Health Benefits of Bok Choy

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Health Benefits of Bok Choy

A subspecies of Brassica Rapa, Bok Choy belongs to the cabbage family and is popularly known as a type of Chinese cabbage. Due to its nutritional value, less calorie content, and health benefits, Bok choy is regarded as one of the world's healthiest foods. This variety of cabbage is common to China and the Southeast Asian region; however, the popularity of Bok choy has grown increasingly in Northern Europe due to its ability to survive hard winter conditions. Some other names for Bok choy include Pak choi, Pak Choy, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, Spoon cabbage, Pechay, and Celery mustard.

The leafy green bok choy grows from small black seeds that germinate within a week. Once the germination period completes, two heart-shaped leaves sprout from a single stem, with rounded edges and dark green clumped leaves. Although the plant can very well sustain the cold weather conditions, a bok choy seedling grows best in full sun. The overall cultivation period spans 50 to 60 days after germination. After harvest, the bok choy is ready to be cooked and served into your favorite foods.

In this article, we explore the health benefits of bok choy, considering the nutritional value that they provide. Along with that, the article throws light on some potential health hazards associated with bok choy and various types that are available in the market.  

Nutrition Info

The following table aims to give the nutritional information of raw bok choy based on its100 g value:

Serving Size

100 g (3.5 oz) raw bok choy

Energy

13 kcal

Carbohydrates

2.2 g

Fat

0.2 g

Protein

1.5 g

Vitamins

Vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B6

Minerals

Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, and manganese

Water Content

95.3 g

The nutrition value of bok choy looks quite promising, packed with vitamins, minerals, and water content in abundance. The vegetable has a low-calorie content of 13 kcal per 100 grams, making it an enticing option for weight watchers and fitness enthusiasts alike. Bok choy also contains a favorable content of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B9, and other B vitamins in moderate amounts. As for minerals, bok choy is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, whereas the amount of iron and manganese remains in a limited quantity. The Chinese cabbage is also abundant in water content as it contains 95.3 g of water per 100 grams. In addition to the rich content of vitamins and minerals, bok choy also contains phenols and phytonutrients that are a source of plenty of antioxidants, making it a highly nutritious vegetable stocked with immense health benefits.

Health Benefits of Bok Choy

The health benefits of bok choy remain under investigation as it is believed that this vegetable could have major breakthroughs if more in-depth research is done into its beneficial properties. Here are some of the health benefits medical science has so far confidently associated with the regular use of bok choy:

  • Reduces Risk of Cancer

As part of the cruciferous vegetable family, bok choy is enriched with over seventy antioxidants, including Phenols and a number of phytonutrients. It is due to the richness of antioxidants in bok choy that the current research has come to relate the vegetable with reduced cancer risk. According to the most recent studies in the domain, researchers have found that bok choy, with its rich antioxidant properties, helps to reduce and prevent oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is enumerated as one of the reasons the body falls susceptible to diseases as serious as cancer. Therefore, regular use of bok choy is associated with a lower risk of cancer diseases. Additionally, the content of glucosinolates, another compound found in bok choy, is said to have anti-cancer properties, and that makes this vegetable not just a source of many health benefits but also security against diseases.

  • Lowers Risk of Unwanted Inflammation

Inflammation is one of the major causes of any disease that befalls the human body. Foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties are considered as natural antidotes in such cases. We are fortunate enough that nature has provided us with enough sources of natural remedy that it is very much possible to prevent diseases before having to treat them. Bok choy is one such vegetable that provides you with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients essential for the prevention of continuous and unwanted inflammation in any area of the body.

It is also rich with vitamin K, another anti-inflammatory nutrient that is best known for its blood clotting properties. Vitamin K also helps to regulate our body’s inflammatory responses, which is another beneficial aspect of cardiovascular health. Hence, bok choy could be your go-to vegetable if you wish to prevent or lower the risk of inflammation from your body.

  • Stocked with Anti-Oxidants

No research or studies can stress enough that our body is in constant and dire need of antioxidants for the system to fight against diseases and prevent them from occurring in the first place. Bok choy is one of those vegetables that really do their job as an excellent source of core antioxidants. It also contains a generous content of Vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, and zinc. Apart from the conventional antioxidants, bok choy contains phytonutrients, including flavonoids like kaempferol, isorhamnetin, quercetin, and numerous phenolic acids. All of this diversity of antioxidants in bok choy makes it unique in its properties and a source of different health benefits that it provides to the body. After all, different types of antioxidants function differently; however, all are essential to a happy functioning system.

  • Great for Bone health                                                                                    Another beneficial property of bok choy relates to its amazing health benefits to the bones. A group of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin K in this Chinese cabbage are all contributing factors to a strong bone structure. Every nutrient plays a distinctive role in boosting bone health. For example, Iron and zinc are responsible for the production and growth of collagen. Phosphorus and calcium, on the other hand, are important in bone structure, whereas Vitamin K works for the maintenance of the balance of calcium in the bones, which makes it a great agent against bone fractures.

Bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable that has been linked with reduced risk of cancer, good bone health, a source of antioxidants, and an agent of anti-inflammatory properties. The benefits are usually evident when the intake involves one of more than one serving per day. The richness of essential minerals and vitamins renders it a vegetable that is not only good for enhancing the existing health but also helps in fighting against a number of diseases, particularly cancer, as it contains numerous compounds that are especially good for protection against cancer. All in all, having bok choy as part of your regular diet might be one of the best diet choices you could make.

How is Bok Choy Cooked

Widely used in Chinese cooking, bok choy works best in soups, stir-fries, salads, potstickers, dumplings, steamed buns, and fillings for spring rolls. It has a mild flavor that is enhanced and tastes best when stir-fried in sesame oil with garlic and ginger with a sprinkle of salt and a splash of soy sauce on top. Although there are a variety of ways bok choy can be cooked as in it can be braised or stewed, the best way to consume still remains roasted, steams, stirred into hot soup, or stir-fried. That's when the flavor is at its best.

Types of Bok Choy

Apart from the typical name that we get to hear quite often, these varieties of bok choy are commonly available in the market:

  • White Bok Choy
  • Shanghai Bok Choy
  • Purple Choy

Recommended Daily Intake

If you wish to receive all the benefits bok choy has to offer, you will have to include it to your daily meal plan. The recommended daily intake generally suggests having at least ¾ cup per day. In case you want to go a little heavier, an intake of 1 ½ cups sounds like an outstanding daily consumption of bok choy. Another reason you would find it even more amazing is its quick preparation, enjoyable chewy texture, and its mild taste along with the possibility of recipes you could make with it.

Bottomline

Bok choy is one of the many cruciferous vegetables that can go by a variety of names such as celery cabbage, white cabbage, mustard cabbage, Chinese mustard, Chinese white cabbage, white celery mustard, and so on. For over 1500 years, bok choy has been enjoyed in China and other parts of Asia. Not only that, bok choy has also been cultivated in North America for over a century now. The popularity of bok choy keeps increasing due to the health benefits that have been associated with it over the years. An antidote to many diseases and an agent of improved health, bok choy definitely would be a meaningful addition to your nutrition-filled everyday diet.

References

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/7669589/what-is-bok-choy-and-what-can-i-do-with-it/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280948

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=152

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/bok-choy-10-healthy-facts

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