Kimchi Consumption Linked to Healthier Cholesterol Levels in Large Study

Jenn Hoskins
22nd May, 2024

Kimchi Consumption Linked to Healthier Cholesterol Levels in Large Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study, conducted in Korea, explored the impact of kimchi consumption on blood lipid levels among adults
  • Higher intake of Baechu kimchi (2-<3 servings/day) was linked to improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially in women
  • In men, Baechu kimchi consumption was associated with increased levels of good cholesterol (HDL-C)
Dyslipidemia, characterized by abnormal levels of lipids in the blood, is a significant global health challenge linked to cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. Researchers from Chung-Ang University aimed to explore the potential impact of kimchi consumption on serum lipid profiles among Korean adults[1]. This study is especially relevant given the growing interest in dietary interventions to manage dyslipidemia. The study utilized data from the Health Examinees (HEXA) cohort, comprising 61,761 participants aged 40-69 years. Researchers assessed the intake of four types of kimchi—Baechu kimchi (cabbage kimchi), Kkakdugi (radish kimchi), Nabak kimchi/Dongchimi (a type of water kimchi made with fermented vegetables), and other kimchi—using a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline and follow-up visits to measure changes in serum lipid profiles over an average follow-up period of nearly five years. The findings revealed that higher consumption of Baechu kimchi (2-<3 servings/day) was associated with favorable changes in serum lipid profiles, particularly in women. Specifically, there were negative correlations with changes in total cholesterol (β: -1.600, 95% CI [-2.744, -0.456]), triglycerides (β: -3.372, 95% CI [-5.414, -1.330]), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (β: -1.155, 95% CI [-2.214, -0.095]). In men, Baechu kimchi intake was positively correlated with changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels (β: 0.049, 95% CI [0.031, 0.907]). These results suggest that regular consumption of Baechu kimchi could contribute to improved lipid profiles, thus potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This aligns with previous findings that certain foods and bioactive components can positively impact lipid profiles[2]. For instance, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, soluble fiber, vegetable proteins, phytosterols, and polyphenols have been identified as beneficial in controlling dyslipidemias. Kimchi, being rich in bioactive compounds, may offer similar benefits through its lipid-lowering, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties[3]. Interestingly, the study's findings on the non-linear association between serum folate concentrations and dyslipidemia prevalence provide additional context[4]. While folate intake's relationship with lipid levels appeared complex, the current study's focus on kimchi—a food rich in various nutrients—highlights the broader potential of dietary interventions in managing dyslipidemia. In conclusion, the study conducted by Chung-Ang University adds valuable insights into the potential health benefits of kimchi consumption, particularly Baechu kimchi, in improving serum lipid profiles. These findings underscore the importance of dietary choices in managing dyslipidemia and suggest that incorporating kimchi into regular diets could be a beneficial strategy for cardiovascular health. Further research is needed to confirm these associations and explore the underlying mechanisms.



Main Study

1) Association between traditional Korean fermented vegetables (kimchi) intake and serum lipid profile: using the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES) cohort.

Published 21st May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Impact of nutrients and food components on dyslipidemias: what is the evidence?

3) Beneficial Effects of Kimchi, a Korean Fermented Vegetable Food, on Pathophysiological Factors Related to Atherosclerosis.

4) Non-linear association between serum folate concentrations and dyslipidemia: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2016-2018.

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