Over the past year, the lentil diet has become the acai berry of South Korea, with the protein loaded ‘super grain’ replacing meat-centred dishes.
Influential Korean actresses, actors, pop stars and bloggers are crediting the lentil diet for keeping their physiques trim and their energy levels sky high. After blogger Lee Hyo-ri sung the vegetable’s praises last year (indeed, one fan lost an impressive 12kg as a result of Hyo-ri’s endorsement), lentil imports to South Korea boomed by an astonishing 5000%. Amidst this frenzy, Yang Hae-rim published South Korea’s first ever lentil recipe book – Lentil Diet Recipies – which, unsurprisingly, became a sell out success in little over two weeks.
The health benefits of the lentil are numerous. Rich in Vitamin K and fiber, low in fat, known to reduce inflammation and bruising, and loaded with protein – lentils really do keep your heart, mind and body healthy, making them an essential nutritional component of a green, low meat diet.
The unexpected take off of Korea’s hottest diet fad can be attributed to high profile endorsements from the celebrity world, although the recent lentil craze signals that South Koreans are broadening their culinary preferences. With the exception of kimchi, vegetables have never been as popular in South Korea as they have in China and Japan. It remains to be seen whether another vegetable will topple the lentil from its throne later this year.0