Before any kimchi-lovers tear me apart - I absolutely LOVE kimchi and think it is the best food on earth.
However, I have read a great number of studies that indicate that fermented red pepper contributes to developing stomach cancer. I am not going to provide any links because you can google them - there are more than plenty, and some of the claims are made by Korean scientists themselves.
I myself do not believe that traditionally made kimchi causes cancer, it is probably something else - like adding MSG or sugar or refined salt or ... whatever. But I don't really know and I am interested if somebody else knows the answer to this one.
I have stopped making kimchi and I am making sauerkraut instead for now - till I find out more about this. So... I would love to hear your opinions.
Love to all.
I googled and like I said the first resource was this question?!....then this...
"This was the title to a very interesting article from ABC News back in 2005. During the days of the Bird Flu, scientists found that infected birds that were fed Kimchi (a version of lacto-fermented sauerkraut) started to recover! Another interesting study showed that women who ate 4 or more servings of sauerkraut per week were 74% less likely to develop breast cancer compared to woman who ate less than 1.5 servings a week."
Then several more on the "anti-cancer" constituents of it. Then there are on google scholar just a couple relating the salt content and H.pyori to gastric cancer. I'm on the fence right now. I'll continue to eat it, just not more than a cup/day though. The people who tend to have higher risk eat quite a lot of it:
"Decreased risks of early gastric cancer were observed in association with intakes of clear broth, raw vegetables, fruits, fruit or vegetable juices, and soybean curds. On the other hand, a high intake of salt-fermented fish and kimchi were associated with an elevated risk of early gastric cancer. Subjects with positive H. pylori infection and a high salty preference had a 10-fold higher risk of early gastric cancer than subjects without H. pylori infection and with a low salty preference (p for interaction = 0.047)"
My take away is that you shouldn't ONLY eat fermented foods. Mix in some raw or cooked stuff also.
Paul Jaminet comments on fungi and salt links to cancer. It isn't proof of a cause, but a perspective to consider.
There are definite links between fungi and cancer – I’ll blog about that later – and fungi are most common in sugary kimchis and older kimchis. A lot of store kimchis add sugar so that overnight fermentation is enough, but these will go bad quickly. Also, Asians tend to tolerate sour flavors much better than Americans and will eat old kimchi.
Salt and stomach cancer is the other concern, but we keep salt levels relatively low and although we eat kimchi daily, we don’t eat huge quantities. I’m not concerned.
I’m not worried about our homemade kimchi but I do have a bias toward eating fermented vegetables when they’re relatively fresh. Fungi grow much more slowly than bacteria but they ultimately triumph in any fermentation process.
maybe it's not the kimchi... maybe it's the soju. have you had that stuff? lethal
As a side note, I lived in Korea for 3 months and at the half way mark, developed gastritis. I do not discriminate against any form of chilli. I love it in all forms (including kimchi) and developed a high threshold for it whilst there but in the process was probably overloading my unaccustomed digestive system. Anyway, that was a painful experience. And guess what my homestay korean mother's first recommendation was... more kimchi (needless to say, I was off it by this stage and couldn't think of anything worse, so to the doctor I went crawling).
it really is the antidote for everything. So much so that you'll find in most households a special kimchi fridge where they store their year's supply. Like I'm talking buckets of this stuff.