Nope, Korean skincare products aren't the secret behind Korean women's flawless complexion. Their diet is.
The Korean gorge on fermented foods practically every day (kimchi, everyone?). Traditional dishes like kimchi are loaded with gut-friendly bacteria that help you prevent and treat acne, wrinkles, and even rosacea - giving you the beautiful clear and glowy skin you've always dreamt of.
What Is Fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which a living organism, such as yeast or bacteria, converts a carbohydrate (usually a starch or sugar) into an alcohol or acid.
These little critters break down food into smaller pieces that are more easily absorbed by the body. This make it easier for us to digest these foods and reap all their nutritional benefits. These nutritional benefits are the secret weapon in your beauty tool kit. They give your skincare products a huge helping hand in keeping your skin healthy and young.
How To Add More Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Worry not. You don't need to go all the way to SoKo to get your kimchi fix. The aisles of your supermarkets are full of beautifying fermented foods. You just need to know where to look.
Here are three fermented foods you can incorporate into your diet for a clear and flawless compexion:
If you've ever been to South Korea, you've probably noticed two things. One: Koreans say kimchi instead of cheese when having their photos taken. Two: Koreans have kimchi with practically every meal. This spicy, fermented traditional food is so popular, they put it on everything, from soups and burgers to pancakes!
The traditional recipe calls for the red cabbage to be fermented with red pepper, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and spring onions, but you can find variations that contain cucumbers and even oysters! Kimchi is loaded with lactobacilli, gut-friendly bacteria that aid your body in the digestion process and soothe inflammation. On top of it, kimchi has plenty of antioxidants to fight free radicals and prevent the oxidative damage they cause. In other words: it keeps those premature wrinkles away from your face for way longer.
If you're not ready to drizzle kimchi all over your pancakes yet, try serving it with baked fish or steamed noodles. Or, to top a steak or chicken. Delicious!
The Chinese call it “elixir of life”. We Westerners have nicknamed it “mushroom tea”. Call it what you want, kombucha is the new darling of the health food world.
This fermented drink is made with black tea, sugar and a colony of bacteria and yeast. These little critters initiate the fermentation process, consuming 90% of the sugar while they're at it. Once they've done their job, kombucha becomes carbonated. Now it's rich in vinegar, enzymes, B vitamins, lactic acid, gluconic acid, acetic acid and probiotics and very low in sugar.
I won't lie to you. Kombucha is an acquired taste for some people. But one worth acquiring. Its high acid and enzyme content help your pancreas do its job more effectively and detoxify the liver. Once all those toxins are flushed out of your system, they won't be able to wreak havoc on your skin anymore. Bye bye, pimples!
Sauerkraut is one of the oldest foods known to man. The Ancient Roman writer Cato mentioned he was preserving his cabbage with salt in his work on agriculture all those centuries ago.
Here's how it's done: first you shred the cabbage finely, then you layer it well with salt and then you leave it to ferment. That's it! Anyone can make it, and I do mean anyone. Here's a super easy to follow recipe.
Sauerkrat is a powerful acne buster. It has plenty of bacteria and sulfur, a pimple popper combo that clears up breakouts and keeps skin blemish-free. Plus, it has a good amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that doubles up as a skin brightener. If you fancy flawless, glowing skin, eat half a cup a day. P.S. It goes very well with brown rice.
Other Fermented Foods
If these foods are too adventurous for you, start with something more familiar like Greek yogurt, sour cream or pickles. But, be careful! Most of the ready made products sold in stores aren't made through fermentation. Instead, the veggies are simply soaked in vinegar. That gives them a sour taste alright, but none of the benefits of fermentation. Look for the real deal and choose raw, organic and unpasteurized fermented products.
Switching your Coke for Kombucha may seem hardly worth the hassle, but it can make all the difference between a face full of pimples and a beautiful, clear complexion. Why not give it a go?