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Our Favorite Asian Pantry Items that Promote Gut Health

by Ruby April 09, 2021

FreshZen Gochujang

Believe it or not, we are covered by a plethora of microbes both inside and out. You might be thinking: wait a second, aren’t those microorganisms supposed to be harmful pathogens? The truth is, it depends on which microbes you are talking about. In fact, many microbes carry essential roles in our bodily functions, such as breaking down the food we eat, working alongside our immune system, providing nutrients for other cells in the body, and regulating metabolism. What’s more, our gut microbiome is able to change its composition based on what food we eat. You’ve probably heard those beneficial probiotics in yogurt a thousand times, but what if I tell you those magical microbes are present in many popular Asian foods as well? 

We’ve already briefly touched on the powerful effects that ginger and garlic have on our immune systems, but there’s more to these ingredients in FreshZen’s Asian pesto sauce. In this blog, I will continue to introduce you to some of our favorite condiments that also promote gut microbiome health. 


If you ever experience bloating and cannot figure out why, try incorporating some garlic in your meal. High in inulin, a type of fiber key to our gut microbiome, garlic helps to promote the growth of “good” bacteria in our gut while also preventing those disease-prone ones at the same time. Not sure about how to cook with garlic? Our Asian pesto is here to help. Simply adding a scoop of ginger scallion garlic pesto to your weeknight stir fry or ramen bowl will do the trick. 


Similar to garlic, ginger also has body healing effects. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can easily reduce the risk of gut diseases and digestive issues. Studies have shown that the presence of ginger in your everyday meal can smooth the movement of food through your intestinal tract, thereby improving digestion and reducing intestinal cramping.  


Homemade miso soup with silken tofu had always made my day when my mom cooked it when I was a child. But it wasn’t until much later that I realized the health benefits of this fermented soybean paste besides its rich flavor. Originated in Japan, miso is believed to stimulate digestion as it contains a ton of beneficial bacteria. These probiotics then enrich our intestinal flora, boosting a healthy, vibrant gut microbiome.  


Moving on to one of my favorite side dishes: kimchi. This fermented cabbage can be easily made at home as long as you’ve got a jar, Korean chili seasonings, and some cabbage. The fermentation process breaks the sugar down into lactic acid, providing you with that characteristic sourness and also allowing for healthy bacteria to thrive. As we take good care of our gut health, our immune system will also improve. 


If you’ve ever tried bibimbap — a traditional Korean hot stone rice dish — then Gochujang might sound familiar to you. This fermented red chili paste is a condiment that is often used in traditional Korean cuisines. Whenever you are down for a spicy punch, make gochujang your friend by mixing it with roasted vegetables, tossed into noodles, or add to rotisserie chicken. Similar to kimchi, it is exactly the fermentation process that enhances the growth of the good microbes that promote a healthy digestive tract. 

In a nutshell, microbes are our friends. So continue to enjoy the deliciousness that these Asian condiments bring and embrace the health benefits that microbes offer us. 



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