Spring has officially started last month and each time the wind blows, we are reminded about it. Now, one of the major concerns of people whenever the season changes is their health. Let’s try to learn more about the common spring syndrome called “spring fever” and how it could be relieved through healthy spring foods.
Up first is the “illness” called “spring fever” or more popularly known in Korea as “Choong-Gon-Jeung.” It is “a temporary mood typically characterized by a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime” said to be caused by the “body’s circulation warming up in spring after the coldness in winter.” Common “symptoms” range from “weariness (despite an adequate amount of sleep), sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and sometimes aching joints and a lack of drive.”
However, spring fever is not actually considered a kind of disease so it is not advisable for a person experiencing this to take a medicine. Thus, people try to seek relief from this “stress” through acupuncture or better, by eating healthy foods. Good thing spring is also a season for nutritious foods.
In Korea, some herbs and vegetables only grow during spring so people can enjoy special dishes during this season. A popular and healthy side dish (banchan) for Koreans during spring is namul (seasoned vegetable dish). The name of the said dish may vary depending on the ingredients used and the way it is prepared but it will still be a namul. A few examples of namul include chwinamul (wild leafy plants), hobak namul (made from hobak, a Korean squash with green skin and orange flesh), shigeumchi (spinach), and kongnamul (soybean sprouts).
Almost any type of vegetable, herb or green can be used in preparing namul including shepherd’s purse (냉이), wild chive (달래), lettuce (씀바귀), and mugwort (쑥) that is why it is very healthy. Some people even believe that “spring namul is excellent in nutrition, so eating any young sprouts in early spring is known to be good for health.”
So next time you feel tired, maybe all you need is just a spoonful of good food. We hope everyone will stay healthy throughout this season.