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The life expectancy of Korean people is currently among the highest in the world, with an average life expectancy of around 83 years. This is significantly higher than the global average, which currently stands at around 72 years. Later in the article, I’ve compelled a list of superfoods for you to look at and hopefully introduce to your family in some way. 

++When I use “they and South Koreans” in this post. I mean ‘me and my family too.’ As I’ve been in Korea for half my life… We also kept this article on the healthy side of things. If you want to learn more about  Korean Snacks and Korean Beers please read my older posts. 

I’m a dad too…I know that introducing ‘new’ styles of foods at home is not easy but it all starts with the parents. If you do something unique and yummy with the Korean ingredients shown below, your kids will embrace ‘that’ something new.  

Take a step back and incorporate these into your lives. You never know you might be ‘that’ super dad who pioneered Korean cuisine in your town. Just do it! Just try it!

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old person's hand gripping cane
Elderly woman holding a cane

Why the Long life?

There are several factors that contribute to the high life expectancy of the Koreans. One of the main factors is the country’s excellent healthcare system. South Korea has a universal healthcare system that is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. 

The country has a high number of hospitals, clinics, and medical professionals, which ensures that people have access to high-quality medical care.

Another important factor is the country’s healthy lifestyle habits. Koreans tend to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fish, seaweed,  seaweed, and lean meats, and low in processed foods and saturated fats. They also place a strong emphasis on physical activity, with many Koreans engaging in regular exercise and outdoor activities. 

I also feel super healthy living here as Korea has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world!  and that can easily be seen all over the country. Although this trend is changing, it’s not that common to see severely overweight people here. I can count on one hand how many incredibly obese people I’ve seen in my two decades here. 

Additionally, South Korea has made significant investments in public health over the years, including initiatives to reduce smoking rates, improve air quality, and promote mental health.

Finally, the country has a strong social support system, with tight-knit communities and strong family bonds. This can help to reduce stress and improve overall mental and emotional wellbeing, which can have a positive impact on life expectancy. 

Overall, the high life expectancy of Koreans is a result of a combination of all of the factors mentioned above but it’s also thanks, in part, to…of course…all the healthy food.

Top on the list of superfoods in korea
Kimchi. Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

list of superfoods: Korean Style

Korean cuisine is known for its balance of flavors and use of fresh, healthy ingredients, super spices, and vibrant colors. The traditional Korean diet is based on a variety of grains, vegetables, seafood, and lean meats, making it one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.  

Unfortunately, Korean food is not as mainstream as Japanese or Chinese foods back in the West… But it’s just a matter of time before it does become a mainstay in your downtown area. Here is a list of superfoods that we include in our daily diet and you can too!


This traditional Korean side dish is made from fermented vegetables, usually napa cabbage, and is known for its rich flavor and health benefits. It’s served with almost all traditional Korean meals. Kimchi is packed with probiotics, which promote digestive health and boost the immune system. It is also low in calories and high in vitamins A and C. Kimchi jjigae(Kimchi stew) is a very common meal to have here…It’s a great winter food as well.

Warning, some kimchi here is spicy and fishy… You gotta dip your toes before jumping in, as some would say. 

This, not yet, well-known Superfood, has been all over the TV with A-list celebrities loving its benefits.  Personality figures like Megan Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicholas Cage, and Gordon Ramsay, all talk highly about Kimchi and Korean cuisine. Now it’s your turn!


Koreans consume a lot of seaweed, which is rich in iodine, iron, and other minerals.  Seaweed is also a good source of antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases. Koreans use seaweed in soups, salads, and as a side dish. 

soft white tofu on the list of superfoods


I was not a fan of tofu before coming here.  However, it is a popular ingredient in Korean cuisine and is made from grounded soybeans. It is a cheap source of protein, calcium, and iron, and is low in calories and saturated fat. Tofu is used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and stir-fries. 

Tofu has a bad rap in the West as being wooey wooey kinda food that yoga instructors and pretty girls eat to stay thin. But the fact is tofu should be on this list of superfoods. Tofu is very underused in the West and is a great way to supplement protein in your diet. I’m sure if you introduce this to your kids they will enjoy having it hot or cold. 


Korean ginseng is a medicinal herb that is believed to have a range of health benefits, including improving cognitive function, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. Ginseng is often used in traditional Korean medicine and can be consumed in tea or supplement form. You can read more on Korean Red Ginseng at this link.

Bean Paste soup Superfood
Image by jcomp on Freepik

Doenjang Jjigae(Den Jang)

Korean bean paste soup, also known as doenjang jjigae, is a traditional Korean soup made with fermented soybean paste(doenjang paste) and is comparable to Japanese Miso. The soup is typically made with a combination of vegetables, tofu, and meat, such as pork or beef, and is often served with a side of rice and various banchan, or Korean side dishes.   

The fermented soybean paste is also a good source of probiotics, which can promote digestive health and boost the immune system.  You can buy a big tub of this and make soups as you would otherwise at home. Kids love soups, make something different next time and throw in some potatoes in there to mix it up. Improvise!


Gochujang, a spicy red chili paste, is a staple condiment in Korean cooking. Made from fermented chili peppers, rice, and other ingredients, gochujang offers a burst of flavor and a kick of heat to any dish. Not only does it add a delicious spicy element, but gochujang also contains antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.

Capsaicin, found in chili peppers, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Incorporating this common ingredient into your meals can spice up your plate while reaping its health benefits.

Korean Jujube on the list of superfoods


This sweet and nutritious fruit, also known as Chinese date, has been used in traditional Korean medicine for its medicinal properties. This fruit is high in fiber, promoting a healthy digestive system and preventing constipation. Jujube is also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and iron.

Vitamin C supports the immune system and acts as an antioxidant, while potassium is essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation. Incorporate jujube into your diet by adding it to smoothies or using it as a flavorful addition to pies and cakes.

Korean Soybeans


This protein powerhouse has been a staple in Asian cuisine for thousands of years. They are a versatile and healthy source of plant-based protein, essential for muscle growth and repair, as well as maintaining strong bones and skin.

Soybeans are also rich in fiber and low in saturated fat, making them a nutritious choice for a balanced diet. Incorporate soybeans into your meals by enjoying edamame as a snack or using tofu as a protein source in stir-fries and soups.

Korean matsutake mushrooms

Pine Mushrooms

This flavorful fungi, also known as matsutake mushrooms, are rich in potassium, copper, and vitamin D, among other vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are vital for neuron health, blood pressure control, immune system function, and bone health.

Pine mushrooms can be used in a variety of dishes, from hearty soups to savory stir-fries, adding a distinct flavor and nutritional boost to your meals. These are rare and only grow for a short time every year and they are costly… In some markets, you can buy a small box of 6 mushrooms for over 50$.

a bunch of bean sprouts

Bean Sprouts

The crunchy delight, a low-calorie and high-fiber food promotes satiety and supports a healthy digestive system. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, while vitamin K contributes to healthy bone formation.

Incorporate bean sprouts into your diet by adding them to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries, or enjoying them as a healthy snack.

a bunch of asian pears

Korean Pear

This skin-supporting fruit, also known as Asian pear or Nashi pear, is not only delicious but also offers several health benefits. It is a good source of fiber, essential for a healthy digestive system and preventing constipation.

Korean pears also contain collagen, a protein vital for maintaining healthy skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Enjoy Korean pears in various ways, such as grilling them, adding them to smoothies, or incorporating them into salads or desserts.

To Good Health!

With K-movies, K-Pop, and K-Dramas popular all over the world in recent years, K-food is just around the corner too. You can easily get all the ingredients mentioned in the list of superfoods at your local Asian grocery shop.  

Korean cuisine is full of healthy and nutritious foods that can help to improve overall health and well-being. By incorporating more of these foods into your diet, you can enjoy the benefits of a balanced and nutritious diet to help build a long, healthy life for you and your family. Plus with all the spicy foods to choose from your taste buds will thank you!

large table full of tasty Korean Foods

20 More Korean Superfoods

  1. Ganjang Gejang: Marinated Soy Sauce Crab
  2. Bibimbap: Mixed Rice with Vegetables
  3. Bulgogi: Korean Barbecue Beef
  4. Japchae: Glass Noodle Stir Fry
  5. Samgyetang: Ginseng Chicken Soup
  6. Bossam: Korean Boiled Pork Wrap
  7. Naengmyeon: Cold Glass Noodles
  8. Galbijjim: Braised Beef Short Ribs
  9. Haemul Pajeon: Korean Seafood Pancake
  10. Tteokbokki: Spicy Rice Cakes
  11. Sundubu Jjigae: Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew
  12. Kimbap: Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls
  13. Mandu: Korean Dumplings
  14. Makgeolli: Traditional Rice Wine(alcoholic beverage)
  15. Gamjatang: Pork Back-Bone Soup
  16. Yukgaejang: Spicy Beef Soup
  17. Gyeranjjim: Steamed Egg
  18. Miyeokguk: It’s a wonderful type of seaweed soup
  19. Patbingsu: Korean Shaved Ice Dessert
  20. Sesame Oil: Great in soups or as a dipping sauce for your pork belly.

Top 10 countries with the longest life expectancy 

  –According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2021

  1. Japan – 84.6 years
  2. Switzerland – 83.1 years
  3. Singapore – 83.1 years
  4. Spain – 82.4 years
  5. Italy – 82.3 years
  6. Australia – 82.3 years
  7. Canada – 82.3 years
  8. South Korea – 82.3 years
  9. Iceland – 82.2 years
  10. France – 82.2 years

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