How to Choose Healthy Chuseok Presents – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea


Many people find it challenging to choose right presents for Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, especially as offers proliferate for this socially distanced holiday. But healthy products are often a good option.

In a poll of 1,500 customers by an online shopping mall, 25 percent of respondents said they will order presents online or send online gift coupons.

Health supplements or fresh produce like fruit are highly popular presents for the elderly, but some widely available presents could turn out to be poison.

Prof. Lee Kyung-mi of Chaum Food Therapy Center said, “With any food products you should read the nutrition fact labels carefully. Consult a doctor before taking health supplements, especially if you have underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.”

Ordinary ginseng and red ginseng are good for reducing fatigue, boosting the immune system, or increasing stamina. They now come in a variety of products such as jelly and candy.

But eating a lot of ginseng may also not be a good idea if you already have what in Oriental medicine is called too much “heat” in your body or suffer high blood pressure. Diabetics should also be careful when taking fluid extracts because many contain too much sugar. 

People with high blood pressure should be careful and consult with their doctor when taking Omega 3 fatty acids. In principle it helps improve blood circulation and form brain, nerve, and retina tissue. But some hypertension patients who are taking anticoagulant drugs could suffer from side effects, including failure of the blood to clot normally.

Beta-carotene supplements are also highly popular, but they could be harmful to smokers. Beta-carotene is contained in green and yellow vegetables such as carrots and crown daisies. Once in the body, it turns into vitamin A, which prevents dry-eyes syndrome and reduces eye fatigue.

For this reason, the carotenoid is normally contained in nutrition for the eyes. But that can increase the risk of lung cancer and cardiac disease for smokers, according to some studies.

If health supplements are too risky, it may be better to turn to seasonal fruit.

But again caution is advised. Kwon Mi-ra, a clinical nutritionist at Seoul National University Hospital, said, “Many diabetics come to the hospital because they have a problem controlling their blood sugar levels after eating too much fruit.”

Especially high-end tropical fruit like papayas, mangos and pineapples are very high in sugar. Diabetics should also avoid apples or pears and instead settle for berries that have less sugar.

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