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A staple in the Asian cuisine, bok choy is one of the healthiest types of green vegetables. The leafy green is known for its medicinal properties, with evidence from the early fifth century in  China. The deluge of benefits possessed by the cruciferous vegetable is not only limited to the flavoursome jolt but extends to that of eye health and bone strength.
Loaded with nutritional value and high content of beta-carotene in comparison to other leafy vegetables, bok choy is slowly becoming an ineludible part of a  healthy diet. In ancient Chinese medicine, it was used as a healing element in treating cough, fever and similar ailments.
Currently, there is a rise in the demand for the leafy vegetable. In the health-conscious world of today, it is safe to say that bok choy has indeed marked its invariable stand. The mild and crunchy flavour of the leaf adds to its benefit, making it an easy add-on to a variety of dishes.
Nutritional Value Of Bok Choy
100 grams of raw bok choy contain 54 kcal energy, 0.2 grams fat, 0.04 milligrams thiamine, 0.07 milligrams riboflavin, 0.5 milligrams niacin, 0.09 milligrams pantothenic acid, 0.19 milligrams vitamin B6, 0.80 milligrams iron and 0.16 milligrams manganese.
The other nutrients present in 100 grams of bok choy are 
- 2.2 grams carbohydrates
- 1 gram dietary fibre
- 1.5 grams protein
- 95.3 grams water
- 243 micrograms vitamin A
- 2681 micrograms beta-carotene
- 66 micrograms folate
- 45 milligrams vitamin C
- 46 micrograms vitamin K
- 105 milligrams calcium
- 19 milligrams magnesium
- 252 milligrams potassium
- 65 milligrams sodium
Health Benefits Of Bok Choy
An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre and beta-carotene, consumption of bok choy is extremely beneficial.
1. Improves bone strength
Bok choy has a rich content of minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc that has a direct impact on improving the strength of your bone. Regular consumption of bok choy will have a positive impact on the bone structure and density. This helps in preventing the onset of osteoporosis as well as limit age-related bone ailments. The combination of  vitamin K and calcium content in the leafy green is equally beneficial as it lowers the risks of bone fractures, as it promotes the development of a balanced bone matrix.
2. Reduces blood pressure
The high content of potassium in bok choy, along with the calcium and magnesium content aids in naturally decreasing the high levels of blood pressure. The potassium  in the vegetable works as a vasodilator, thereby relieving the tension in the blood vessels.
3. Boosts heart health
The combination of phosphorus, magnesium and fibre in the leafy green helps in maintaining a healthy heart. Along with these, the folate, potassium,  vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content contributes to the purpose. The minerals in the leaf work by clearing out the toxins and cholesterol from the arteries. Likewise, it aids in reducing the levels of homocysteine in the blood that can cause various cardiovascular issues.
Regular consumption of bok choy helps manage the proper  functioning of the heart and restricts the onset of stroke, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
4. Reduces inflammation
Bok choy contains choline, an essential nutrient that helps reduce the levels of inflammation. It is also called as inflammation  reducing agent, as it limits the onset of inflammation-related issues such as joint pain and arthritis.
5. Enhances immunity
The leafy green has a good content of vitamin C in it, which is crucial in improving the immune system functioning. The vitamin C  content in bok choy aids in stimulating the production of white blood cells. Being an antioxidant, it also helps in averting chronic diseases as well as oxidative stress.
6. Improves digestion
The fibre content in bok choy is beneficial in aiding the  digestive process. Regular consumption of bok choy not only improves the process but also treats digestive disorders.
7. Removes free radicals
The sulphur based compounds such as  isothiocyanates present in bok choy, turns in to glucosinolates on consumption and promotes the removal of cancer-causing free radicals. Cruciferous vegetables are known for its anticancer properties  and studies have revealed the impact it has on reducing the risks of lung, prostate, and colon cancer.
The folate content in bok choy prevents cell damage  and repair the DNA. Likewise, the selenium in the vegetable restricts the development of cancerous tumours in your body.
8. Treats anaemia
The high content of folate in the cruciferous vegetable helps in improving the absorption of iron, thereby elevating the production of the red blood cells. It also has a good content of iron, thereby keeping a steady level of  haemoglobin.
9. Improves eye health
The beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin K, and vitamin C in bok choy work together in improving and maintaining your eye health. The carotenoids in the leafy green acts as a protective barrier to the coronary tract of the eyes. Vitamin A  content in bok choy helps prevent the development of oxidative stress in the retina as well as macular degeneration. It also helps prevent your eyes from cataracts and glaucoma.
10. Prevents congenital disabilities
Rich in B-vitamin complex such as folate, bok choy is deemed beneficial in preventing the development of birth  defects in the foetus. It helps in process of cell division and growth, thereby reducing the chances of any congenital disabilities such as underweight infants or neural tube defects in newborns.
11. Aids in quick healing
The vitamin K content in bok choy along with various other properties is also known to be a blood clotting  agent. Consuming bok choy for conditions that cause excess bleeding, such as surgery or an injury is helpful. It is also beneficial for haemorrhoids or unusually heavy menstruation.
12. Improves blood circulation
Bok choy has a good content of iron, which is known to have a positive impact in increasing the red blood cells. Likewise, the iron content plays a significant role in improving the blood circulation. If your body has a good amount of iron, which can be gained through regular  consumption of iron, helps in improving the circulation as well as the oxygenation of the internal organs.
13. Treats diabetes
Studies have revealed that cruciferous vegetables have a positive impact on diabetes. That is, it helps in maintaining the sugar levels and does not elevate the levels of diabetes. It is shown to be beneficial for individuals with  type 2 diabetes.
14. Improves skin quality
An excellent source of vitamin C, regular consumption of bok choy is extremely beneficial for your skin. The collagen  produced by vitamin C keeps the skin hydrated and rejuvenated.
Bok Choy And Napa Cabbage
Often confused with each other, these two cruciferous vegetables are completely  different.
|Properties||Bok Choy||Napa Cabbage|
|Colour||Dark green||A lighter shade of green|
|Appearance||Resembles Swiss chard||Resembles romaine lettuce|
|Flavour||Mild to a strong flavour, that is more like the flavour of cabbage||Lovely mild flavour, with a peppery kick|
|Cooking||Leaves are separated from stalks, rinsed and drained, cut or shred. The stalks are cut into small slices, stir-fried, salt and water added.||The core is cut and washed, cooked in a similar way to cabbage. The lower part is to be cooked first, leaves are added halfway through the cooking time. The raw leaves are to be grated.|
|Time||10 min||2-3 min|
1. Garlic bok choy stir-fry
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped, stems removed
- 6 cups bok choy, chopped into 2-inch strips
- 2 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cashews for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat.
- Add the onion and mushrooms and stir-fry for two minutes.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Cover for two to three minutes to steam the bok choy.
2. Bok choy salad
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 bunches baby bok choy, cleaned and sliced
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1/8 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- In a glass jar with a lid, mix together olive oil and soy sauce.
- Combine the bok choy, green onions, and almonds.
- Toss with dressing, and serve.
Also read: Tofu And Bok Choy Recipe
- As bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable, it contains an enzyme called myrosinase  that can hinder the thyroid function. It can prevent the body from the proper absorption of iodine. This is commonly reported in the case of raw bok choy.
- An individual who is consuming blood-thinners, such as warfarin should refrain from consuming bok choy due to the  vitamin K content. It can cause the blood to clot.
- Long term consumption of bok choy in large quantity can trigger cancers. The indoles  in bok choy restricts the conversion of carcinogenic molecules, thereby elevating the chances of cancer.
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