Bok Choy - Brassica Chinensis -
(a.k.a. Bak Choi, Pak Choy, Bok Choi, and every conceivable combination thereof), as pictured to the left, is really one of two distinct varieties of "Chinese cabbage" - the other more commonly being called "Napa cabbage
". It is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes arugula
, and brussel sprouts
Bok Choy is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium. In fact, the calcium in bok choy is more absorbable than almost any other food because of low presense of compunds called oxalates, which bind up calcium making it hard to absorb. 54% of the calcium in bok choy is absorbable, versus only 32% in milk. Bok choy also contains glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds which may help prevent several types of cancer when eaten in moderation. These glucosinolates also give the vegetable a slightly spicy/bitter flavor.
Bok Choy is a very good source of vitamin-K and provides about 3% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K helps promote osteotrophic activity in bone cells, which makes your bones stronger and healthier. This is a something everyone, but especially women, need to be aware of as this can help prevent or delay osteoporosis. More resent studies have established a link between vitamin-K and Alzheimer’s patients. They have found that vitamin-K may limit neuronal damage in their brain. But there is one word of warning, vitamin-K will interact with blood thinners. If you are taking blood thinners, you need to be aware of how much vitamin-K you consume. Vitamin-K helps the blood clot. If you take these, I am sure that you have been told not to consume anything with vitamin-K in it. The challenge with this is that your body needs vitamin-K to help protect your liver. You can consume vitamin-K, but you need to be consistent with the amount you consume. If you eat vitamin-K rich foods twice a week, you need to do that twice a week. By being consistent, your doctor can keep your medication balanced.
Bok Choy also contains good minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Potassium plays an important roll in cell and body fluids. It helps control your heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is a co-factor for the anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.
Bok Choy is hardy and can be grown year-round in many climates. It is often more flavorful when grown in colder It can be eaten raw in salads, juiced or blended in smoothies for a calcium kick, or cooked. It is commonly found in many Asian stir fries and soups.