Kimchi is a staple Korean dish comprised of salted and fermented vegetables. That said, how will this affect your poop? Keep reading to find out!
According to Healthline, fermented foods like Kimchi can help to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut which can alleviate digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. They may also lessen the severity of diarrhea, bloat, and constipation. However, studies have shown that kimchi itself only slightly increased the frequency of bowel movements.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects of fermented foods on your bowel movements and digestion!
Do Fermented Foods Make You Poop?
There is growing evidence to support the fact that fermented foods, such as kimchi, may help to prevent and treat constipation and even diarrhea. This is due to the fact that they boost intestinal health by improving levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, according to PubMed.
While it may sound counter-intuitive to say, fermented foods may make you constipated in the short-term, with “short-term” being the operative word. Introducing large amounts of probiotic bacteria can result in rapid changes in your gut flora which can cause constipation for a short while.
However, in the long-run, the beneficial bacteria contained in fermented foods should help your stools to become more regular and easier to pass.
Insider Tip: If you want to consume fermented foods or take probiotic supplements, it is always better to start slow and gradually increase your intake.
“In the long run, the beneficial bacteria they contain should help to improve your digestion and boost your immunity. But in the short-term, introducing large amounts of probiotic bacteria can lead to rapid changes in your gut flora that cause constipation.”Lisa Richards, Nutritionist
Does Kimchi Help With Digestion?
Kimchi can be beneficial for your digestion in two main ways which will be explained further below:
Kimchi Helps To Alleviate IBS Symptoms
The probiotics produced during the fermentation process can help to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and also relieve digestive problems such as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to studies.
One 6-week study with 274 adults with IBS discovered that eating 4.4 ounces (125 grams) of yogurt-like fermented milk every day improved their symptoms of IBS, including bloat and stool frequency. Additionally, fermented foods such as kimchi can decrease the severity of bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, according to studies.
For this reason, people who struggle with digestive problems such as the ones mentioned above should certainly incorporate more fermented foods into their diets, as they can help improve gut health and digestion.
Kimchi Makes Food Easier to Digest
The fermentation helps to break down nutrients in the foods you eat, which makes them easier to digest than foods that have not been fermented. As an example, lactose, a natural sugar found in milk, is broken down during fermentation into simple sugars, known as galactose and glucose.
Due to this, people who are lactose intolerant will have no problems consuming fermented dairy products such as kefir and yogurt. Additionally, fermentation assists by breaking down and eliminating antinutrients (phytates and lectins) which are compounds located in nuts, grains, and seeds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients.
This means that choosing foods that are fermented over those that are not (especially when it comes to beans or legumes) will boost the absorption of beneficial nutrients, according to studies.
Can Kimchi Cause Stomach Problems?
While we know that fermented foods can offer us a variety of health benefits, this may not be the case for everyone. In fact, for some people fermented foods can cause serious health complications, such as the ones below:
One of the most common reactions to fermented foods such as kimchi is bloating and gas. This is due to excess gas production after the probiotics kill harmful bacteria in the gut as well as fungi. The probiotics secrete antimicrobial peptides that destroy dangerous pathogenic organisms such as E. Coli and Salmonella.
While bloating and gas is never fun, in a case like this, this is actually a sign that your body is getting rid of harmful bacteria in your gut. That said, for some people this pain from the bloat can be extremely overwhelming.
2. Histamine Intolerance
If you are intolerant to histamines, fermented foods may be an issue for you. Histamine is highly prevalent in fermented foods, and for most, these are naturally digested.
However, some people do not produce sufficient enzymes to digest this, meaning the histamine is not digested and will be fully absorbed into the bloodstream. This can cause a variety of histamine intolerance symptoms such as the following, according to Independent:
- Runny nose
- Eye redness
- Diarrhea and nausea
3. Food-borne Illnesses
While most fermented foods are generally safe, it is not impossible for them to become contaminated with bacteria that can result in serious illness. In 2012, there was an outbreak of 89 cases of salmonella in the US as a result of unpasteurized tempeh.
While most fermented foods are safe, it’s still possible for them to get contaminated with bacteria that can cause illness. In 2012, there was an outbreak of 89 cases of salmonella in the US because of unpasteurized tempeh.
In fact, two large outbreaks of Escherichia coli were reported in South Korean schools between 2013 and 2014, and these were linked with consuming contaminated kimchi.
In most cases, the probiotics located in fermented products can effectively halt the growth of certain bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcal enterotoxins which are known to result in food poisoning. In certain cases, the probiotics do not succeed and the bacteria can secrete toxins, which may make them hazardous.
How Much Kimchi Should You Eat Per Day?
There is very little evidence indicating that there is a certain daily allowance of kimchi that a person can safely consume. However, it is important to consider your current gut health. If you eat a diet high in processed foods, begin with small portions of fermented foods.
Bacteria in your stomach feed off the sugar in fermented foods. If you are consuming processed foods in excess, it’ll feed off that as well. This produces a lot of gas, leaving you bloated and in pain. Not ideal!
Begin with a small teaspoon of kimchi with your next meal if you suspect your gut isn’t in the best shape, and limit this to one meal daily. You can gradually build your way up (as you enjoy a whole food, fiber-rich diet) to one or two tablespoons with two meals per day.
Is it OK to eat kimchi everyday?
Eating kimchi every day is completely fine, so long as you follow the above tips when it comes to portion size. In fact, a one-week long study involving 100 people found that consuming 0.5 to 7.5 ounces of kimchi per day decreased blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and LDL (bad cholesterol).
These are all risk factors for heart disease, meaning you should certainly incorporate more kimchi into your daily diet!
Is kimchi safe for everyone to eat?
Generally, kimchi is safe for anyone to eat unless you have a certain allergy to the ingredients. It may also cause a few side effects such as bloat and gas if you are not accustomed to fermented foods or foods that are high in fiber in your diet.
Does kimchi make you fart?
Since kimchi is known to make you bloated, it is not unusual to experience gas, especially since kimchi is made with cabbage (a notorious bloat-inducer).