One of the things we love to hear at farmers markets and festivals is, "Mmm this tastes exactly like gochujang!" That unique umami flavor that makes K-Mama Sauce so recognizable and distinctive is down to gochujang. For most people, their first introduction to gochujang is through Korean BBQ or the classic Korean rice bowl dish called bibimbap. The red paste that you spread on the meat or mix in with the rice - that's gochujang.
In Korean, gochu means chili pepper and jang means paste. This fermented red pepper paste is a pantry staple in Korean households that dates back many hundreds of years. In fact, during the Joseon dynasty, gochujang was originally introduced as a medicinal food to improve digestive issues.
So what health benefits does consuming gochujang bring?
- Improves your gut health and immune system
- Powerful antioxidant properties
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps prevent heart disease
Because of the fermentation process, gochujang is packed with healthy probiotics and digestive enzymes. Research has shown that our immune system is tied to how good our gut health is.1 If you’d like to kick your gut health up another notch, help yourself to our kimchi rice bowl recipe here!
Like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, the chili peppers in gochujang are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage by free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.2 Not only are antioxidants known for their anti-inflammatory properties,3 some experts also believe that they are key to slowing down the aging process. So keep yourself looking youthful while having more of our sauce!
Trying to burn up extra calories? Add gochujang to your meal! The active component in chili peppers is called capsaicin. One study from the University of Tsukuba in Japan showed that having some red pepper in your meal elevates energy expenditure.4 Other findings also indicate that capsaicin can lower lipid levels and increase metabolism.5 However, tolerance for spicy foods varies from individual to individual and if you’re quite new on your journey to spice, start with a bottle of the Mild.
Heart disease has been the #1 cause of death in the USA for a while now. And that is typically due to the buildup of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. But participants in one study who took a gochujang supplement not only saw a decrease in visceral fat (fat wrapped around organs deep inside your body) but also had lower triglyceride levels.6 In fact, because my family has a history of high blood pressure and my wife herself was born with severely high triglyceride levels, we include these heart-healthy recipes (Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl and Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas) as part of our household menu rotation.
So, grab yourself some of our sauce, make some delicious food and share it with friends and family. Because ultimately, we believe that food is about bringing people together. And surrounding yourself with people you love is the best thing you can do for your health!
1Fields, Helen. The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/advancements-in-research/fundamentals/in-depth/the-gut-where-bacteria-and-immune-system-meet
2Nishino H, Tokuda H, Satomi Y, Masuda M, Osaka Y, Yogosawa S, Wada S, Mou XY, Takayasu J, Murakoshi M, Jinnno K, Yano M. Cancer prevention by antioxidants. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):57-61. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520220110. PMID: 15630252.
3Mangge H, Becker K, Fuchs D, Gostner JM. Antioxidants, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. World J Cardiol. 2014 Jun 26;6(6):462-77. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v6.i6.462. PMID: 24976919; PMCID: PMC4072837.
4Yoshioka M, Lim K, Kikuzato S, Kiyonaga A, Tanaka H, Shindo M, Suzuki M. Effects of red-pepper diet on the energy metabolism in men. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1995 Dec;41(6):647-56. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.41.647. PMID: 8926537.
5Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD. The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Senses. 2012 Feb;37(2):103-21. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr100. Epub 2011 Oct 29. PMID: 22038945; PMCID: PMC3257466.
6Cha YS, Kim SR, Yang JA, Back HI, Kim MG, Jung SJ, Song WO, Chae SW. Kochujang, fermented soybean-based red pepper paste, decreases visceral fat and improves blood lipid profiles in overweight adults. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Feb 26;10(1):24. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-24. PMID: 23442518; PMCID: PMC3599636.