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‘Kimchi Cures All’ and 8 Other Food Myths Worldwide

‘Kimchi Cures All’ and 8 Other Food Myths Worldwide

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Supposedly kimchi every day keeps the doctor away in Korea

Whether or not you believe them, these cultures live (and eat) according to these beliefs.

If anything could disarm a nuclear bomb, it would be kimchi — at least that’s what Koreans like to say. They eat kimchi several times a day, believing that the superfood can prevent and heal any kind of ailment, supposedly even broken bones. This may sound far-fetched, but Koreans swear by it.

‘Kimchi Cures All’ and 8 Other Worldwide Food Myths (Slideshow)

Every culture has its own beliefs surrounding food and dining etiquette — often having to do with the healing powers of a certain food, whether it will bring good or bad fortune, or just a tradition that has lived on for centuries.

In Chinese culture, long noodles symbolize a long life. If you cut noodles before serving them to someone, you’re cutting short the life of that person. In Yoro, Honduras, it’s said that fish literally fall from the sky on one night of the year, called “lluvia de peces,” meaning “rain of fish.” And in France, hunger and misfortune will come to anyone who handles a loaf of bread upside-down or places it on the table upside-down.

They can seem like myths. But whether or not you believe them, many cultures live (and eat) according to these beliefs.

12 Grapes at Midnight — Mexico and Spain

Each of 12 grapes eaten at the chime of midnight on New Year’s Eve represents a wish and brings good luck in the new year.

Chewing Gum at Night — Turkey

If you’re chewing gum at night in Turkey, you’re chewing the flesh of the dead.

See more food myths people believe around the world.

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.

Coronavirus: Top 11 Popular Food Myths Around The Disease Busted


Novel Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on planet Earth, with several countries greatly affected by the pandemic. Since the crisis is unprecedented and new to humankind, there has also been a rise of rapid spread of misinformation along with it. There are many alternative cures and preventive measures doing the rounds on the internet. While some home remedies claim that they can cure people infected by the virus, other suggest that they will help avoid the virus in the first place. A fact check reveals that most of them are untrue, as clarified by certified health organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Press Information Bureau and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. People are also saying that the virus spreads through various food items, which is a complete myth.

There are some spicy dishes, but compared to other cuisines, it ain’t all that spicy. Kimchi can be hot when it’s young, but it mellows with age. I’ve had Thai, Indian, Mexican, and even American dishes that were spicier than most Korean foods I’ve eaten. The chilies used in Korean dishes, though, have a delayed heat. Do be careful. It may be fine now, but a few bites later all that heat will catch up with you. Nonetheless, American introductions that talk about the “spicy cabbage” and Korean assumptions that non-Koreans can’t eat their food because it’s too spicy–let’s put those to rest.

Why choose fermented foods?

The current interest in fermented foods is less to do with food preservation and more to do with the bacteria that are produced during fermentation. Fermentation increases the bacteria in the foods (which is why they are called probiotic foods). Regularly eating fermented foods is like taking probiotic capsules – we can positively influence the bacteria that grow in our digestive system. Fermentation also helps to pre-digest the food, which means it is often easier to digest, and vitamins and minerals are in a form that is easier for the body to use. The amounts of vitamins A, B, C and K also increase during fermentation. Other byproducts of fermentation have been shown to reduce inflammation and have metabolic effects on the body.

Kimchi, cow poop and other spurious coronavirus remedies

BEIJING — The new coronavirus has killed more than 300 people in China and infected thousands more. As the virus spreads and with no cure in sight, some people are looking to alternative remedies to protect them from infection or cure themselves if they’ve already contracted it.

Here are some of the theories floating around. Some of these have been proposed by medical doctors, and some of them are just common sense. Others, not so much.

As the ads say: If your symptoms persist or get worse, see your physician.


Traditional Chinese medicine for humans (and cows and chickens)

Chinese people have been flocking to buy Shuanghuanglian — literally “double yellow connect” — an herbal remedy that follows the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The liquid is made from the bud of the Lonicera japonica flower, and the fruit of Forsythia suspensa and Scutellaria baicalensis plants.

The Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, part of the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, has said that the medicine could help inhibit the coronavirus.

State media including the Xinhua News Agency and CCTV have reported that clinical trials suggested the medicine might be effective, leading to long queues at TCM outlets around the country. Major Chinese e-commerce platforms including and are out of stock of Shuanghuanglian.

After some criticism about its endorsement of the product, the Shanghai Institute doubled down, saying its findings were endorsed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology as accurate.

What it does

As with so many fads, fermentation is nothing new. Humans have been harnessing the natural action of microorganisms to preserve food for thousands of years. In fact, as “fermentation revivalist” and pickle evangelist Sandor Katz put it on a recent edition of Radio 4’s Food Programme: “Humans did not invent or create fermentation. It would be more accurate to state that fermentation created us.”

In simple terms, fermentation involves the use of micro-organisms to transform food from one state to another – sort of like cooking, but without the application of heat. In the right conditions, bacteria and yeasts will start to convert the natural sugars in foods into other compounds, such as alcohol or lactic acid. This not only inhibits the growth of other potentially more harmful bacteria, but also changes the flavour of the food concerned – the distinctive tang of yoghurt, for example, is produced by microbes feeding on the lactose in milk. It also, helpfully, slows the spoiling process.

Beer and wine are fermented foods, as are bread, sauerkraut, olives, cured meats, chocolate, coffee, miso, many cheeses and various kinds of pickles – “all the really good stuff,” as food writer Michael Pollan puts it. So, the good news is that you are probably eating a few already. They exist in what Katz describes as the “creative space between fresh and rotten food, where most of human culture’s most prized delicacies and culinary achievements exist”.

But, although interesting flavours are a handy side-effect, it is the microbial content that has got health types excited – because bacteria are big news these days. More specifically, the 39tn microbes, weighing about as much as your brain, that live happily in your gut, the makeup of which, some evidence suggests, may have a significant effect on everything from your long-term weight to your current mood.

A jar of kombucha, with the ‘mother’ fungus visible. Photograph: Devin_Pavel/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Outta My Way! Foods That May Clear Your Arteries and Make Your Heart Happy

Fatty deposits and other waste particles from food can clog your arteries. But which foods can help you avoid this? And why does it matter?

Well, your arteries send oxygen all around your body via your blood. When they clog up, your blood doesn’t flow as it should.

This clogging may contribute to atherosclerosis (plaque on the artery walls) and heart disease. Neither of those is a good thing, and oxygen is awesome. It’s not a hard choice.

In a 2021 report, the American Heart Association noted that in the long term, even slightly increased levels of fatty deposits in your blood can lead to heart disease.

You may wonder what medical interventions are necessary to clean artery walls. But the good news is that you can help prevent the issue by making healthier choices about the food you put in your shopping basket (and belly).

The fruit and veg aisle is full of unassuming foods that can keep your heart healthy and help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries.

Eat these to help prevent clogging in your arteries:

Dietary choices alone can’t fully clear your arteries, but they can help you prevent progression to heart disease. And they might reduce clogging in the first place.

Read on for a double rainbow of ingredients you can add to your shopping list as artery artillery. Noms away!

Share on Pinterest Claudia Totir/Getty Images

These foods can help keep your arteries wide open and super healthy.


From the sweet strawberry to the sour cranberry, these small fruits can pack a potent punch in the fight to clear arteries.

They contain polyphenols, including flavonoids. These are plant compounds that have antioxidant effects, meaning they help protect cells throughout your bod.

Flavonoids help reduce the risk factors for atherosclerosis, including:

The many nutrients in berries can help your body reduce inflammation, slow the buildup of cholesterol, and protect against cellular damage. All these benefits help prevent clogged arteries.

So thank you, thank you berry much.


The humble bean. Packed full of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, it may help improve the expansion of your arteries and reduce cholesterol and inflammation.

This versatile staple of recipes worldwide has been subject to research that suggests eating beans may help reduce LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure levels, and improve artery function.

Beans can also be good for your gut bacteria (a friendly army in your belly). Research suggests that happy gut bacteria might also support better heart and artery health.

Mung, soy, kidney, navy, pinto, garbanzo — you’ve bean told.

Eating fish has net benefits (and yes, good puns work on a sliding scale) (OK, double groan).

Fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of atherosclerosis. Research has shown that people who eat more fish tend to be at a lower risk of developing atherosclerosis than those who eat less fish.

Many studies point to omega-3 fatty acids as a key component in helping to reduce the body’s inflammation response to fatty deposits.

Fish may not be your dish. Or you might have concerns about sustainability and fishing practices. Don’t get in a flap! You can also find omega-3 supplements derived from plant sources like algae, which will still provide benefits.

Tomato products (including tomatoes)

Tomato and tomato products provide lycopene, a compound that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

A 2020 study found high levels of lycopene in the bloodstreams of people with type 2 diabetes, which suggests tomatoes might help prevent atherosclerosis.

A diet for healthy arteries can easily accommodate this flexible foodstuff (but ketchup doesn’t count).


No need to cry. Research suggests the mighty onion can help:

  • reduce inflammation
  • improve fat levels in the bloodstream
  • reduce blood pressure
  • reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

How do you move from clogged arteries to something much, much worse?

  1. Fibrous and fatty materials build up on the inside of your arteries throughout your life, starting when you’re young.
  2. These deposits aren’t useful to your body, so it treats them like a threat, similar to an allergen or harmful bacteria. This causes an inflammatory response on the artery wall.
  3. The artery repairs the inflamed area with a kind of scar.
  4. The damage hardens over time, forming plaque.
  5. Like tiling a wall, this gradually makes the inside circumference of the artery narrower.
  6. This restricts blood flow because there’s less space for blood to move through the artery.
  7. Plaque can rupture and break off. This creates more serious blockages called embolisms.

You want to catch this process as early as you can. That’s why your diet can be so important in reducing heart problems further down the line.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits (oranges, satsumas, limes, lemons, grapefruit, and kumquats) provide freakin’ fantastic flavonoids.

These compounds can be effective in fighting cardiovascular disease and clogged arteries (although researchers are still putting together exactly how they do this).

Mandarin orange peel oil has shown potential to prevent atherosclerosis by reducing fat buildup and cell damage. How this translates to eating the pulp and juice of a mandarin isn’t clear. (And who just stands there chomping on orange peels?)


Spice up your life — and rack up some health points while you’re at it.

Research suggests several spices could prevent clogged arteries, including:

  • black pepper
  • clove
  • cilantro
  • saffron
  • anise
  • dill
  • rosemary
  • tarragon

You’re rarely going to eat enough of these spices to make a huge difference in your nutrient intake. But they may help protect your arteries and can make your food taste gosh-darned amazing. So sprinkle away.


Research suggests flaxseed has significant lipid-lowering effects. Lower lipids (fats in your blood) mean less plaque buildup in your arteries and more smiles for your heart (figuratively speaking — that would be hella weird in real life).

Flaxseed provides alpha-lipoic acid, antioxidants called lignans, and a bunch of fiber, so adding it to your diet may help reduce your risk of atherosclerosis.

Flaxseed is also anti-inflammatory, may help lower cholesterol, and may even help regulate heart rhythms. So sprinkle it on oatmeal, sling it into a smoothie, or mix it into some yogurt.

Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kale, brussels sprouts, watercress, and cabbage are among the vegetables that make up the Cruciferous Crew.

Members of this varied group of veggies are nutrient-rich and pack loads of health benefits, including:

They reduce the incidence of chronic diseases and may help prevent atherosclerosis. Don’t mess with Cruciferous Crew.


Just beet it! Research suggests red beets can support cardiovascular health.

Juiced, fermented, baked, or in supplement form, beets are more than just a pretty-colored root.

Your diet isn’t the only thing that can increase your likelihood of clogged arteries. Several habits and environmental factors can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, including:

Oats and oats alone contain polyphenols called avenanthramides (try saying that with a mouthful of porridge… or just call ’em AVNs).

AVNs have an important anti-inflammatory effect that disrupts plaque formation. AVNs also have vasodilation effects, meaning they help blood vessels expand, giving the blood more room to flow.

You know those elastic-waist sweatpants you’ve loved for years? Oats can give your blood vessels that same cozy feeling.

Nuts and seeds

Research suggests that oxidative stress can make clogged arteries worse. Eating foods with a whole bunch of dietary antioxidants may reduce oxidative stress — and nuts fall squarely in this category. These antioxidants can put a pin in plaque development.

It’s worth switching from a less healthy snack to nuts, because they provide:

  • antioxidants
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • fiber
  • plant sterols
  • phenolic compounds

Leafy greens

Strong to the finish if you eats your spinach. Studies back Popeye’s endorsement of this leafy green.

Leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and chard can give your heart health a boost that could make Olive Oyl swoon.

Olive oil

Look at that — another accidental Popeye reference.

No Mediterranean kitchen is complete without a bottle of olive oil. This healthy fat also makes appearances in many an article about cardiovascular disease prevention.

Studies suggest that including extra-virgin olive oil in your diet can reduce inflammation and other complications of clogged arteries. Researchers attribute this to — you guessed it — high polyphenol content.

Cocoa and dark chocolate

If you’re loco for cocoa, you’ll be glad to hear it’s a plentiful source of plant compounds.

Cocoa polyphenols cause your body to release nitric oxide, a naturally occurring compound that has a vital role in relaxing blood vessels to improve circulation.


Kimchi is a side dish of fermented vegetables common in Korean cuisine. According to a 2018 review, it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering properties.

The British are famous for touting the benefits of a cup o’ cha (and for pilfering it from other countries, but that’s for another article).

Green, black, and (if you feel fancy) hibiscus teas have all scored points in the lab for their artery-cleansing (and palate-cleansing) properties.

The active compounds in the green and black varieties are called catechins. The ones in hibiscus are called anthocyanins. Both have mucho benefits for your blood vessels.

What do clogged arteries mean for your bod? Well, they increase your risk of several health issues:

  • Aneurysm. This is a bulge in a blood vessel that can burst, causing a medical emergency.
  • Angina. This refers to short periods of tight, dull, or heavy chest pain that occur due to coronary heart disease. Angina may signal an imminent heart attack — don’t ignore it.
  • Coronary heart disease. This can develop when your arteries don’t deliver enough oxygen to your heart.
  • Heart attack. ’Nuff said.
  • Peripheral arterial disease. This is a blockage in the blood supply to your legs that causes leg pain when you walk.
  • Stroke. A stroke can occur if blocked blood vessels stop oxygen from reaching your brain.
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). These are temporary symptoms of a stroke, sometimes called mini-strokes.

Diet isn’t a cure-all, and these conditions depend on a lot of other factors and habits. But certain food choices can help reduce your risk of these health issues.

Some foods are a nom-nom no-no for artery health.

Red and processed meats

Some say the route to the heart is through the stomach. And the route to heart health may well be, according to many research studies in a 2020 review.

Red meat consumption has links to gut health, which can be linked to heart health and arterial plaque — in a bad way.

The gut is its own ecosystem, using nutrients and producing by-products on a microscopic level. When you eat and digest red meat, bacteria living in your gut use it as fuel too.

Compounds specific to red meat cause your gut bacteria to produce certain by-products that studies have linked to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular issues.

Processed foods

The USDA defines a processed food as one that has had any changes to its natural state.

  • heating
  • pasteurizing
  • canning
  • freezing
  • drying
  • dehydrating
  • adding preservatives, flavors, and other food additives

Consider how much the processing has changed the nutritional value of the food. It’s a good idea to choose less-processed options when possible.

Ultraprocessed foods — those in which the food substance is very different from the raw ingredients — have much higher levels of compounds frequently linked to heart disease.

Research suggests that diets high in ultraprocessed food may double your risk of clogged arteries. *Rustling ensues as a bag of Cheetos slowly edges back into the bushes…*

Refined carbs

Refined or “simple” carbohydrates are either naturally low in dietary fiber and nutrients or have lost beneficial nutrients and fiber during processing.

A report from 2020 says that eating less refined carbs makes a big difference for clear arteries.

Having too much blood sugar whizzing through your blood vessels can make the artery walls weaker, more leaky, and more at risk of plaque buildup. Swapping refined carbs for foods with more fiber will not only help your heart and your gut but also keep you feeling full longer! (And they’re delicious.)


Research suggests that high alcohol consumption and binge drinking are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

To keep this risk in check, the CDC recommends that men limit their alcohol intake to two drinks or less per day and women stick to one drink or less per day.

A 2019 study in people with higher risks of heart problems found that those following a Mediterranean diet were less likely to experience serious heart problems than people following a reduced-fat diet.

The tradizionale Mediterranean diet:

  • includes lots of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals
  • includes moderate amounts of fish and poultry
  • is low in dairy, red meat, processed meats, and sugars

Short on ideas? No problemo! Here are 22 ways to get a taste of the Mediterranean diet.

How Does Fermentation Work?

Fermentation is defined as the chemical breakdown of a substance (such as sugar) in an environment without oxygen and with beneficial organisms present, such as yeast, mold, or bacteria. When fermentation occurs, these organisms break down sugar or starches into gases, alcohol, or organic acids, such as lactic acid or acetic acid, the compound that gives apple cider vinegar its powerful antibacterial health benefits. ( 3 )

Not all fermented foods contain gut-friendly probiotics. For example, sourdough bread is fermented with yeast but is baked at such a high temperature that the probiotics are destroyed. Beer, wine, and spirits are common fermented beverages, but the high alcohol content kills off all beneficial bacteria — not to mention they can harm your gut and liver.

So what should you eat? Here are eight nutritious, probiotic-rich fermented foods you can start adding to your diet today.

You Only Need Fiber to Stay Regular


"This one I hear a lot from clients. They'll say they don't need to increase fiber because they're regular. But fiber isn't just about your digestive system," says Brissette. A high-fiber diet includes loads of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, reducing your risk of chronic conditions including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Because it keeps your appetite in check, it helps control your weight. Getting a healthy dose of daily fiber lowers your risk of colorectal cancer by keeping things moving in your digestive tract. And the prebiotics in some types of fiber feed the good bacteria in your gut, which have been shown to boost your immune system and mental health.

About This Article

To make kimchi, first thoroughly wash your hands so you don't transfer bacteria to any of the ingredients since bacteria can disrupt the kimchi’s fermentation process. Then, cut a head of napa cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter into small vertical strips. Set the cabbage in a mixing bowl and add ¼ cup (60 g) of non-iodized salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage and let it sit for 2 hours. Next, rinse the cabbage under lukewarm water for a few minutes to remove the excess salt. Dry the cabbage off with paper towels. Now, peel 7 garlic cloves and place them inside a clean food processor. Add a peeled stalk of ginger roughly 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) in length, 1 tablespoon (4 g) of sugar, and 3 tablespoons (30 mL) of fish sauce. Blitz the ingredients on high for 30 seconds until the texture is smooth. Then, pour in 1-5 tablespoons (5-25 g) of Korean red pepper flakes based on how spicy you like your kimchi. Stir the ingredients in your processor to make sure they’ve combined. Next, chop the cabbage up into bite-sized pieces and place them in a clean mixing bowl. Peel an 8-ounce (230 g) daikon radish and dice it up into thin strips. Add the radish to your mixing bowl. Then, cut 4 green onions into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and throw them in the bowl as well. Pour the pepper paste from the food processor on top of your ingredients and mix everything together with a spoon. Now, pack the mixture into a clean glass jar as densely as you can while leaving a little space at the top. Seal the jar with a lid and leave it out at room temperature in a dark part of your home for 2-5 days to ferment. The longer you let it ferment, the sourer and softer the kimchi will be. If you wait 2 days, the kimchi will be crunchy and sweet, while waiting 5 days will result in soft and sharp kimchi. Once you’re done letting it ferment, place your kimchi in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process and store it. Your kimchi will last for 2-3 months. For specific ingredients and measurements, read on!


  1. Airdsgainne

    Sorry for interfering ... I am familiar with this situation. Let's discuss. Write here or in PM.

  2. Dealbeorht

    Don't take yourself to heart!

  3. Keene

    wise is not the one who knows a lot, but the one whose knowledge is useful =)

  4. Neshakar

    very real

  5. Daira

    What a curious topic

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