Korean Foods to Soothe You through Sick Times

By Leonard Cox

For centuries, countries and cultures have developed their own ways of overcoming sickness. Korea is one of them! There, unique culinary remedies have been created in order to fight off colds and diseases. These remedies have expanded to treat other aspects of the body, such as the after-effects of ingesting alcohol and childbirth. Here’s a list we’ve compiled of foods that have been used for generations to treat all sorts ailments!

Rice porridge, or jook (죽), started off simply as a dish made with water and rice, but it has evolved into a recipe where one can add different ingredients to satisfy your own tastes. Nowadays, it is common to find chicken, beef, abalone, mushrooms, seafood and many other ingredients in jook! Porridge is the perfect food to eat when you have a stomachache as it replaces liquids lost.

Ginseng chicken soup, also known as samgyetang (삼계탕), is made by cooking a small chicken in a broth. It may sound like your run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup, but this dish has you stuffing the chicken with rice, a small fruit called jujube, garlic, and ginseng. By the time the soup is done cooking, it has become a medley of delicious flavors. Not only is samgyetang savory, but it packs a punch for your immune system! Jujube has been used in traditional medicine for antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory purposes. Talk about a super fruit!

Soybean sprout soup, or kongnamul guk (콩나물 국), is a simple broth made with soybean sprouts, but just like jook, the recipe has evolved so that you can add any ingredient to satisfy your desires. Most commonly, kongnamul guk is prepared in one of two ways: spicy or non-spicy. Regardless of the way it’s prepared, it is believed that the soup cures hangovers. Now, here comes the science part of kongnamul guk. When the beans are sprouting, they break down essential complex molecules into simpler molecules to help the plant grow. Those same nutrients also help humans grow and repair tissues!

While you may have known that kimchi (김치) is the national food of South Korea, you may not have known that when eaten in moderation, kimchi has been found to lower blood cholesterol levels. Not only that, but kimchi is rich in vitamins and a probiotic, which is good for the body and boosts immunity.

Seaweed soup, or miyeok guk (미역국), is a meat-based broth with seaweed. Despite there being an abundance of edible seaweed in the ocean, few people know of the various health benefits that come with eating it. For example, seaweed is jam-packed with omega-3 fats. These fats help promote brain health during pregnancy. That is why new moms are given miyeok guk to ensure that their pregnancy carries along in good health and that newborns are nourished.

While these dishes have cultural origins that date back centuries, many families still serve these dishes with widespread popularity. And while the effectiveness of these dishes are still up for research, it does not take away their “sick” taste!

Written by Leonard Cox

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