Concept: Nutrition Data Visualization (health benefit of Korean food : Bibimbap, )
If you were to name something that came to mind when you hear about Korean food, what would you think? Barbecued meat, spicy food, dog meat and maybe kimchi would all come to mind. Did you know that Korean food is also one of the healthiest cuisines in the world? Most dinners have a maximum calorie intake of less than 600 calories. Compare that to eating a pizza that has well over 1,000 calories and it’s not hard to see why Koreans aren’t known for being obese.
Here are a number of reasons why Korean food can be great for you:
- Soups – A meal isn’t a meal in Korea without some kind of soup. They’re a great way of filling yourself up without providing huge amounts of calories.
- Meat – Meat isn’t the focal point of a meal in Korea, it’s an accompaniment. This means the amount of saturated fat that a Korean eats is very low. On the occasions that a Korean may have plenty of meat in their meal, like samgyeopsal, it is usually grilled to well that the fat has rendered off the meat.
- Lack of oil – Many Korean dishes are stewed, grilled or boiled which means there isn’t a need to cook the food in high in fat oils. Not only is it healthier but it tastes better too!
- Kimchi – An acquired taste for some, kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world as it contains plenty of minerals and vitamins, as well as aiding digestion. Some Koreans go as far as to claim it can ward off a number of major diseases like bird flu, but as of yet there is no evidence to support this.
- Vegetables – Korean foods have a large variety of vegetables in them. Mushrooms, potatoes, leaves of some kind and cabbage are all found in most dishes.
- Spice – Koreans love spicy food. There aren’t too many dishes in the Korean kitchen that come out without some form of chilli heat to it. Given that chilli is known to speed up the metabolism, it’s a great way of making sure those extra calories are burned off.
- Dessert – Koreans aren’t big on desserts, in fact they aren’t massive on sweet food either. A typical dessert in Korea consists of an orange, some watermelon or another kind of fruit. Not only is this healthy, but it leaves your palate clean and you feel refreshed, instead of bogged down by the meal you’ve just had.
- Teas – Green tea is well-known for its health benefits but Korean also drink a lot of barley tea. This delicious drink helps the digestive system and is frequently found consumed with a meal.
- Snacks – You could walk down any street in Korea and instead of children with their heads in a packet of crisps, you’ll see them peeling a freshly baked sweet potato, or some cooked squid. These foods are obviously much healthier alternative and fill you up for longer.
A well-planned traditional Korean meal includes sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty tastes. It may even strive to include all the colors green, white, red, black and yellow—representing the five basic elements of the yin-yang principle: wood, metal, fire, water and earth. While modern science hasn’t shown a clear health benefit for this approach, “the idea of getting a variety of foods—and not too much of any—makes intuitive sense,” says Kathryn Sucher, Sc.D., R.D., professor of nutrition and food science at San Jose State University and co-author of Food and Culture (Thomson Wadsworth, 2008). The principles dovetail neatly with western advice to “get variety and moderation in our eating,” she says. And it may be why obesity is still relatively rare in South Korea: just one-third of adults are overweight or obese, according to recent estimates, versus 68 percent of Americans.
Among the traditions that may help keep Koreans slim and healthy is including soup at every meal, which means filling up on a relatively low-calorie but satisfying food. Studies show that soup eaters tend to eat less high-calorie fare later. Also, treating meat like a condiment rather than the main event in a meal helps keep saturated-fat intake low. (South Koreans get just 20 percent of their calories from fat, according to surveys.) And, while Koreans are known for sophisticated beef dishes like bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), they’re also big consumers of heart-healthy seafood.
1. Bibimbap (rice and vegetable)
2. Bulgogi (Korean Beef Barbecue)
- 1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Cooking spray
- Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)
|Calories per serving:||208|
|Calories from fat:||33%|
|Fat per serving:||7.6g|
|Saturated fat per serving:||2.7g|
|Monounsaturated fat per serving:||3.2g|
|Polyunsaturated fat per serving:||0.7g|
|Protein per serving:||26.1g|
|Carbohydrates per serving:||6.4g|
|Fiber per serving:||0.2g|
|Cholesterol per serving:||76mg|
|Iron per serving:||3.1mg|
|Sodium per serving:||457mg|
|Calcium per serving:||19mg|
3. Miyeokguk (Seaweed Soup)
Data Source: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods