A Chinese Vegetable Superfood: Bok Choy
By: Madalina Hubert
If you’ve been to a Chinese restaurant, you may have noticed a leafy green vegetable that accompanies many meals. It is crunchy, nutritious, and works admirably well to lighten a meat dish.
This is the bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage that is part of the cruciferous family. This group includes low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, radish, cauliflower, and turnips.
There are several bok choy varieties among Chinese vegetables, but the two main types are the larger white-stemmed bok choy and the smaller green-stemmed variety.
Bok choy is popular in Asian cuisine, especially in stir-fries and soups. It has cooling, anti-inflammatory qualities and works well year-round. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat fevers, coughs, and other related ailments.
Bok Choy has been cultivated in China for thousands of years. Today it is grown worldwide and modern studies have also found that there are many health properties of this Chinese vegetable.
5 Benefits of this Chinese Vegetable
1. Strengthens Bones
Bok choy has several important nutrients that strengthen bones. These include minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. This Chinese vegetable also has abundant quantities of vitamins that are important for bone health: vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Having a diet with adequate amounts of these nutrients may improve bone health and have an impact on preventing osteoporosis and other age-related bone fractures.
2. Improves Blood Circulation
As mentioned, bok choy includes potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals all play an important role in blood circulation by regulating the function of blood vessels. Bok choy also contains iron, a key ingredient in the production of red blood cells, thus leading to good blood circulation and oxygenation of the body. Another aspect to keep in mind is that the vitamin K found in bok choy is an important blood-clotting agent.
3. Protects Eyes
Bok choy contains large amounts of vitamin A, an important vitamin that maintains healthy eyes by protecting the eye cornea. In combination with other vitamins, vitamin A may also prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as other eye diseases.
4. Boosts Immune System
This Chinese vegetable has great quantities of vitamin C, which plays an important role in improving the immune system. Vitamin C helps the formation of collagen, a vital component of bones, skin, muscle tissue, teeth, and blood vessels. It also assists in healing and recovery. Bok choy has anti-inflammatory qualities, due to the presence of vitamin K and other nutrients.
5. Benefits the Cardiovascular System
This Chinese vegetable contains several nutrients that benefit heart health, including folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. Folate and vitamin B-6 can prevent high levels of homocysteine in the body, which leads to damage to blood vessels and heart problems, thus making bok choy a good part of the diet.
Enjoying this healthy Chinese vegetable gives a chance to expand our palate with nutritious food. We can thus explore the flavours of Chinese cuisine while strengthening our body with its many benefits.
Here is a delicious bok choy recipe that you can prepare this spring:
Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are purely informational and educational in nature. The information is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.