Bok choy has recently become more widely available to American consumers, which is a positive stride towards improved nutrition. Box choy nears the top of the list on the aggregate nutrient density list because it has some of the highest levels of nutrients per calorie. It has been cultivated in China for thousands of years and is known as pak choi, Chinese white cabbage, or bok choy. It belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, turnips, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
If you think that kale has a bitter taste and eating collard greens raw is not something you ever want to do in life, bok choy may be your new best friend. This super green has a crispy texture and subtly sweet flavor, which enhances salads, stir-fries, or soups. Bok choy has some of the highest concentrations of anti-inflammatory properties, and several studies have shown that it may be able to inhibit cancer cell growth. Researchers have also noted that bok choy contains “Principle 1” and “Principle 2” phenols, flavonoids related to quercetin and kaempferol. These active phenols and flavonoids inspire more studies to determine bok choy’s role in cancer prevention.
Outside of the aforementioned phenolic compounds, the low calorie content of bok choy makes it a great addition to your diet. One cup of bok choy delivers 140% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A and over 75% of your RDI of vitamin C. Additionally, bok choy contains minerals including calcium, manganese, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Keep reading to learn more about this nutrient-dense superfood.
Bok choy is filled with a high concentration of core conventional antioxidants, including zinc, manganese, and vitamins A & C. One must understand that these antioxidants all have different roles. All of them help to prevent unwanted oxidative damage to cells and bodily systems, but they do this in different ways. Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables have been proven to provide benefits that antioxidant supplements cannot; and organic bok choy varieties contain more polyphenols than inorganically grown bok choy.
Promotes Eye Health
People often reference carrots and sweet potatoes in regards to promoting eye health, but bok choy contains a substantial amount of vitamin A and beta-carotene. The Macular Degeneration Association highly recommends bok choy for people suffering from macular degeneration, an eye disease that can result in vision loss. Vitamin A has also been known to help prevent infection and the development of cataracts.
Benefits Hair And Skin
Bok choy is rich in vitamin C, which helps to increase collagen production. The more collagen that is produced, the healthier the skin and hair look. Continually supplying the body with vitamin C keeps collagen levels up, improving complexion and decreasing the early development of wrinkles. Bok choy also contains antibacterial properties, which can help to fight skin infections, including eczema and acne.
May Help Prevent Cancer
The bitter flavor that is commonly associated with cruciferous vegetables like bok choy is caused by glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds. As you chew and digest bok choy, other compounds (indole, sulforaphane, and nitrile) are created. These compounds have proven anticancer benefits and they work to protect cells by deactivating carcinogens and inhibiting DNA damage. Additionally, bok choy contains an antimicrobial substance known as brassinin. Studies have shown that brassinin is a proven chemopreventive agent. Bok choy and other cruferous vegetables have been effective at lowering the risk of prostate, lung, breast, and colorectal cancers.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Calcium and potassium are two minerals necessary for lowering blood pressure. Potassium works to process sodium in order to reduce the sodium-inflicted damage on the cardiovascular system. The vitamin K in bok choy helps with blood clotting, while the vitamin B6 helps to inhibit homocysteine accumulation, an overabundance of which can lead to heart complications and damaged blood vessels.
Eating a lot of raw bok choy can pose a few risk factors, primarily due to the enzyme known as myrosinase, which can make it difficult for the thyroid to function optimally. This can hinder the body’s ability to absorb iodine, but cooking bok choy deactivates this enzyme. It is acceptable to eat raw bok choy in small amounts, though. If you are taking blood thinners, be wary of drastically increasing your intake of green vegetables, due to the vitamin K content, which plays a role in blood clotting.