How eating Kimchi helps boost your immune system
You’ve probably heard that eating fermented food, especially spicy ones, help boost the immune system. Plus, of course, a good dose of the immune supplement. Would that explain why Koreans are mostly asymptomatic and less susceptible to COVID-19, Coronavirus?
Making traditional Kimchi can take 2-days to ferment, allowing probiotic bacteria to form. These living micro-organisms or bacterial strains can influence immune responses, studies show.
A study at the University of Leipzig, a particular bacteria found in fermented food such as Sauerkraut (or Kimchi), has fat tissue and (protein) immune cells called Hydroxycarboxylic Acid Receptors. The fermentation caused subsequent plasma concentrations, sufficient to activate HCA3, innate in animals. [PLOS]
Immunomodulatory Effects of Kimchi
Most animals have only two types of HCA, but humans have three. If we eat food rich in HCA3, the lactic acid bacteria in cabbage (Kimchi) produces D-phenylacetic acid in the stomach. It binds strongly to this unique ‘third HCA’ receptor, jumpstarting the immune system.
“We are convinced that this receptor very likely mediates some beneficial and anti-inflammatory effects of lactic acid bacteria in humans,” said Dr. Claudia Stäubert.”
Is it the cabbage?
Cabbage, a main ingredient of Kimchi, is rich in minerals, vitamin C, dietary fibers, and especially phytochemicals. Also, cabbage contains organic sulfur compounds (OSCs) that effects the inhibition of tumor cell proliferation, antimicrobial effects, and free radical scavenging.
It’s in the pepper as well?
Of course, Kimchi’s red pepper ingredient contains high levels (25-80 mg%) of capsaicin. Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is involved in physiological functions related to the immune response.
Suppressor T cells
A randomized ‘Controlled Trial‘ among 43 Chinese College Students was done to see if eating Kimchi does help boost the immune system. After four weeks of Kimchi diet, the level of suppressor T-cells significantly increased in the non-Kimchi group.