Bok choy (Brassica rapa) is a cruciferous vegetable also known as pak choi. It has many vital nutrients and is considered highly for its medicinal value. The bok choy benefits are numerous, which is why the vegetable is getting more popularized these days. This nutrient-rich veggie resembles a soup spoon and is widely enjoyed in Chinese cuisine. It can be a great addition to your soups, smoothies, salads, and even stir-fried vegetables. Regular consumption may improve bone health, cut down the risk of cancer, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve vision, and combat inflammation. Learn more about this Chinese cabbage, its nutrition, benefits, and possible side effects. Keep reading.
What Is It?
A nutrient-rich, cruciferous, crisp, dark green leafy vegetable.
What Are Its Benefits?
It may help promote bone health, reduce the risk of heart disease, fight inflammation, and boost the immune system.
Who Can Consume It?
The nutritious vegetable is safe for everyone in moderation, except those who consume blood-thinning medicines.
You can have a cup of loosely packed, chopped bok choy every day.
Avoid consuming too much raw bok choy as it may inhibit iodine absorption and affect thyroid function.
In This Article
What Are The Health Benefits Of Bok Choy?
1. May Help Reduce Cancer Risk
Cruciferous vegetables like bok choy contain cancer-fighting compounds that help reduce the risk of cancer. From one study, the presence of phytochemicalsi XThey are bioactive nutrients found in plants that help resist plant virus infections, fungi, and other insects. in cruciferous vegetables can prevent carcinogenesis (transformation of normal cells into cancer cells). Sulphur-containing compounds in these green veggies such as glucosinolates help reduce cancer risk. Also, a high intake of cruciferous vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of colon and lung cancers.
As per studies, consumption of cruciferous vegetables at least once a week may reduce the risk of prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and stomach cancers. Brassinin, a phytochemical derived from cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, has anticancer effects and can inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
2. May Promote Bone Health
A study conducted on postmenopausal women found that increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy can reduce bone turnover and calcium loss in urine. Also, bok choy contains nutrients that are essential for bone health. According to the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, bok choy contains vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. These nutrients help in strengthening bones, maintaining bone structure, and prevent fractures.
As per another study, vitamin K not only increases bone mineral density but also reduces fracture rates. Dietary intake of 90 micrograms of vitamin K per day for females and 120 micrograms of the nutrient per day for males are recommended. Insufficient consumption of iron and zinc also may lead to osteoporosis and collagen depletion.
3. May Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
In studies, intake of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables showed a 15.8% reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. The vitamin B6 and folate in bok choy prevent the accumulation of homocysteine, which may otherwise damage the lining of arteries or lead to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside arteries). However, more studies are warranted to understand this benefit of bok choy.
4. May Boost Eye Health
Cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, contain essential carotenoidsi XColor pigments that occur naturally in plants, bacteria, fungi, and algae to give their yellow, orange, and red colors. like lutein and zeaxanthin that help boost eye health and prevent macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin are fat-soluble antioxidants responsible for vision. They also reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Bok choy is also rich in vitamin A, a vitamin responsible for eye health.
5. May Fight Inflammation
Bok choy contains choline, which plays a key role in early brain development, muscle control, memory, and cell membrane signaling. It also helps reduce inflammation. Intake of cruciferous vegetables reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. As per one study, high consumption of Brassica vegetables, which contain glucosinolates, may induce enzymes that act against inflammation. This green leafy vegetable is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help lower inflammation. It is also rich in flavonoids like quercetin that help reduce inflammation.
6. May Boost The Immune System
Bok choy has vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that contributes to immune defense. It is also essential for collagen synthesis that assists in energy metabolism. It stimulates white blood cells (WBCs) and acts against infections. However, more studies are needed to further understand this benefit of bok choy.
7. May Lower Blood Pressure
The rich mineral profile of bok choy helps lower blood pressure levels. As per one study, intake of 4700 milligrams of potassium per day decreases blood pressure in response to high sodium consumption. From another study conducted by the University of London, potassium also reduces the damage sodium may do to the cardiovascular system. However, more studies are needed to understand this mechanism of bok choy in humans.
8. May Support Thyroid Function
Some believe the selenium in bok choy may help promote thyroid function. These glands play a critical role in several metabolic reactions. A study conducted on 6152 individuals found that selenium deficiency may increase the risk of thyroid disease. Another study conducted by the Gauhati Medical College, India, found that consumption of selenium supplements may improve autoimmune thyroid disease. However, it is believed that cruciferous vegetables, like bok choy, may instead interfere with thyroid function. Consult your doctor for more information. Also, the selenium content in bok choy is minimal as compared to the RDA levels. Hence, this veggie alone may not help you meet your regular selenium intake.
9. May Assist In A Healthy Pregnancy
Bok choy is a rich source of folate that is crucial during pregnancy. Folate deficiency is linked to abnormalities in mothers and fetuses. A dosage of 600 micrograms of folic acid is recommended during pregnancy. A study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that foods rich in folic acid may help prevent the risk of birth defects such as anencephalyi XA fatal birth defect of the central nervous system in which a child is born with an underdeveloped brain and skull bones. and spina bifidai XA serious neural tube defect in which a child is born without a completely developed spine and spinal cord. . However, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of bok choy.
10. May Improve Skin Health
Bok choy contains vitamin C, an antioxidant known for its role in collagen production and combating free radicals. It may help reduce the risk of skin damage caused by external factors. It may also help fight the signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. However, limited data is available in this regard. Also, topical application of vitamin C seems to have a better effect on skin health than oral intake. Consult your dermatologist for more information.
Also, bok choy speeds up the healing process. Much anecdotal evidence suggests that bok choy helps in heavy menstruation or hemorrhoidi XPainful, bulging, and enlarged veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort when sitting or during bowel movement and may bleed. conditions.
Bok choy contains essential vitamins and minerals that help treat many health problems. Scroll down to find the nutrition profile of bok choy.
Bok Choy Nutrition Facts
One cup of shredded bok choy contains:
- Calories: 9.1 kcal
- Protein: 1.05 g
- Fat: 0.14 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.53 g
- Fiber: 0.7 g
- Calcium: 73.5 mg
- Potassium: 176 mg
- Sodium: 45.5 mg
- Selenium: 0.35 micrograms
- Vitamin C: 31.5 mg
- Folate: 46.2 micrograms
- Choline: 4.48 mg
- Vitamin A: 156 micrograms
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 28 micrograms
These nutrients in bok choy are essential for the body to perform several metabolic reactions and to maintain overall health.
Bok choy is often confused with spinach. How are the two different?
Bok Choy Vs. Spinach
When we compare the nutritional aspects of bok choy and spinach, both contain a similar number of calories. Bok choy contains more vitamins C and A than spinach. Whereas spinach is richer in dietary fiber, iron, and vitamin K. Both these green leafy veggies have a different flavor.
Are bok choy and cabbage the same? Check out the next section to find the answer.
Bok Choy Vs. Cabbage
Bok choy and cabbage are two different vegetables. Bok choy contains more dark-colored leaves and white stalks. Cabbage has a light-green head.
The leaves of bok choy are tender and sweeter than cabbage.
Bok choy has higher vitamin A content than cabbage, and cabbage has more dietary fiber.
You can consume all parts of the bok choy plant, including its white stems and green leaves. But how to incorporate bok choy into your diet? Scroll down to know.
How To Incorporate Bok Choy Into Your Diet?
Here are some ideas on how to prepare and eat bok choy:
- Shred bok choy to make a raw salad with other vegetables.
- Dice it and add it to soups.
- Chop and incorporate it into a stir-fry.
- Slice it and drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven.
- Use the shredded bok choy with some other leafy greens on a sandwich.
- Dice it finely and add it to fried rice.
You can add bok choy to your diet easily. Here are some easy-to-prepare bok choy recipes.
Bok Choy Recipes To Try
1. Bok Choy Salad
What Do You Need
- Sliced bok choy – 2 bunches
- Chopped green onions – 1 bunch
- Olive oil – ½ cup
- White sugar – 1/3 cup
- Toasted almonds – 1/8 cup
- Soy sauce – 3 tablespoons
- White vinegar – ¼ cup
- Chow mein noodles – ½ package
- Mix olive oil, white vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in a bowl.
- Close the bowl and shake until it mixes well.
- Combine the bok choy, green onions, almonds, and chow mein noodles in a salad bowl.
- Toss with dressing and serve.
2. Egg Bok Choy
What Do You Need
- Finely chopped onion – 1
- Bok choy – 1
- Egg – 1
- Green chilies – 2 or 3
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Split black gram – 1 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 6
- Separate the stalks of the bok choy and chop the stalks and the leaves finely.
- Heat the oil in a pan, splutter some mustard seeds and curry leaves, and the split black gram.
- Saute the chopped onions and green chilies for a minute and add the chopped bok choy.
- Add salt and let it cook uncovered for about 7-8 minutes until the vegetable becomes tender.
- Add the egg and mix everything together.
- Keep mixing for another 1 or 2 minutes until the egg is cooked.
- Serve with rice or Indian bread.
3. Chicken And Bok Choy Soup
What Do You Need
- Water – 6 cups
- Onion – 1
- Small potatoes – 6
- Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
- Garlic cloves (minced) – 2
- Chicken soup base – 4 teaspoons
- Bok choy – 6 large ribs with leaves
- Carrots – 4
- Celery – 2 stalks
- Boneless chicken – 2 (cut into ½ inch cubes)
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic in the oil and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients to the stockpot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are slightly tender.
- Add chicken and continue simmering for about 10 minutes.
These are some delicious recipes of bok choy. But if you can’t find it, you may use some other leafy veggies in its place.
Bok Choy Substitutes
Bok choy alternatives have some differences in taste and flavor. But they also are loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals useful for maintaining your overall health. Here are some bok choy substitutes:
- Swiss chard
- Napa cabbage
How to select and store bok choy? Here are some important tips to consider.
Bok Choy: Selection And Storage
Always select bok choy that has firm white stalks and crisp dark green leaves. Avoid those that are broken or have spotted leaves and limp stalks. If you want to store them in a refrigerator, keep them in a perforated plastic bag and they will last up to 3 to 4 days. Frozen bok choy can last between 10 and 12 months.
Bok choy is generally considered safe for many people. But does excess consumption cause side effects? Scroll down to know.
Too Much Bok Choy: Risks And Potential Side Effects
Bok choy is generally considered safe to consume. But it may cause some adverse effects in people who consume it in excess. In general, cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates that may inhibit iodine absorption. However, this effect depends on the amount of bok choy consumed and its form. Cooked bok choy may not show any thyroid-inhibiting effect as heat deactivates the myrosinase enzyme (the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of glucosinolates).
Infographic: Bok Choy: Everything You Need To Know About It
Bok choy is a delicious green vegetable that has many health benefits. Most people love it for its mild taste and crunchy texture.
In the infographic below, discover more about bok choy, its popular cultivars, some tips on how to grow it in your home garden, and what to use as a substitute in recipes that call for bok choy.
If you are using any blood thinners, consult with your doctor before consuming bok choy. The vitamin K in bok choy may interfere with blood-thinning medications.
Bok choy is a nutritious vegetable originally from China. It is packed with beneficial antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Bok Choy’s benefits range from promoting bone health to lowering blood pressure. It may help promote heart, eye, and skin health as well. Bok choy is loaded with vitamin C, which may help boost immunity and reduce the level of inflammation in the body. However, its excessive consumption can lead to a few side effects. Also, there is a possibility that it may interact with blood-thinning medications. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and seek medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is bok choy healthier raw or cooked?
It is best to eat bok choy raw to get the maximum nutrients. The cooking process may deplete the vitamin levels in bok choy.
Is bok choy good for arthritis?
Yes. Bok choy is good for arthritis and can fight against inflammation effectively (37).
Is bok choy good for weight loss?
Bok choy may help lose weight due to its low-calorie content. However, more research is warranted to prove this claim.
Does bok choy make you poop?
Yes. It may help you poop easily due to its high fiber content.
- Bok choy carries vitamin C, which enhances immune defense. Its rich mineral profile plays a crucial role in reducing blood pressure.
- Celery, cabbage, spinach, swiss chard, and napa cabbage are some bok choy alternatives.
- Although considered safe, bok choy may cause adverse effects if consumed excessively.
Delve deeper into the astonishing health benefits of Bok Choy. This video will expand your knowledge on the nutrient facts surrounding this remarkable vegetable and shed light on how it can contribute to improving your overall well-being. Hit the play button now.
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