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Medical Magazine

[June 2020] What Koreans Eat When They Feel Under the Weather
Date 06-16-2020 15:00 Hit131
What Koreans Eat When They Feel Under the Weather

When they feel under the weather, Koreans resort to certain food before going to a doctor. Here are some of the tasty and nourishing Korean dishes you should try when you need some healing.

A cold spell

We may begin experiencing some chills and sore throat when seasons change and it gets drier and chillier outside. Hence, to prevent common colds, Korean housewives would prepare a special homemade tea. Exact recipes vary per family, but most feature boiling balloon flower roots, ginger, green onion roots, jujubes, and pears for a long time. The resulting concoction is typically mixed with honey.

Balloon flower roots contain abundant saponin, a medicinal ingredient found in ginseng and red ginseng. Saponin protects the airways and boosts immunity. Ginger promotes blood circulation, and regulates blood pressure and temperature. Green onion roots are rich in vitamins and potassium, and produce a cooling effect. Jujubes keep the body warm, while pears reduce coughing and phlegm. Honey instantly relieves fatigue, boosts immunity, and adds a sweetness to this homemade tea.

Abalone rice porridge for the bedridden

Abalones were one of the foods that Shi Huang Di of the Qin dynasty often ate to gain immortality. These shellfish rich in vitamins and amino acids boast a superior effect on restoring energy and stamina. Koreans eat rice porridges mixed with various ingredients when they feel sick, have little appetite, or experience difficulty digesting food. Abalone rice porridge is by far among the most popular such porridges. The nutty scent of sesame seed oil makes this dish even more delectable.

Chinese plums for stomachaches

Many Koreans make Chinese plum extracts at the end of spring by mixing unripe Chinese plums with sugar and leaving them to ferment for at least three months. The Chinese plum extract adds a tangy and lively sweetness to various Korean recipes. It can also be mixed with water to make an emergency stomachache relief. The organic acids in Chinese plums promote digestion, and picric acid also strengthens the liver and the bile duct. They are also rich in fatigue-reducing minerals and vitamins.

Piping hot samgyetang to fight the summer heat

Piping hot samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is Koreans’ go-to dish to beat the summer heat. An entire chicken is boiled to chopstick-tenderness with ginseng, milk vetch roots, jujubes, sweet rice, and whole garlic cloves. This hearty soup is full of proteins and amino acids. Ginseng has been known throughout history for its stamina-boosting, body-warming powers. It also facilitates the absorption of nutrients and promotes circulation throughout the body. The saponin in sweet rice and the allicin in garlic also boost immunity.

Seaweed soup for new mothers

Seaweed soup is what every new Korean mother eats after their babies are born. Seaweeds are rich in calcium, iodine, folic acid, and iron—all essential minerals that new mothers need to recover from delivery. Calcium strengthens the bones; iodine facilitates hormonal rebalancing and the discharge of wastes; and folic acid and iron increase blood.