The advantages of Bok Choy are immense, including better bone health and stronger immunity. Read on to know more
Be it heart health, bone health or better immunity, bok choy is a cruciferous green vegetable that is rather wholesome in its advantages. Be it soups, salads or stir fries, bok choy not only adds variety, and taste, but also makes it nutritious. However, nothing in excess is good, and bok choy also has a host of disadvantages that cannot be ignored. It might lead to an allergic reaction or a gastrointestinal discomfort if not had in moderation.
Health Shots got in touch with dietician Kejal Shah, who tells us all about how bok choy is healthy, its nutrition value, the health benefits and the side effects associated with eating it.
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 widely eaten brassica vegetable in the country. Bok choy is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains many essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other important nutrients,” says Shah.
What is the nutritional profile of Bok Choy?
One cup (70 grams) of shredded bok choy has the following nutritional profile:
- Calories: 9
- Protein: 1 gram
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Total carbs: 1.5 grams
- Total sugar: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Calcium: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 3% of the 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 it contains some fibre, 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 reap multiple health benefits. Check them out!
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1. Bone health
Bok choy is high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and vitamin K, essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones.
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Also Read: 5 bone-building nutrients apart from calcium
2. Heart health
It contains folate and vitamin B6, which help remove homocysteine from the blood, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. The vegetable also contains compounds that help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.
3. Immune support
Bok choy’s selenium content contributes to a healthy immune system, aiding in the body’s defense against harmful bacteria and viruses.
4. Anticancer properties
The antioxidants and vitamin C in bok choy may help reduce the risk of cancer. It also contains sulfur-containing compounds that may benefit human health in various ways.
5. Skin health
The vitamin C in bok choy is known for fighting free radicals, reducing the risk of skin damage. Its antioxidative nature treats various skin conditions and promotes the formation of collagen, improving overall skin health and appearance.
What are the side effects of Bok choy?
The potential side effects of consuming bok choy include:
1. Gastrointestinal discomfort
Eating large amounts of bok choy, especially if not accustomed to a high-fiber diet, may lead to cramps and bloating.
2. Thyroid function
Bok choy contains myrosinase, which can interfere with iodine absorption and may impair thyroid function. Cooking deactivates this compound, so moderate consumption of cooked bok choy is generally not a concern.
3. Allergic reactions
Some individuals 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 individuals taking blood-thinning medications should consult a healthcare provider before incorporating it into their diet.
It’s important to consume bok choy in moderation and be aware of these potential side effects, especially if you have specific health conditions 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
Shred raw bok choy and toss it with other fresh vegetables to make a salad.
Add chopped bok choy to hot and sour soup.
Stir-fry bok choy with a variety of vegetables, as its mild flavor and crisp texture make it a versatile addition to stir-fries.
Cut baby bok choy in half, drizzle with olive oil, and grill it for a tasty and nutritious side dish.
5. Asian dishes
Incorporate bok choy into Asian-inspired dishes such as fried rice, dumplings, or as a side for stir-fries.
These methods of preparation allow one to enjoy the unique flavor and nutritional benefits of bok choy in various dishes, from salads to main courses.