This 1 Korean Food Can Help You Lose Up to 11 Pounds (Without Dieting)
Considered the national dish of Korea, previous reports have linked kimchi, a type of fermented spicy cabbage, to health benefits such as a lower risk of the flu and improved cholesterol readings. But now sources in China say there’s another benefit to eating your kimchi: It could help you lose weight.
The source, which highlights kimchi’s abundance of good gut bacteria–something researchers believe may fight digestive problems caused by obesity–say that this condiment couldn’t be a healthier way to keep your waistline slim.
“If a person eats some kimchi with every meal, it’s possible for them to lose five kilograms (about 11 pounds) in a month,” says a professor from Seoul Health College.
Kimchi’s low calorie content probably is one reason why it’s good for keeping weight at bay–but it’s a certain ingredient in kimchi that also makes it effective for speeding up your metabolism.
The Ingredient That Supercharges Your Metabolism
Created by mixing cabbage, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and fish sauce together, kimchi isn’t a mild dish by any means–but it’s the inclusion of chili pepper which could send your metabolism soaring.
Capsaicin, a naturally-occurring chemical in chili peppers, helps give these peppers its spicy, mouth-watering edge, but research shows that it helps increase energy thermogenesis.
In 2008, researcher Yasser Mahmoud found that capsaicin changed the activity of a certain muscle protein called SERCA. This causes SERCA to give off heat, which causes thermogenesis to increase.
Thermogenesis is important because when it becomes higher so too does your metabolism.
The news couldn’t be sweeter if you’re struggling with your weight.
“These findings further explain how capsaicin intake can increase metabolism and body temperature,” says Thilaka Ravi, a reporter for MedIndia Network. “Thermogenesis, the process by which cells convert energy into heat, can be directly induced by chilli peppers.”
But the Benefits Just Don’t End There
If you thought a boost in your metabolism sounded like a good deal, it gets even better: It can also suppress your appetite. But how? According to a 2009 study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, volunteers who consume a combination of green tea and capsaicin reportedly felt less hungry, causing them to eat fewer calories. A study from the same year also found capsaicin helped decrease a hunger hormone called ghrelin, which may increase the desire to eat.
“Capsaicin, a natural substance sourced from chili peppers, is said to support weight loss,” says Cathy Wong, an alternative health guide for About.com. “Proponents claim that the compound can help speed up metabolism and reduce fat tissue, as well as curb overeating by taming appetite. While scientists have yet to confirm that capsaicin can serve as a weight loss aid, some early studies suggest that this spicy chemical may be of some benefit to those trying to slim down.”
Bottom line? Eat your kimchi–there’s a reason why South Korea has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world.
Readers: Have you tried kimchi before? What are your favorite ways to eat this food?
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