With its hefty helpings of red meat and dishes with names like bulgogi, Korean food is not always associated with eating light.
But kimchi, a sour Korean staple made from fermented radish and cabbage, seems to help people stay in shape as they get older.
That’s according to a paper published by the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Open, in which researchers claim “eating up to three daily servings of the Korean classic, kimchi, may lower men’s overall risk of obesity”.
The team, from Chung Ang University and the Seoul-based World Institute of Kimchi in South Korea, found radish kimchi to be “linked to a lower prevalence of midriff bulge in both sexes”.
The research covered over 115,000 people – most of them middle-aged – and picked up on earlier work showing some kimchi ingredients having “an anti-obesity effect”.
The scientists cautioned that their work was based on an observational study, which they said meant causation could not be confirmed.
And they reminded kimchi eaters not to overdo it, as eating more than three dishes a day could contribute to weight gain.
The team also warned that the popular dish, which has been compared to sauerkraut, is salty.
However, kimchi – and its fermented leaves in particular – is also a source of potassium, which counteracts the negative effect of salt on the body. – dpa