Friday, April 13, 2012

What in the world is...Bok Choy?

I recently made this simple steamed bok choy dish (with steamed carrots and mushrooms) and it got me thinking about bok choy. Bok choy is a great example of the kind of vegetable I would have ignored in the grocery store before I went plant strong. I mean, when you really think about the full rainbow of vegetables out there that we haven't tried, it's really intimidating exciting!

In case you haven't tried bok choy at home (eating it in oily take-out Chinese doesn't count!), I recommend this sort of recipe. Just steam some vegetables and top them with a dressing of a simple peanut sauce and some toasted raw sesame seeds.

So what in the world is BOK CHOY anyway?

  • It is very low in calories and is a very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

  • 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.


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