Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Health Benefits of Some Exotic Foods
Food is an important part of our daily lives and living in a different culture requires at times that you eat unfamiliar food. There was an article in the Kyeong-Hyang Catholic Magazine a few months ago in which a Korean lay missioner in the Philippines ate her first balot. A balot is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It was a memorable event which she remembers with fond memories, not necessarily with the desire of eating one again.
Just this evening I was invited to eat mudfish (loach) and jellyfish in the home of a parishioner. I have eaten both of these items in the past and didn't find them that difficult or distasteful. It always makes a hit with the host when one eats what is given. Most of the foods that an American would have reservations in eating, come with a list of medicinal benefits.
"We are told that the main substance of loach is protein and it also contains lots of iron, calcium and vitamins. The fat is unsaturated, so it melts cholesterol. Loach soup is used for the patients with high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and obesity. Mineral, high protein and calcium which are needed for moderns are also in loach soup so popular and recommended. It is good for eye sight and strengthens the immune system by building up the respiratory organs."
Jellyfish are supposed to stop the aging process and help the memory. Koreans, Japanese and Chinese are big eaters of jellyfish. We do have the recent report from Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry reporting that the number of centenarians in the country has reached over 40,000.
There are few scientific facts on the truths of these claims but the food, for many is tasty and a treat which tells us much of our likes and dislikes are influenced by the culture from which we come. We can for the time being, leave out eating dog, which for the Korean also has many health benefits.