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Eating kimchi daily could lower obesity risk, study suggests

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A new South Korean study suggests that eating around three servings of kimchi per day could help lower the risk of obesity in adults.

Key findings: The study, published in the British Medical Journal Open on Tuesday, found that one to three servings of baechu kimchi (cabbage kimchi) is associated with a 10% lower risk of obesity in men and 8% in women. Meanwhile, consuming kkakdugi kimchi (radish kimchi) also showed similar results, with 8% in men and 11% in women.

The group, led by researchers from Chung-Ang University in South Korea, attributed the positive results to probiotic lactic acid bacteria, which develop during the fermentation process. Previous studies have also linked probiotics to weight management.

How the study was conducted: In collaboration with the World Institute of Kimchi's research division, the study analyzed data from 115,726 cohorts aged 40 to 69 from the Health Examinees (HEXA) study. Researchers monitored the participants’ height, weight, waist circumference and dietary intake and asked them questions, including how often they eat kimchi.

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HEXA is a large, community-based cohort study of the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study designed to examine common chronic diseases in Korean adults aged 40 and up.

Other benefits: Besides promoting a positive gut health, kimchi is also known for being rich in vitamins A, C, K and at least 10 different minerals. Other benefits include reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system and potentially slowing down aging.

Important note: The research found that consuming more than five servings of kimchi per day is associated with a high prevalence of obesity. This could be due to a higher intake of total energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, sodium and cooked rice.

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