If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or addiction, finding solutions is difficult.
I understand, I suffered with addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol, and food. I also suffered with anxiety and depression for many years.
One of the most powerful solutions to mental illness that is not talked about nearly enough in the U.S. is nutrition.
Thousands of studies have been done on the link between diet and mental health. Through changes in our diet, we can see a transformation in our psychology, leading to a decrease in anxiety, depression, and susceptibility to addiction.
One food that is shown to have profound health effects is kimchi. The kimchi brand I recommend is Choi’s Kimchi.
Read on to find out what kimchi is, and exactly how it can help you feel healthier, happier, and give you a boost in your journey to overcome mental illness.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a highly nutritional probiotic food that is very powerful for gut health and overall physical health and psychology.
Kimchi is made out of napa cabbage, daikon raddish, ginger, garlic, shallots, korean red pepper flakes, and more. Talk about a superfood!
Kimchi is fermented, meaning it contains live, beneficial bacteria.
Further on, I’ll talk more about what fermented foods and live, beneficial bacteria do for our health.
Where Does Kimchi Come From?
Kimchi was originally created in South Korea.
South Koreans eat this superfood at nearly every meal. They believe the nutrition of this food is largely responsible for fighting off all of their infections and respiratory illnesses.
Kimchi is zesty, spicy, and filled with immune-building Lactobacillus bacteria; not to mention massive amounts of vitamins A, B, and C.
Koreans consume an incredible 2 million tons of of this spicy, probiotic food every year. That is 4 trillion pounds.
I’d sure hate to go up against one of them in a hot food eating contest.
Why is Kimchi Good for Gut Health, and Does this Matter for You?
Kimchi is filled with probiotics (good bacteria) that help fight infection, boost immunity, and improve mood and overall well-being.
Consuming kimchi can help heal our gut. Our ‘gut’ mostly refers to our small intestine. Our small intestine has a gut wall that houses the crucial digestive processes in our body.
Without proper balance of the gut, many things go awry in the body, including nutrient malabsorption, hormonal imbalance, and digestive issues.
Our gut depends on good bacteria (probiotics) to fight off bad bacteria and inflammation, keeping our gut wall strong and healthy. When our gut does not get the beneficial bacteria from fermented foods and many nutrients from whole foods like fruits and veggies, this creates inflammation in the gut, as well as the rest of the body (including the brain). This has been directly tied to mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
This is why it is important that we consume many anti-inflammatory foods, and minimize our exposure to inflammatory foods and chemicals.
When we do not consume foods that contain good bacteria, our gut wall can break down, causing us to develop what is known as ‘leaky gut’ - or the more scientific term ‘increased intestinal permeability.’
When our intestines are overrun by bad bacteria, and do not contain the good bacteria needed to keep the bad in check, leaky gut develops.
According to studies, it is likely that leaky gut afflicts a majority of Americans. Leaky gut has been directly linked to autoimmune diseases, autism, anxiety, depression, and cancer.
What Nutrients Does Kimchi Have in it?
Kimchi contains billions of live, probiotic cultures that build up good gut flora and can repair the gut wall.
Probiotic L. Plantarum is shown to repair the gut wall, and to have antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and antidiabetic effects.
Probiotic Leuconostoc is shown to have powerful immune-boosting effects.
Probiotic Weissella is shown to have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.
Kimchi contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This is of course because of the napa cabbage, shallots, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients. But it is also due to the fermentation process.
When a food is fermented, its nutrient content increases substantially, as good bacteria ferment vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, causing them to be more bioavailable to the body.
Kimchi contains a lot of vitamin A, which helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
It also contains multiple B vitamins, which are extremely beneficial for energy, mood, immune health, and assisting with brain fog.
Kimchi has a bunch of vitamin C too, which is anti-inflammatory, and aids in the production of multiple tissues in the body.
Why is Kimchi Good for Your Mental Health?
Our gut health directly determines our brain function in a plethora of ways.
We have what is known as a gut-brain connection. Our gut contains over 100 million neurons, and is now being called the ‘2nd brain’..
Our brain communicates with our gut and our gut with our brain via the vagus nerve. If our gut is out of balance, there is a very good chance that our brain is too, causing anxiety, depression, brain fog, and susceptibility to addiction.
Good bacteria L. Plantarum, which is contained in abundance in Kimchi, has been shown to reduce anxious behavior in mice and significantly increased serotonin and dopamine production in the brain.
Serotonin and dopamine are the main neurotransmitters (i.e. brain chemicals/hormones) involved in mental illness. When these are not being produced or metabolized properly in the gut, our brain suffers and we will almost certainly experience anxiety, depression, and high susceptibility to addiction.
Good bacteria also instigates what is known as neurogenesis in the brain. This is the production of new brain cells and neural connections. Without this, our brain cannot heal, adapt, and overcome.
Kimchi also contains many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, all which are crucial in their effects on mental stability and mood. Kimchi contains an ample amount of vitamins A, B, and C.
Vitamin A, is a crucial component in multiple stages of brain development.
B vitamins are shown to play a large role in motivation, energy, and focus. That is, assuming a person’s body is absorbing vitamin B, which has a much to do with gut health and whether someone has the necessary good bacteria to ferment and assimilate these vitamins.
Vitamin C is involved in the production of dopamine and acetylcholine. Dopamine is also known as our “happy chemical”, as it plays a profound role in motivation, sense of meaning, and overall sense of well-being.
Acetylcholine has been studied at length for its crucial role in memory and focus.
As you can see, multiple contents of kimchi play a profound role in mental health. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Where Can You Buy Kimchi?
One of the best places to buy kimchi is online. It’s shipped right to your door, making it easy to get started eating this probiotic food that is very powerful for your brain.
An excellent and healthy kimchi brand is Choi’s Kimchi.
Choi’s is non-GMO, unpasteurized, and comes in a pouch. This is better than a jar, as Kimchi is fermented and can produce bubbles - which can cause problems in a sealed jar. These guys know what they’re doing.
Get started healing your gut. Improve your hormone production, energy, and overall sense of well-being by eating Choi’s Kimchi. It will benefit your mind and body through fermented nutrients that have been shown to benefit mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and mental instability associated with addiction.
To learn more about fermented foods that can help your psychology, check out my article on sauerkraut, Kimchi’s nutritious cousin.