The benefits of Bok Choy are immense, including better bone health and stronger immunity. Read on to learn more
Whether it’s for heart health, bone health, or better immunity, bok choy is a cruciferous green vegetable that has some pretty healthy benefits. Whether soups, salads or stir-fries, bok choy not only adds variety and flavor, but also makes it nutritious. However, nothing in excess is good and bok choy also has a number of disadvantages that cannot be ignored. It can cause an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal upset if not consumed in moderation.
Health Shots caught up with dietician Kejal Shah, who tells us all about how bok choy is healthy, its nutritional value, health benefits, and side effects associated with its consumption.
What is bok choy?
Bok choy, also known as pak choi, is a type of Chinese white cabbage that belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes Brussels sprouts and broccoli. “Originally from China, bok choy is the most consumed brassica vegetable in the country. Bok choy is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients,” says Shah.
What is the nutritional profile of Bok Choy?
One cup (70 grams) of grated bok choy has the following nutritional profile:
- Calories: 9
- Protein: 1 gram
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Total carbohydrates: 1.5 grams.
- Total sugar: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Calcium: 6% of the daily value (DV)
- Iron: 3% of DV
- Magnesium: 3% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
- Zinc: 1% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
- Selenium: 1% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 35% of the DV
- Folate: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 17% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 27% of the DV
As noted, bok choy is a good source of vitamins C and K and contains some fiber, which is important for digestive health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. It also offers various minerals and antioxidants.
What are the health benefits of bok choy?
Consuming bok choy can generate multiple health benefits. Look at them!
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1. Bone health
Bok choy is high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and vitamin K, essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
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Also read: 5 nutrients for bone formation in addition to calcium
2. Heart health
It contains folate and vitamin B6, which help remove homocysteine from the blood, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. The vegetable also contains compounds that help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.
3. Immune support
The selenium content of bok choy contributes to a healthy immune system, helping to defend the body against harmful bacteria and viruses.
4. Anti-cancer properties
The antioxidants and vitamin C in bok choy may help reduce the risk of cancer. It also contains sulfur-containing compounds that can benefit human health in various ways.
5. Skin health
The vitamin C in bok choy is known to fight free radicals and reduce the risk of skin damage. Its antioxidant nature treats various skin conditions and promotes collagen formation, improving the overall health and appearance of the skin.
What are the side effects of bok choy?
Possible side effects of consuming bok choy include:
1. Gastrointestinal discomfort
Eating large amounts of bok choy, especially if you are not used to a high-fiber diet, can cause cramps and bloating.
2. Thyroid function
Bok choy contains myrosinase, which can interfere with iodine absorption and affect thyroid function. Cooking deactivates this compound, so moderate consumption of cooked bok choy is generally not a concern.
3. Allergic reactions
Some people may experience allergic reactions to bok choy, as it contains proteins that can act as food allergens.
4. Interaction with medications
Bok choy is high in vitamin K, so people taking blood-thinning medications should consult a doctor before adding it to their diet.
It is important to consume bok choy in moderation and be aware of these possible side effects, especially if you have specific health problems or are taking medications.
How to include bok choy in your diet?
Here are several ways to include bok choy in your diet:
1. Eat it raw in salads
Mash raw bok choy and mix with other fresh vegetables to make a salad.
Add chopped bok choy to the sweet and sour soup.
Stir-fry bok choy with a variety of vegetables, as its mild flavor and crunchy texture make it a versatile addition to stir-fries.
Cut tender bok choy in half, drizzle with olive oil, and grill for a tasty and nutritious side dish.
5. Asian dishes
Incorporate bok choy into Asian-inspired dishes such as fried rice, meatballs, or as a side dish for stir-fries.
These preparation methods allow you to enjoy the unique flavor and nutritional benefits of bok choy in various dishes, from salads to main dishes.