Bibimbap is our new favourite healthy dinner January 2, 2019
Bibimbap is a delicious Korean bowl of good stuff. It’s colourful and it looks gorgeous to boot. But did you know it’s actually chock full of healthy ingredients too? We broke it down for you so you can see exactly how hard working this delicious dinner really is.
Beef Strips – Rich in Protein
Half the average adult’s recommended daily protein intake can be found in just an 85g serving of red meat. But what does protein do for you? A lot. A whole lot. If you’re worried about snacking too much throughout the day, protein suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and promotes satiety hormones, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer. If you’re wanting to reduce your calorie intake but don’t want to go hungry, this is an effective method.
Protein is an important early component in building muscle mass, so eating plenty will aid those of you hoping to get ripped and shredded. Not only that, but protein can also kick your metabolism into gear resulting in higher rates of calorie burning, which when combined with exercise, can result in weight loss. Who knew tucking into a bit of beef could be so beneficial?
Carrot – High Levels of Vitamin A
“High in vitamin A? So what?” Let us tell you what, because it turns out the benefits of a vitamin A heavy diet are many and varied. For starters, it’s great for you skin and can help to prevent:
- Damage from the sun’s UV rays
- Onset of acne
- Premature wrinkling
- Dry skin
- Pimples and the like
- Pigmentation and uneven skin tone
Vitamin A is also an effective cleanser, flushing toxins from your body and reducing bile and fat content in the liver. On top of all that, still in the liver, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which in turn, makes its way to the retina to become purple pigment rhodopsin, a necessary factor in being able to see in the dark! So, turns out when Bugs Bunny nonchalantly munched on his carrot and asked, “What’s up, Doc?” the answer was actually, “Your night vision.”
Sesame Seeds – High in Calcium and Magnesium
You’d be surprised how many morsels of goodness lie within these tiny little seeds; iron, zinc, phosphorous, tryptophan and manganese just to name a few. But, the two we’d like to focus on that these seeds have in abundance are calcium and magnesium.
Magnesium has properties that are helpful in lowering blood pressure, regulating blood sugar levels (great for diabetics), preventing airway spasms in asthmatics and it even helps to lower the risk of cancer. Calcium as we all know is great for your bone health, allowing for better strength and density and prevention of osteoporosis. Who knew you could get this from a diet rich in milk and… sesame seeds? Yep, sesame seeds.
Gai Lan – Good for the Heart
Some of you may know gai lan as Chinese broccoli, because that’s its other name, so don’t worry, you’ve not done anything wrong! In fact, by making friends with gai lan, you’ve done everything right, especially where your heart is concerned. We all knew broccoli and its variants were good for us, but probably didn’t understand what specifically was so good about them.
As it turns out, gai lan has some very nice benefits for your cardiovascular system. Gai lan is packed with vitamin K, which helps calcium to bypass your arteries and move straight to your bone tissue, allowing for better cardiovascular function. Gai lan is also rich in vitamin C, which is useful in reducing CRP (plasma-C reactive protein) levels, high readings of which are a big indicator of cardiovascular disease, so a good chunk of it in your bibimbap certainly can’t hurt.
Eggs – Packed with Vitamins
OK, it’s been a few years now, I think we can finally say the debate’s been settled and eggs have nutritional value. Previously getting our vitamins from oranges and the like, turns out eggs have a stack of these essentials too. On top of small quantities of Niacin and Vitamin K, there are decent amounts of:
- Vitamin A, or retinol, a wonderful aid in strengthening your eyesight, allowing you to check when your egg is cooked and ready to go in your bibimbap
- Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, a helpful assistant in the conversion of food to energy, giving you the strength to get more eggs in your mouth and cook more bibimbap
- Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, which is very important in the creation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body, helping you stay alive to breathe, smell and eat more bibimbap
- Vitamin E, or tocopherol, a legend that aids in cancer prevention, by beating up free radicals responsible for tissue damage and unwanted cellular growth, allowing you to live another day to enjoy more bibimbap
Cucumber – Anti-Inflammatory
Ever heard the expression “cool as a cucumber”? Well, it turns out that’s not just a nice little piece of alliteration, there’s actually a physiological reason behind it. For starters, cucumbers are around 95% water, so munching on one on a hot day could certainly help cool you down, giving you a hit of vitamin, C, B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper and manganese too in the process.
Not content to just cool you down through hydration, cucumbers also possess a handy anti-inflammatory called fisetin that can help block pro-inflammatory enzymes and even protect your brain from memory impairment associated with Alzheimer’s. Now that’s cool!
Chilli Flakes – Stimulate Metabolism
So, it turns out some red hot chilli peppers in your life can help you lose weight or at least keep it under control and no, we don’t mean throwing on a little Californication and letting Anthony, Flea, Chad and whoever the fourth guy who replaced John is guide you through a go on the treadmill, though we aren’t discouraging that, after all, exercise is important.
Rather, capsaicin, the part of chilli that gives it its heat, has been found to assist in speeding up your metabolism. Capsaicin in your diet aids in the conversion of white fat to brown fat. White fat is stored fat, brown fat is energy burning fat, so more brown fat means more energy burned, which is never a bad thing.
Garlic – Combat Illness
You probably knew a few things about garlic already. It’s potent on the breath, tastes great on buttered, lightly toasted bread and is effective in repelling vampires… I assume. I mean, when was the last time you saw a vampire? And when was the last time you had garlic? Exactly.
One thing you probably didn’t know about garlic is that it has some medicinal properties and can be effective in fighting the common cold. Studies conducted have found introduction of a garlic supplement can reduce cold symptoms from five days to 1.5 days in many cases. We haven’t found a cure yet, but if you need a friend to help you through a cold quicker, then garlic will always be there for you, making it easier.
Ginger – Reduce Muscle Pains and Soreness
Ginger is another wonder-food that boasts medicinal properties, largely because of its main bioactive ingredient, the imaginatively named gingerol. While gingerol is the dominant oil responsible for the taste and scent of ginger, it also enjoys antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in the reduction of muscle pain and general soreness.
Ginger is effective in reducing day-to-day muscle pain, rather than popping a ginger pill that magically fixes you, so if you’re on a health kick and boot camp’s got you hurting, a bibimbap to fill the post-exercise hole in your stomach could go some ways to making it all less painful and more enjoyable.