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Bok choy nutrition facts

Bok choy or leafy Chinese cabbage is one of the popular mainland crop in China, Philippines, Vietnam and other oriental regions; nonetheless this humble brassica family vegetable has gained popularity even in the western world for its sweet, succulent nutritious stalks. It is also named as pe-tsai, pak choi, petsay, white celery mustard, Chinese white cabbage…etc. Scientific name: Brassica campestris L. (Chinensis group).

In structure, bok choy resembles collards and could be described as a non-heading cabbage (Acephala group). It is basically a small plant which grows upright from the ground with smooth white romaine lettuce like stalks which spread in the end to fine, glossy green oval or round leaves. Fully grown up plant may reach about 12-18 inches in length.

Brassica campestris group can be further categorized according to the color of the petiole in its leaves. White petiole varieties include joi choi, pak-choy white, prize choi, lei choi, taisai, canton pak choi…etc. Green petiole types are chinese pak choi green, mei qing choi…etc.

Health benefits of bok choy

  • Bok choy is one of the popular leafy-vegetables very low in calories. Nonetheless, it is very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health-benefiting anti-oxidants.

  • 100 g of bok choy provides just 13 calories. It is one of the recommended vegetable in the zero calorie or negative calorie category of foods which when eaten would add no extra weight to the body but in-turn facilitate calorie burns and reduction of weight.

  • Like other brasisca family vegetables, bok choy contains certain anti oxidant plant chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Along with dietary fiber, vitamins these compounds help to protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.

  • Fresh pak choi is an excellent source of water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin-C (ascorbic acid). 100 g provides 45 mg or 75 % of daily requirements of vitamin C. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

  • It has more vitamin A, carotenes, and other flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants than cabbage, cauliflower...etc. Just 100 g of fresh bok choy provides 4468 IU or 149% of daily-required levels vitamin A.

  • Pak choi is very good source of vitamin K, provides about 38% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone metabolism by promoting osteotrophic activity in bone cells. Therefore, enough vitamin K in the diet makes your bone stronger, healthier and delay osteoporosis. Further, vitamin-K also has established role in curing Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

  • Fresh bok choy has many vital B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.

  • It also contains good amount of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 13 kcal <1%
Carbohydrates 2.18 g 1.5%
Protein 1.5 g 3%
Total Fat 0.20 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1 mg 2.5%

Folates 66 mcg 16%
Niacin 0.500 mg 3%
Pantothenic acid 0.088 mg 1.5%
Pyridoxine 0.194 mg 15%
Riboflavin 0.070 mg 5%
Thiamin 0.040 mg 3.5%
Vitamin A 4468 IU 149%
Vitamin C 45 mg 75%
Vitamin K 45.5 mcg 38%

Sodium 65 mg 4%
Potassium 252 mg 5%

Calcium 105 mg 10.5%
Iron 0.80 mg 10%
Magnesium 19 mg 5%
Manganese 0.159 mg 7%
Phosphorus 37 mg 5%
Zinc 0.19 mg 1.5%

Carotene-? 1 mcg --
Carotene-ß 2681 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 40 mcg --

Selection and storage

Although bok choy is available year-round, it is best during winter season. In the markets, buy fresh harvest featuring firm stalks and dark green crispy flavorful leaves. Avoid slump plant with leaves wilted and lost their luster.

Once at home store whole pak choi in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. If stored appropriately, it stays fresh for up to 3-4 days without the loss of much of nutrients. However, pak choi is more nutritious, sweeter, and flavorful when used fresh.

Preparation and serving methods

Trim of the base and remove outer discolored leaves. Wash the whole vegetable in cold water. Gently pat dry or place it upside down until all the water drained out.

To prepare, separate the stalks from the base using sparing knife and slice the leaves from the stalks. Thus once you separate leaves and stalks, you may want to add them in to a variety of recipes either combined or individually.

Here are some of the preparation tips:

  • Crispy, sweet bok choy stalks can be eaten raw, added to salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

  • Its stalks can be used with cabbage in coleslaw.

  • Baby bok choy can be a very attractive addition to salads and stir-fries.

  • In China and other East Asian regions, it is used much like cabbage in stew fries with added onion, garlic, bell pepper, and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soya/chilli/tomato sauce to prepare chowmein.

  • Pak choi is one of the wonderful vegetable used generously in modern day recipes like stir fries, soups, stuffing…etc.

  • It mixes well with cabbage, chilies, capsicum, onion, ginger, garlic, rice, tofu, meat and poultry.

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