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The Longevity Secrets of King Yeongjo: A Glimpse into the Life of a Joseon Dynasty Monarch

The Longevity Secrets of King Yeongjo: A Glimpse into the Life of a Joseon Dynasty Monarch

King Yeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty is a figure shrouded in history and legend. Living until the age of 83, he significantly outlived the average lifespan of 47 years for Joseon kings. What were the secrets behind his remarkable longevity? This blog delves into the lifestyle and habits that contributed to his long life.

1. Frequent Health Check-ups

King Yeongjo was vigilant about his health, undergoing medical check-ups approximately 11 times a month. This amounted to over 7,000 checkups during his 52-year reign. He was never complacent about his health, and this regular monitoring likely played a key role in his extended lifespan.

2. Moderate Eating Habits

Unlike other monarchs who indulged in lavish feasts, King Yeongjo practiced moderation in his diet. While it was common for kings to have up to six or seven meals a day, including snacks, with as many as 12 side dishes, Yeongjo limited himself to three meals a day with fewer side dishes. This approach to eating, reducing excess, was not just a personal choice but also a reflection of his concern for the nation, often implemented during times of national hardship.

3. Consistency in Meals and Blood Sugar Management

Despite his busy schedule and personal hardships, such as the tragic event involving his son Sado, King Yeongjo never skipped meals. He understood the importance of regular nourishment, ensuring that he always had time for sustenance, regardless of the situation. Regular meals helped in controlling blood sugar levels and preventing overeating, which in turn aided in maintaining a healthy weight. This disciplined approach to eating was integral to his health regimen.

4. Traditional Korean Medicine and Diet

Yeongjo had a particular affinity for traditional Korean medicine and frequently consumed ginseng and other medicinal herbs. He even prepared these remedies himself. His diet was predominantly vegetarian, including dishes like cucumber kimchi, dongchimi (radish water kimchi), braised dried fish, three-color vegetables, grilled deodeok (a root vegetable), tangpyeongchae (mung bean jelly mixed with vegetables), soybean paste, chili paste, and barley rice. This predominantly plant-based diet was interspersed with occasional fish, providing a balanced approach to nutrition.

5. Managing Stress Through Writing

Stress management is crucial for maintaining good health, and King Yeongjo was no exception. He found solace and relaxation in writing, using it as a means to alleviate the stress of governance. This practice not only served as a creative outlet but also helped in maintaining his mental well-being.

Beyond the Secrets

Interestingly, King Yeongjo was not inherently robust in health. He often suffered from minor illnesses and was regular in taking herbal remedies to maintain his health. His attentiveness to medical knowledge and proactive approach towards treatment and health management were pivotal in his longevity.

The Takeaway

King Yeongjo's approach to life offers valuable insights into longevity. Regular health check-ups, a balanced diet, consistency in meals, a focus on traditional medicine, stress management, and an active interest in personal health were his keys to a long life. These practices, though known to us, often go unheeded in our daily lives. By adopting some of Yeongjo's habits, we too can aspire to a healthier, longer life.

King Yeongjo's story is not just a historical account but a testament to the timeless principles of healthy living. His legacy continues to inspire and reminds us that the secrets to longevity lie in the choices we make every day.

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