Bok choy, also known as leafy Chinese-cabbage, is one of the popular vegetables in the mainland China, Philippines, Vietnam and other East-Asian regions. At the same time, this humble Brassica family leafy-vegetable has captured attention of the western world for its sweet, succulent nutritious leaves and stalks.
Scientific name: Brassica campestris L. (Chinensis group). Several local dialects for it in the East-Asian countries are 上海青, pe-tsai, pak choi, petsay, white-celery mustard, Chinese white cabbage…etc.
In structure, bok choy resembles collards and could be described as a non-heading cabbage (Acephala group). It is a small plant which grows upright from the ground surface with smooth white romaine lettuce like stalks, which spread at its top to fine, glossy green, oval or round leaves. Fully grown-up bok choy may reach about 12-18 inches in height.
Brassica campestris group can be further categorized according to the color of petioles in its leaves as:
White petioled; varieties include joi choi, pak-choy white, prize choi, lei choi, taisai, canton pak choi…etc.
Green petioled types are Chinese pak choi green, mei qing choi…etc.
Raw Chinese cabbage is 95% water, 2% carbohydrates, 1% protein and less than 1% fat (table). In a 100 gram amount, raw Chinese cabbage supplies 13 calories and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A (30% DV), vitamin C (54% DV) and vitamin K (44% DV), while providing folate, vitamin B6 and calcium in moderate amounts (10–17% DV) (table).
11 Amazing Benefits
Bok choy and other members of its family have shown fairly positive effects on preventing cancer. They contain other-wise hard to find sulfur-based compounds such as isothiocyanates, which turn into glucosinolates, which promote cell death in free radicals. The folate present in bok choy is excellent to repair the DNA and prevent cell damage. The beta-carotene in bok choy is a powerful antioxidant that has been observed to reduce the risk of breast, prostate and lung cancer. Bok choy is an excellent source of selenium, which is a tumor- inhibiting compound and stops the formation of cancerous tumors.
2. Healthy Bones
Healthy bones and maintaining bone density becomes essential as age progresses and bok choy can do the trick for you. The nutrient-dense composition features vitamin K alongside calcium that can help you maintain your bone and teeth health. Other minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus promote the production of collagen between joints to keep them working like a well-oiled machine. Vitamin K deficiency has been linked to greater risk of fractures and weaker bones. The combination of vitamin k and calcium promote a well-balanced bone matrix and also balance the amount of uric acid in the body.
3. Healthy Cardiovascular System
Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable with a good serving of fiber combined with minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium. This makes for a powerful heart protecting composition that clears out the arteries, flushing all that bad cholesterol out of your system, promoting heart health. The vitamins along with potassium are effective in controlling the levels of homocysteine, which is a compound that can damage blood vessels.
4. Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can be the basis of various diseases and can adversely affect how your heart functions, leading to hypertension or low blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause blood clots in the brain, which can cause a brain hemorrhage. Bok choy is one of the best sources of potassium combined with vitamin A and C. The magnesium in bok choy has a calming effect on nerves and promotes adequate blood flow. Potassium is what keeps the heart healthy and functioning; the daily requirement for potassium for an adult is 4700 milligrams. Bok choy is naturally flavorful and has absolutely no sodium, which is especially healthy for the heart.
Anemia is caused due to the deficiency of iron in the body and can have severe consequences for your health, especially in women who are expecting. It can be harmful to the cognitive development of the fetus. Bok choy hosts an impressive combination of folate and 0.8mg of iron per 100 grams of raw serving. Folate helps the body absorb iron more efficiently, which in turn leads to increased production of red blood cells by the body. Keeping the hemoglobin in check is another benefit that bok choy provides through the delivery of iron.
6. Healthy Eyes
The constituents found in bok choy are excellent for overall eye health. The beta-carotene, selenium, Vitamin K, and vitamin C, combine to maintain eye health. The beta-carotene specifically protects the coronary tract of the eyes and provide protection against the formation of cataracts and glaucoma. Bok choy has been observed to reduce macular degeneration and slow it down to a large extent.
7. Healthy Immunity
A healthy functioning immune system is necessary to prevent any chronic disease from entering the body. The idea is quite simple to eat foods that are rich in nutrients and especially in vitamin C to prevent your immune system from going haywire as autoimmune disease are no jokes. Adding bok choy to your salads, stir fries and even instant noodles will promote the production of white blood cells in the body. Immunity is the body’s barrier not only against chronic illness, but also infections and seasonal viruses.
8. Healthy Glowing Skin
Taking care of your skin externally is necessary to remove dead cells from clogging the surface, but what you are eating is going to impact the appearance of your skin largely. Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin C white is the holy grail of vitamins for skin health. It keeps the skin glowing from within and promotes the production of collagen in the body.
9. Healthy Digestion
In ancient medicine, it was believed that all diseases originate in the gut and that is quite true. Bok choy has been used to treat digestive disorders for centuries, it was added to broths and food to bulk up the stool and heal diarrhea.
10. Promotes Healing
Bok choy contains a healthy amount of vitamin K that enhances blood clotting, helping to heal open cuts, bruises and wounds faster. This is excellent for people who are recovering from surgeries and other injuries.
Bok choy is a source of choline which is an inflammation reducing agent and is linked to improving learning skills and memory. It also calms inflammation and reduces the chances of inflammation-related diseases such as arthritis and joint pains.