fermented cabbage and sometimes radish, depending on the recipe. The dish is made with a mix of garlic, salt, vinegar, chile peppers, and other spices. You'll find it is served at every meal, either alone or mixed with rice or noodles.

Kimchi is part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet that has kept obesity at bay in Korea. It's also used in everything from soups to pancakes and as a topping on pizza and burgers.

Why Try It?

Kimchi—also spelled kimchee—is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C. However, its biggest benefit may be in its "healthy bacteria" called lactobacilli. Lactobacilli are found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt.

This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a study published in the journal Microorganisms. And more good news. Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.

There's no need to make your own kimchi. Just pick it up in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or an Asian market for around $4 per 32-ounce jar—Sunja's is one popular brand. You can wake up your morning by scrambling eggs with kimchi, diced tomatoes, and mushrooms. Use it as a wrap filling or to top a baked potato.

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