Life Extension Magazine®

A bowl of the super food kimchi

Superfood: Kimchi

Kimchi is high in fiber and probiotics. Many studies indicate that this fermented Korean dish supports metabolic health and promotes weight loss. One human cell study showed kimchi extended overall lifespan.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in September 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Ages ago, fermentation was a practical process that extended the shelf life of vegetables while boosting the flavor and aroma of the food.

But this process also changes a health food into a true superfood.

During fermentation, bacteria and yeast break down sugars into an acid. This produces a probiotic-rich food that promotes a healthy, balanced microbiome.1

As a result, there are benefits of fermented foods throughout the body, as thousands of studies have demonstrated.

One specific type of fermented food is kimchi, a Korean dish that most often contains cabbage, and that has a unique blend of salty, sour, and savory notes.

Kimchi is a source of protein, fiber, vitamin K, folate, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.1

A test-tube study showed that a main compound found in kimchi (called HDMPPA) had anti-inflammatory properties.2 And a mouse study showed that this compound improved blood vessel function by supporting nitric oxide production and supporting healthy inflammation.3

Numerous studies indicate that consuming kimchi can help support metabolic health and promote weight loss.

For example, when 100 people consumed 15 to 210 grams of kimchi daily for just one week, they experienced decreases in blood sugar and total cholesterol. The greater the amount consumed, the greater the benefit.4

In a study of 22 overweight people, adding kimchi to their diets for four weeks led to reductions in body weight, body mass index, and body fat.5 Individuals also saw decreased blood sugar levels and improvements in blood pressure readings.

Kimchi could even impact aging itself. In a study of human cells, treating them with kimchi increased their viability and extended their overall lifespan.6

Many grocery stores carry kimchi in the produce aisle. You can also find recipes online to make your own homemade kimchi.


  1. Hongu N, Kim AS, Suzuki A, et al. Korean kimchi : promoting healthy meals through cultural tradition. Journal of Ethnic Foods.20172017/09/01/;4(3):172-80.
  2. Jeong JW, Choi IW, Jo GH, et al. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of 3-(4'-Hydroxyl-3',5'-Dimethoxyphenyl)Propionic Acid, an Active Component of Korean Cabbage Kimchi, in Lipopolysaccharide-Stimulated BV2 Microglia. J Med Food. 2015Jun;18(6):677-84.
  3. Noh JS, Choi YH, Song YO. Beneficial effects of the active principle component of Korean cabbage kimchi via increasing nitric oxide production and suppressing inflammation in the aorta of apoE knockout mice. Br J Nutr.2013Jan 14;109(1):17-24.
  4. Choi IH, Noh JS, Han JS, et al. Kimchi, a fermented vegetable, improves serum lipid profiles in healthy young adults: randomized clinical trial. J Med Food.2013Mar;16(3):223-9.
  5. Kim EK, An SY, Lee MS, et al. Fermented kimchi reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight and obese patients. Nutr Res.2011Jun;31(6):436-43.
  6. Bohkyung K. Anti-Aging Effects and Mechanisms of Kimchi During Fermentation Under Stress-Induced Premature Senescence Cellular System. Food Science and Biotechnology.2011;20:643-9.