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A Guide to Healthy Living The Korean Way


Thanks to the unparalleled acclaim of the Oscar-winning black comedy Parasite, Netflix numero uno series, Squid Game, and the Billboard reigning boy band BTS, obsession with Korean culture is blowing up the charts worldwide. Additionally, the advent of Korean skincare and influx of dedicated K-beauty products in global markets, has led to a craze, beyond belief. Koreans are also famous for following a healthy diet and lifestyle. Known for their glass skin and fit self at any age, their focus on nutrition is supported by a strong emphasis on exercise.

Food has been viewed as medicine throughout its history and the Korean culture reiterates food as a source of nourishment and healing. Typically featuring seasoned vegetable sides, soup, kimchi, rice and seafood, the traditional Korean cuisine is generally healthy. Besides fermentation, grilling, boiling, pickling, and blanching are common cooking methods.

Foods to eat

The basic Korean diet is based on minimally-processed and whole foods. Following foods are encouraged to be consumed:

Vegetables: Raw, cooked, or fermented, no veggies are off-limits.

Fruit: Being the most healthy and natural substitute for sweets, all fruits are welcome.

Protein-rich animal products: Eggs, fish, meat and seafood, all in small portions.

Meat substitutes: Dried shiitake, Tofu, king oyster mushrooms often replace meat in Korean recipes.

Rice: White rice and rice noodles in many recipes are promoted on this diet. Dumplings, pancakes, or glass noodles constitute great alternatives to rice.

Foods to avoid

The Korean diet does not promote the consumption of wheat- and dairy-containing foods. Strictly against snacking between meals, the diet discourages processed, overly fatty, or sugary foods. It doesn’t imply one has to completely cut these foods out, the idea is to essentially greatly reduce intake of the following foods:

  • Wheat-containing foods like bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, sweets or confectioneries, wheat-based flours.
  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, or any goods containing dairy.
  • Fatty foods like fried foods, sauces, fatty meats, oily seasonings, or dish prepared in oil.
  • Processed or sugary foods like soft drinks, baked goods, candy or items containing added sugars.

A few additional holistic lifestyle tips like follows are also given importance:

  1. Eat fewer calories.
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Walk often
  4. Eat less fat
  5. Minimize added sugars
  6. Avoid snacks

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