Next in our series of articles about the Brassica family of vegetables is Bok Choy, also known as Chinese cabbage as it is one of the most common farmed crops in China and other oriental countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines.
Today, Bok Choy is becoming more and more popular in the West and it’s not surprising when you taste this sweet, yummy food choice, and even more so when you learn of its masses of health benefits.
The appearance of Bok Choy is almost like a cross between cabbage and gem lettuce with a large white bulbous bottom and large light green leafy tops. The plants grow upright in the ground like lettuce and cabbage, and usually reaches around 12-15 inches length. So what are the health benefits of this wonderful plant?
Catch up with the rest of the series:
- The Brilliance Of Brassicas: Bok Choy
- The Brilliance Of Brassicas: Brussels Sprouts
- The Brilliance Of Brassica Vegetables
- The Brilliance Of Brassicas: Kale Queen Of The Greens
- The Brilliance Of Brassicas: Broccoli
Bok Choy is extremely low in calories, making it ideal for those trying to lose weight or manage their weight. A 100g serving of Bok Choy contains just 13 calories, hence its common recommendation in diets and weight management or zero calorie programs.
High In Antioxidants
Just like other Brassicas, Bok Choy contains high levels of antioxidants, which help prevent cancers and also helps the body to fight off other severe illnesses and diseases. It contains antioxidant plant chemicals, including zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, thiocyanates, lutein, and isothiocyanates. It also contains more vitamin A than other vegetables in the Brassica family and carries 149% of your RDA of vitamin A, another form of antioxidant.
The plant chemicals in Bok Choy also help to decrease levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, and thus they are a good choice for keeping cholesterol levels in check.
Bok Choy contains high levels of vitamin C with a 100g serving giving you 75% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is also well known for helping to improve immune system function, helping to ward off colds, coughs and illness.
Bok Choy contains high levels of folic acid, which is a B vitamin that is essential in early pregnancy. It is therefore a good vegetable to eat plenty of if you are in your first trimester of pregnancy, or if you are planning to try for a baby.
Also contained in Bok Choy is high levels of the other B vitamins, all of which are essential for many different functions of the body. B vitamins are not made within the body and so we must get most of them from our diet.
Bok Choy contains around 40% of the RDA of vitamin K in a single 100g serving. Vitamin K is important for healthy bones, helps to prevent osteoporisis and it has also been indicated in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
If you want to eat vegetables that contain lots of minerals, Bok Choy is a good option as it contains many that our bodies need, including calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. The highest of these however is potassium…
Potassium is an essential nutrient that the body needs and Bok Choy contains good amounts of it. Our bodies need potassium for muscle recovery, which makes Bok Choy a great choice of food after a good workout. It is also needed to help the body create enzymes to help digest our food.