|Choi Ji-man holds a sachet of Cheong Kwan Jang red ginseng product in this picture posted on Instagram on Oct. 6. / Courtesy of KGC Corp.|
Korean athletes in the United States love Korean red ginseng.
Choi Ji-man of Tampa Bay Rays, who played great defense with tremendous flexibility in this year's Major League Baseball World Series, posted a photo on Instagram recently of himself in uniform with a red ginseng product in his hand.
The product, which was shared online with the hashtag #BitterIsBetter, is a red ginseng product called KORESELECT by Cheong Kwan Jang brand, which is only available in the United States. The product is similar to Everytime red ginseng and it is sponsored by the U.S. subsidiary of KGC Ginseng Corp. Cheong Kwan Jang is KGC's brand of Korean red ginseng.
Choi has been consuming Cheong Kwan Jang brand's red ginseng products for more than three years and he has shown excellent performance this year, especially in the World Series.
"Choi's favorite is a highly concentrated red ginseng product. We have been sponsoring him to help him stay health and work out safely," a KGC Corp. official said.
Other major leaguers like Ryu Hyun-jin and Choo Shin-soo also enjoyed the benefits of red ginseng with media reports and TV shows in the past frequently showing them munching on it.
While red ginseng is generally known in Korea for its immune-enhancing effects, the product actually is known worldwide more as an energy booster. There have been many articles and much research in the past suggesting red ginseng affects athletic performance. It is not uncommon to see athletes consuming red ginseng from an early age here.
Choi Kyung-ju, a former PGA golfer, also enjoyed red ginseng. In 2008, Cheong Kwan Jang appointed Choi as a goodwill ambassador and even introduced a special edition product linked to the Korean golfer in a commercial.
Red ginseng is made of steamed and dried ginseng and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea classifies it as a functional health food. The ministry has officially acknowledged that red ginseng can help recover from fatigue, improve blood circulation, boost immunity and aid memory.
Red ginseng is often considered a food for the elderly but in Korea it is recognized as a superfood that is enjoyed by all age groups.