August 09, 2016 13:17
Omija, or red Korean berries, are said to contain five different flavors -- sour, sweet, spicy, bitter and salty.
They are harvested in August and September, and are made into a concentrate or dried. The concentrate can be mixed with water or the dried berries soaked in hot water to make tea.
But this is not the best way to consume the berries as it does not help take in the lignans omija contains.
Studies have shown that the lignans help kill cancer cells, protect the kidney and liver, and have antioxidant and antidepressant effects.
"More than 85 percent of the lignans are contained in the omija seeds, so you need to eat the seeds to make the most of it," said Dr. Lee Ga-soon at the South Chungcheong Province Agricultural Research and Extension Services.
A team of researchers led by Lee found that omija seeds contain 15.55 mg/g of lignans, much higher than the fruit with 0.11 mg/g or peel with 2.09 mg/g.
Moreover, 73 percent of the fat in omija seeds was found to be linoleic acids. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
To get the maximum health benefits from the berries, grind dried omija or seeds in omija concentrate and put it over salad or side dishes. Ground omija seeds can also be added to cold water to make tea.
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