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Nutritional benefits and composition of Bok Choy (Brassica rapa) - delicious Chinese cabbage

brassica oleracea

brassica rapa

herbs and bioactive substances

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese white cabbage, which falls into the category of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli (Brassica oleracea).

Nutritional benefits and composition of Bok choy

Bok choy is a very nutritious vegetable

Like other green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, bok choy is rich in health-beneficial nutrients, including a wide range of vitamins and minerals. In one glass (70 grams) grated bok choy has the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 9 kcal
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Total fat: 0 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 1.5 grams
  • Total sugar: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Calcium: 6% of the daily value (DV)
  • Iron: 3% of DV
  • Magnesium: 3% of DV
  • Phosphorus: 2% of DV
  • Potassium: 4% of DV
  • Zinc: 1% of DV
  • Manganese: 5% of DV
  • Selenium: 1% of DV
  • Vitamin C: 35% of DV
  • Folic acid: 12% of DV
  • Vitamin A: 17% of DV
  • Vitamin K: 27% of DV

As it becomes clear, bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. It also contains fibers that support normal digestion and helps reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including some cancers.  [ref. 1] 

Bok choy has potential anti-cancer properties

Scientists have studied the family of cruciferous vegetables for potential cancer benefits. These effects seem to come from their sulfur compounds, called glucosinolates, and their decay products called isothiocyanates.   [Ref. 2] 

One study found that bok choy consumption at least once a week was associated with a significantly lower risk of oral, esophageal, colorectal cancer, and breast, and kidney cancer compared to people who had never consumed bok choy. 3 Furthermore, bok choy is a rich source of the mineral selenium, which can also have anticancer properties.

In another analysis of multiple studies, the researchers found that high exposure to selenium, detected through blood levels or in the toenails, was associated with a lower risk of breast, lung, esophagus, stomach and prostate cancer.  [ref. 3] 

Bok choy to support bone and joint health

A number of minerals in the plant support bone health. Such are calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and vitamin K. Zinc and iron play a role in collagen synthesis and vitamin D metabolism. Collagen is a type of protein that forms a matrix in your joints and skeletal system, helping to maintain bone structure and strength. Unfortunately, it is depleted with age, and therefore it is necessary to consume more foods rich in calcium, along with vitamin D and magnesium for optimal absorption.

Bok choy for heart health

Bok choy contains the minerals potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which help to naturally regulate blood pressure. The vegetable is also an excellent source of folate and vitamin B6. Studies have found that these nutrients can prevent the accumulation of homocysteine. Homocysteine can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke if it has elevated levels in the body.  [Ref. 4] 

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Potential Side Effects

Although bok choy offers a number of health benefits, it can also have drawbacks for some people when consumed in large quantities.

In raw, uncoated form, cruciferous vegetables contain an enzyme called myrosinase, which breaks down the glucosinolates that these vegetables also contain.

Some of the degradation products of glucosinolates can prevent the body from absorbing iodine, which is crucial for thyroid function. In addition, since bok choy is rich in vitamin K, you may not want to consume it in larger quantities if you are taking blood-thinning drugs.

  1. Nutritional benefits and composition of Bok choy
    • Bok choy is a very nutritious vegetable
    • Bok choy has potential anti-cancer properties
    • Bok choy to support bone and joint health
    • Bok choy for heart health

  2. Potential Side Effects

Summary

Bok choy is a cruciate, leafy vegetable that is widely present in Asian cuisine. It provides a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and fibers that are good for your health. In fact, bok choy can be useful for heart health, bone health, and thyroid function. It may even have anticancer properties, but for some people, it is not recommended to consume it in large quantities. 

References

  1. Intake of fiber and fiber-rich plant foods is associated with a lower risk of renal cell carcinoma in a large US cohort
  2. Cruciferous Vegetables: Dietary Phytochemicals for Cancer Prevention -Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention | Korea Science
  3. Selenium Exposure and Cancer Risk: an Updated Meta-analysis and Meta-regression - Scientific Reports

The author

Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 

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