Hair Loss And Growth

Is this Korean Dish the Answer to Hair Growth?

by Raychel Agramon, June 21, 2021

Is this Korean Dish the Answer to Hair Growth?

Yes, you can eat your way to longer, stronger hair. With probiotic-rich foods such as Kimchi, you may get the healthy tresses you have always wanted.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean side dish made with salted and fermented vegetables such as Korean radish and napa cabbage – a type of Chinese cabbage. It's also flavored with ginger, garlic, spring onions, gochugaru (chili powder), and jeotgal (salted seafood). 

According to historians, Kimchi has been eaten as early as the Silla Dynasty (57 BC - 935 AD). Its popularity boomed because of the practice of Buddhism, which promoted a vegetarian lifestyle. 

To date, there are 167 types of Kimchi – with variations according to ingredients, regions, and forms of preparation. 

What is in Kimchi?

Because of the fermentation process, Kimchi is rich in probiotics – microorganisms that bring a variety of health benefits. For every gram of Kimchi, you can get as much as 107–109 colony-forming units of probiotics – with the most prominent being Lactobacillus plantarum

 Apart from that, Kimchi is also rich in fiber and other nutrients that make kimchi a healthy, low-calorie food. With every serving, you stand to get:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Sodium
  • Potassium 
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous 
  • Phytochemicals 

All in all, these nutrients make kimchi beneficial against obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup), even cancer.

While Kimchi is good enough by itself, the addition of certain ingredients can further amplify its benefits. For one, research by Park and Jeong shows that the addition of Korean mistletoe extract increases Kimchi's anti-cancer effects from 62% to 80%. 

Why is Kimchi Good for Hair?

With Kimchi's many health benefits, it's not surprising that it's good for the hair as well. Its hair growth effects are made possible by the following properties:

Kimchi Helps Boost Immunity

Kimchi's probiotics exert several health benefits, one of which is improving overall immunity. According to a study by Yan and Polk, these organisms make this possible by regulating the immune cells in the gut – and the rest of the body. 

A strong immune system is vital for hair health since it makes the body more resistant to infections that affect the strands. At the same time, a functional immune system may help prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases. One such example is alopecia areata, where the body attacks the follicles – thus resulting in hair loss. 

Kimchi Helps Fight Inflammation

The probiotics in Kimchi work by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, which means it may help keep inflammation at bay. This is not only good for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis – this means Kimchi is good for the hair as well. 

Kimchi’s anti-inflammatory effects mean that it helps fight inflammation, which can trigger hair loss and premature graying. It may also help thwart inflammatory scalp disorders such as folliculitis, where hair loss occurs amongst the injured hair follicles. 

Kimchi is Rich in Antioxidants

Free radicals – which come from exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, X-rays, and chemicals – can end up damaging the hair follicles. As a result, hair growth slows. In some cases, follicle damage may stop hair from growing for good. 

That being said – the body needs to fight these free radicals to prevent their harmful effects. This can be done by consuming antioxidant-rich food sources such as kimchi. After all, it contains Vitamin C and beta-carotene – substances that help fight free radicals. 

Kimchi’s antioxidative effects are highly-documented, with Park and Jeong’s study showing lower free radical cell production in mice fed with Kimchi – compared to those who ate a regular diet. 

In essence, the nutrients in Kimchi may help prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc on the hair – and other parts of the body. 

Kimchi has Anti-Aging Properties

 As you grow older, hair growth slows. Strands become smaller and lighter (graying). As a result, your hair may be less dense – making your scalp more and more visible. 

While aging effects on hair are expected, Kimchi may help delay such occurrences.

Kimchi’s antiaging effects are attributed to the food’s high antioxidant content. As mentioned, they help fight free radicals – substances that cause disease – as well as premature aging. 

That being said, Kimchi’s antioxidative effects may help delay aging – so your hair remains strong and healthy – even as you continue to age. 

Kimchi Helps Normalize Blood Sugar Levels

Kimchi is touted as a good anti-diabetic as it may help lower blood sugar levels with regular consumption. This means that Kimchi may help prevent diabetes complications - one of which is hair loss.

Hair shedding occurs in diabetic individuals due to several factors – high blood sugar, hormonal imbalances, and stress. As such, the goal is to lower glucose levels to avoid its bad effects on the hair. This is possible with Kimchi – which – according to Park and Jeong's study – may help bring down blood sugar levels in about 4 weeks. 

Kimchi Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

With Kimchi’s cholesterol-lowering effects, it may help cut your risks of developing heart disease and stroke. Add to that, this benefit may end up affecting your hair health as well.

High-cholesterol food sources can set off an inflammatory response that affects the blood vessels – as well as the hair. As mentioned, inflammation can trigger hair loss and premature graying. 

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to keep cholesterol levels low. Fortunately, this can be done by eating Kimchi. By doing so, you may decrease your cholesterol levels in as short as 4 weeks. 

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How to Make Kimchi

Baechu or Chinese cabbage kimchi, which is the most common in Korea, is made by trimming and washing the vegetable. It is brined overnight and washed. 

Cabbage is then mixed with sliced radish, red pepper powder, garlic, ginger, fermented anchovy sauce, sugar, green onions, and salt. The mixture is then fermented at 40-74 degrees for best results. 


Kimchi is a healthy, low-calorie food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. These make Kimchi’s immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative effects possible. All in all, these benefits make Kimchi a good food for hair growth. At the same time, regular consumption may help prevent graying as well.