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The Health Benefits of Korean Barbecues

by Jackie Edwards

Korean barbecue is famed the world over for possessing an inimitable blend of flavors. Sweet, spicy, salty, sour, umami… all blend into a colorful plate in which meat is enjoyed alongside veggies of all colors, eggs, and wonderful dishes such as sam gyeob sal (sliced pork belly) and sides such as kimchi, a true spice lover’s delight. In this post we highlight just a few reasons why Korean barbecue meals are an ideal way to stay at a healthy weight, enjoy an array of nutrients and feel energetic throughout the day.

Yin and Yang Cuisine

Korean cuisine is often referred to as ‘yin and yang’ food that connects a plethora of colors on one’s plate and represents the five basic elements of the yin-yang principle: wood, metal, fire, water, and earth. The importance of this ingredient blend lies beyond the aesthetic; it ensures that we consume a varied range of foods in every meal.

Health journals and contemporary media alike are consistently recommending diets containing lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Call it the Mediterranean or the Paleo diet, all make room for quality meats, which contain high levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The latter is important for keeping heart disease, cancer, and even Type 2 diabetes at bay.

Of course, if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, just forego the rice; you will be more than satisfied with the wide range of meat and vegetables on your plate.

The Nutritional Value of Produce

Equally vital are fruits and vegetables of all colors since different produce brings different vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants to our body. Kimchi, which is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili, garlic, scallions, and spices, is rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as lactobacilli bacteria, which boost digestive health. Mushrooms, meanwhile, are excellent sources of Vitamin B, protein, fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, selenium, and various minerals. Courgettes are a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, as well as of potassium and Vitamin B. They are wonderfully low in carbs, making them a great choice for those on diets such as Paleo or ketogenic diets.

Healthy Marinades Packed with Flavor

The key to keeping barbecue healthy is the marinade. Korean meat is marinated in a blend of ingredients that includes garlic, ginger, and scallions, all of which are energizing foods, as well as soy sauce, which is very low cal and low carb (watch how much you consume if you have high blood pressure, of course).

While it is true that marinades can contain sugar, the amounts used are normally small, and you can always forego sugar marinated varieties if you are watching your glucose levels or you are on a ketogenic diet.

Health and Safety is Key when Barbecuing

Korean barbecues are sometimes prepared by diners themselves at a table. Safety while barbecuing is guaranteed by the structure of the grills, which have ducts through which fat can safely be eliminated, without touching the fire.

It is also vital that all meat is cooked outdoors or in a well-ventilated kitchen, to avoid carbon monoxide entering the indoor environment. This can easily be achieved with the right kitchen structure. Barbecues cooked in well ventilated indoor spaces, meanwhile, will also ensure the quality of the air indoors. Grills should also be stable, smooth and durable, to eliminate the chance of any mishaps.

When yin and yang combine, the result is health. Korean barbecues represent an ideal blend of colors, flavors, and textures, with healthy sides such as kimchi, themselves containing a blend of potent ingredients. These meals are meant to be celebrations; a reason for families and friends to unite and enjoy an undoubted gift: that of dining together.



Take a few seconds to read our write up on the website FORGLUTENSAKE.COM. It's a gluten free travel guide for Denver that stopped by Dae Gee to give our gluten free options a try and let's just say they weren't dissapointed... 

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Check out Dae Gee's television debut on Food Network's hit TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri stops by our original location in Westminster to PIG-OUT and experience first-hand why Dae Gee is the best Korean BBQ in Denver.