A nutritious diet is vital to a safe recovery from any plastic surgery. Like many people know, South Korea is well-known around the world for its innovation in plastic and cosmetic surgery. Another thing that is gaining popularity worldwide is Korean cuisine. However, people still have limited knowledge about these local delicacies, besides Korean BBQ and Korean fried chicken. Though, if you decide to have your surgery in Korea, it is not hard to find a wide array of healthy Korean foods to include in your meals.
Generally, Koreans eat balanced meals- full of colorful veggies, grains, and meat- daily, making it an appropriate type of cuisine for your recovery. After the surgery, you will experience swelling and loss of strength and energy. There are a few local dishes that supply many of the nutrients you need.
Here are some healthy Korean foods that you can try during your recovery period.
1. Seaweed Soup (Miyeokguk)
Miyeokguk is a customary dish traditionally served in Korea during birthdays or after giving birth, though it can be a diet staple all year long.
This dish is rich in iodine and calcium that may reduce swelling and inflammation. It also increases the blood flow needed by your body during recovery. The seaweed or sea kelp are antioxidants, which protect the body from harmful radicals that may damage the body. Also, it prevents indigestion and a good source of natural Omega 3 fatty acids and B12 vitamins. Miyeokguk is a good option for those who are trying to maintain a healthy weight. This dish helps in weight loss, lowers your cholesterol levels, and reduces insulin levels.
To make the dish more substantial, you have the option to include beef or mussels to your Miyeokguk. However, be cautious about putting any seafood in your recipes as they may affect the healing of your scars.
2. Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)
Ginseng is highly popular in Korea for its health benefits. It increases energy levels, boosts your immune system, and is even considered an antioxidant.
Including this to a hearty meal like a chicken dish makes it easier for people to consume the superfood. Samgyetang is a whole chicken stuffed with garlic, rice, jujube, and ginseng served in a broth. It is a specialty in many traditional Korean restaurants, each having their own recipe for the dish.
Aside from ginseng, additional ingredients in Samgyetang are also packed with nutrients, like jujube that is rich in vitamins.
Kimchi is a staple in every Korean meal. It also has been- for years now- become a part of many people’s diet plan due to its health benefits.
Kimchi is fermented cabbage or any greens. Because it is fermented, it is packed with probiotics that help with digestion. It is also a good source of Vitamin C that boosts your immune system. In addition, Kimchi is filled with fiber that your body needs during recovery.
It is usually eaten as a side dish, though, because of its health benefits, it is included in soups, rice dishes, and other different preparations. However, you may want to consume small portions of it. Like many Korean dishes, Kimchi is spicy, which may affect the healing of your wounds.
Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl with assortments of vegetables, a perfect option if you are a vegetarian. You may include any vegetables of your choice, such as cucumber, spinach, or squash, mung bean, fern rake, broccoli, or carrots.
Gochujang, or red chili paste, is added to combine all the different flavors. Together, you may want to dial down in adding this paste as it may cause discomfort to your wounds. If you want a more savory-tasting rice bowl, you can add beef or a fried egg.
This healthy Korean food is easy to prepare. Traditionally, Bibimbap is made from leftover side dishes and other things that you find in your fridge. As simple as it is, this dish is packed with vitamins and minerals from the different array of vegetables in one bowl.
5. Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk)
Another well-known healthy Korean food is Hobakjuk or pumpkin porridge, which is commonly served for recovering patients and the elderly. It is made with Kabocha pumpkins, glutinous rice flour, red/black beans, and small rice cake balls. With its abundant use of pumpkin, it gives numerous health benefits like Vitamin A, antioxidants, and high dietary fiber.
During your recovery, eating Hobakjuk can boost your immunity and reduce the risk of inflammation. Kabocha has lower calories than butternut squash but has a sweeter taste, a healthy way to satisfy your sugar cravings. It is also good for your skin and eyesight.
Hobakjuk may be served hot or cold, depending on your preference.
6. Red Bean Porridge (Patjuk)
Patjuk, or red bean porridge, is made from red beans and rice flour, usually served during the winter solstice. You may also serve it with chewy rice cake balls. This dish is simple yet packed with Vitamin B1 and Potassium. This is an excellent dish to prevent inflammation during recovery.
7. Grilled Eel (Jangeo-gui)
Another healthy Korean food you might not know about is Jangeo-gui or grilled eel. It is popular in Korea, especially during the summer. It may be served boiled or grilled and seasoned, depending on your taste. It is known as a good source of protein, helping you increase stamina and gaining back your energy.
8. Ox Bone Soup (Seolleongtang)
If you are looking for something light yet hearty, Seolleontang maybe for you. Seollongtang is a soup made with broth from ox bones, ox meat, and brisket, seasoned with salt, pepper, minced garlic, red pepper, and green onions.
To create the broth, ox bones are boiled for hours until the meat, marrow, and ligaments from the bone dissolve, creating a delicious and nutritious soup. It is high in collagen that is good for the skin. Furthermore, it is full of vitamins and antioxidants.
These are only a few of the healthy Korean foods that you can enjoy during your plastic surgery recovery. Again, Korea has a wide range of delicacies that are both delicious and nutritious. The greatest part is that you do not have to fly to Korea to eat these foods.
As Korean cuisine- or Korean culture in general- becomes famous worldwide, it is not that hard to find a restaurant that serves your favorite Korean dishes locally. Korean foods are popular in Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, as well as the US and more.
At the same time, keep in mind that you are still recovering, and binging on large amounts of food may cause harm to your body. Korean foods are usually spicy, and some are oily fried foods; you may want to stay away from these types of dishes. It is best to consult with your doctor about your limitations food-wise. You may be in recovery, but it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of a good meal.