By Jean Tong, Nutritionist, Halley Medical Aesthetics
Aside from Korean kimchi and k-pop, one other thing that Koreans are well known for is their beautiful glowing skin.
The Korean way to good skin may not just stem from their rigorous skin care routine and make-up. The secret to their beautiful porcelain skin may well lie in the amazing Korean food that is part of their daily diet!
It is true that nutrients in our food intake do play a big role in our journey to firmer skin. Instead of only looking at what Koreans apply on their skin, let’s look at five Korean cuisine that may well be the reason for their beautiful skin.
Kimchi is a popular traditional Korean cuisine, made from fermented and salted vegetables such as Korean radishes and napa cabbage, seasoned with ginger, garlic, jeotgal, chili powder, and scallions. Studies have shown that kimchi consumption may help to slow down skin ageing. The reason is that kimchi is packed with many anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C. Kimchi also contains plenty of lactobacilli, which is a good bacteria responsible for a healthy digestive tract. Some studies show that a healthy gut is the key to clear good skin. With this good balance of bacteria in the gut, it helps in attenuating and regulating the inflammation process, reducing oxidative stress in our body cells, thus giving us clear acne-free skin that all of us yearn for.
2. Doenjang jjigae
A Korean stew made with doenjang, a fermented soybean paste, has good sources of bioactive peptides produced by soybean protein hydrolysis or the microbes. These peptides exhibit many benefits such as keeping our skin radiant, as well as slow down the ageing process. The reasons for these are because they exhibit anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. Anti-oxidants fight free radicals in our bodies, which help protect our skin and regenerate new skin. Soybean paste is also rich in Vitamin E, which is a very good anti-oxidant.
3. Seaweed soup
A dish that has been served in Korea over thousands of years. Seaweeds-derived active compounds have been shown to exhibit various functional properties such as anti-oxidant, anti-wrinkling, and whitening. Sulphated polysaccharides, peptides, carotenoids, fatty acids, and phytohormones found in seaweeds aid in anti-ageing by having anti-oxidant properties, while mycosporine-like amino acids, flavonoids in seaweeds have an anti-photo ageing property.
4. Barley tea
It is common to find roasted barley tea served in Korean restaurants and eateries, and sold in Korean food marts. Korean women generally love drinking barley tea, and this may well be another reason for their glowing good skin. Barley tea is high in anti-oxidants, which help prevent free radicals from damaging the skin, thus possibly helping to delay the onset of wrinkles and fine lines. Some studies also showed that barley tea consumption may help prevent tooth decay by preventing bacteria colonisation.
5. Ginseng chicken soup
Ginseng is an Asian herb that is not only loved by the Koreans but the Chinese too. Koreans generally love to have it during winter as they believe it helps keep them warm. Having Ginseng chicken soup may well help us achieve the glowing, dewy skin all of us desire as it is rich in vitamins and minerals, which are good for our skin.
Go ahead and indulge in these delicious Korean cuisines the next time we come by a Korean restaurant, eatery, or Korean mart. But always bear in mind that moderation is key.