Bok choy is an incredibly rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Also known as Pak coi or Chinese cabbage, bok choy belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables and it is closely related to cabbage. Health nutritionists consider bok choy as one of the healthiest forms of leafy green veggie. Also, it is one of the better anti-inflammatory foods in the world.
Bok choy contains all the impressive health benefits that include maintaining blood pressure, fighting anemia, improving immune system, fighting cancer and many more. As bok choy is rich in vitamins like A, C and vitamin k, it improves eye vision, enhances the skin and strengthens your bone.
There are evidences that bok choy was used as medicinal in China in the early fifth century. Ancient Chinese healers used it to treat fever, cough, and other similar sickness. It was later introduced to Europe in the 1800s.
Must-Known Facts About Bok Choy:
This Chinese cabbage is a mysterious vegetable for many people. Here are some must-known facts which will give you a good idea on bok choy –
- You can eat bok choy raw, but it is ideal for Chinese cuisines to get better taste. It is an important part of dishes like stir-fry or hot pots.
- Baby bok choy is same as the bok choy but smaller. It tastes more like the Swiss chard.
- The best time to buy bok choy is the winter. The frosts make the taste of it sweeter.
- Bok choy is among the top three nutritious plants considering the nutrient density
- Bok choy is the gateway to green. If you want to introduce yourself to green vegetables, bok choy can be a good option for its mild taste.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Bok choy:
It is clear now that bok choy is very useful for your health, here are some pointers that will show on what ways bok choy are beneficial to your health-
- Prevention of cancer: Bok choy contains sulfur based compounds such as isothiocyanate. It helps cell death in free radical. The folate of bok choy is an excellent compound to repair DNA and prevent cell damages. The selenium of bok choy inhibits the tumor cell and prevents the growing of cancerous tumors.
- Protector of vision: Bok choy contains an exorbitant amount of Vitamin A, which increases the eyesight and helps to prevent macular degeneration and oxidative stress in the retina. The beta-carotene present in bok choy prevents from a coronary tract of the eyes.
- Skin care: Bok choy contains plenty of vitamin C and it can definitely help to make your skin glow and look younger. Vitamin C helps to produce collagen. It helps to enhance the health and appearance of the skin. Also, Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help in damage protection of skin from sun, dust and pollutions.
- Strengthening the bones: Bone health improvement is one of the most notable benefits of bok choy. It contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, Zinc, calcium and Vitamin K which furnishes the bone health. Bok choy also helps in prevention of osteoporosis and keeps your bones stable.
- Fights heart diseases: Bok choy contains folic acid and Vitamin B-6, which fight cholesterol and mitigates the risk of heart attack. This elements help to reduce the amount of homocysteine. Homocysteine damages the blood vessels, which may lead to heart problems.
- Prevents certain congenital disabilities: Bok choy contains plenty of B-vitamin complex, particularly in folate. Folate is essential for inducing rapid cell division and growth at the time of infancy and pregnancy. An inadequacy of folate in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants. It may also cause neural tube defects in newborns.
- Improves immunity system: Nutritionists consider Vitamin C as a prime element to make our immunity system stronger. One cup of bok choy contains 74% of the recommended value of vitamin C. So, bok choy helps in improving it. Eating bok choy will increase the number of white blood cells in your body.
- Prevents Diabetes: Bok choy have a low glycemic index which helps to maintain the sugar level. Also, the large amount of dietary fiber of bok choy reduces the sugar absorption of blood and thus controls the sugar level. Diabetes patients can have bok choy regularly, as their blood sugar level will rise slowly and they will feel less hungry.
- Helps in weight loss: As bok choy contains a good amount of dietary fiber, you can eat bok choy, keep your stomach full and don’t feel hungry for a longer time. Bok choy reduces the daily calorie intake as consumption of 100 grams of Bok Choy only provide 13 calories of energy.
- Prevents the risk of Anemia: Anemia is a disease of iron deficiency in our body. So, if you consume food containing iron, it will help to improve the iron level and increase the production of hemoglobin in the body. As Bok choy contains vitamin K and Iron, it will definitely help to prevent anemia.
Nutrition Facts of Bok Choy: Value per 100 gm
- Water 95.32g
- Energy 13kcal
- Protein 1.50g
- Total lipid (fat) 0.20g
- Carbohydrate 2.18g
- Fiber 1.0g
- Sugars 1.18g
- Calcium 105mg
- Iron 0.80mg
- Magnesium 19mg
- Phosphorus 37mg
- Potassium 252mg
- Sodium 65mg
- Zinc 0.19mg
- Vitamin C 45.0mg
- Vitamin B-6 0.194mg
- Folate 66 µg
- Vitamin A 4468IU
Different Varieties of Bok Choy or Pak Choi:
Iowa State University website published a research report which they carried out on the best pak choi varieties. Here are 5 famous varieties-
1. Joi Choi: It has white stems; the leaves are large and green. It is one of the two main cultivars as it produces the highest yield. It requires 45-50 days for Joi choi to become matured.
2. Black Summer: The Black Summer is light green. It does not take over 45 days to reach maturity. The black summer produced the highest number of marketable heads in research.
3. Feng Qing Choi: Feng Qing Choi is a very high-yielding variety. It is a hybrid and has green stems. It is very slow to bolt. The time span to reach maturity is same as Joi choi and black summer.
4. Mei Qing Choi: It is one of the best pak choi varieties. It is very productive. Mei Qing is a dwarf green stemmed pak choi. Also, it can endure cold, heat, and bolting. It doesn’t take over 35-40 days to reach maturity. So, it’s good for those impatient gardeners.
5. Win Win Choi: Win win choi is a white stemmed variety and also a hybrid. The length of Win win choi is not more than 10-12 inches. You can plant it if you want a bumper harvest. It takes 50-55 days to reach maturity.
Risks Factors You Need to Consider About Bok Choy:
Too much consumption of anything is never good. So if you are someone who wants to enjoy the benefits of bok choy at the same time consider the risks too, these facts are for you-
- Myrosinace is an enzyme that hinders the thyroid function by preventing the body from absorbing iodine. Raw bok choy contains this enzyme. But it is inactive on boiled or cooked bok choy. So, try to avoid eating the raw ones.
- Bok choy is high in vitamin K. So, people taking blood-thinners like warfarin or Coumadin should not suddenly change the amount of vitamin K on their food. Because vitamin k helps in blood clotting.
- Bok choy is considered goitrogenic. It contains chemical substances that interfere with thyroid hormone production. So it is better to eat them cooked than raw. But the cooked bok choy neutralizes the anti-cancer properties of it. So, take a moderate amount of bok choy raw and cooked
The more variety of fruits and vegetable in your diet, the more it will improve your health and help you get the most benefits out of it. So, it is better to consume a variety of items.
Best Ways to Eat Bok Choy:
You can eat all parts of bok choy. Also, can prepare it in a variety of ways. Besides its low-calorie and high nutrient content, its mildly sweet flavor and crisp texture make it an excellent addition to almost any dish.
Here are a few Amazing Ways-
- Stir-fry baby Bok Choy: here the baby bok choy is paired with fresh ginger and just a few seasonings. The result is a nice, clean vegetable dish that has a fascinating, yet light flavor.
- Shrimp with Bok Choy: just add boiled shrimp in your bok choy and enjoy this recipe. But don’t forget to add soy sauce and ginger.
- Roasted bok Choy: bok choy becomes rich and nutty if you roast it in a hot oven.
- Bok choy Salad: Add 4 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 3/4 teaspoon sugar and 5 cups bok choy and 2 tablespoons cashews. You will prepare a delicious bok choy salad.
But cooking vegetable will reduce the number of nutrients they contain. So just shred raw bok choy and toss it with other fresh vegetables to make a salad and eat it in the morning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bok Choy:
Bok choy is less popular than other cruciferous vegetables, as a result many people are unaware of its health benefits. Here are some frequently asked questions about this super notorious vegetable-
Q-What’s the best way to store bok choy?
Ans- You can store bok choy in your refrigerator (32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit) in a paper or plastic bag. But do not wash until you are ready to use. Make sure to use it within 3-4 days.
Q-How do you know when bok choy is cooked?
Ans- You know bok choy is cooked when it turns bright green. It will only take 4 minutes or so, be careful not to overcook the bok choy resulting in mushy, browned veggies. Also, cooking for a long time can deactivate the nutrition of it
Q- Which bok choy tastes better?
Ans-If the stalk is darker or golden brownish, the taste of the bok choy will be more fascinating.
Q- Which is the preferable season to grow bok choy?
Ans-You can now grow or cultivate bok choy on all times of the year. But winter is preferable. The Bok choy’s grown during winter seasons also tastes better.