5 Things You Need to Know About the Health Benefits of Bok Choy

by Livestrong Contributor

Cabbage for Cancer

You may want to stock up on bok choy and other cabbages. Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables seem to have specific benefits for cancer prevention. Several population studies have shown that people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing certain cancers. Which cancers are affected by cruciferous vegetable intake? Lung, colon, prostate and endometrial cancers seem to be reduced with increasing cruciferous vegetable intake. One reason for the benefit may be that these vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are converted to isothiocyanates in our body. These compounds have been shown to be active in fighting cancer.

Healthy Ways to Serve Bok Choy

The way you prepare bok choy can affect its many health benefits. Bok choy contains glucosinolates which may be important for your immune system and to help prevent cancer. Chopping bok choy and eating it raw may be best. Enzymes in bok choy that produce the cancer-fighting compounds inside your body are preserved when bok choy is left uncooked. On the other hand, cooking bok choy can improve the absorption of another class of health-promoting compounds. The carotenoids found in bok choy may be better absorbed if you gently cook bok choy first and then serve with a meal that contains some fat. To get all the health benefits of bok choy, eat it raw in salads on some days and on other days, do a quick steam or saute with other vegetables and enjoy.

Carotenoids

Bok choy is a very good source of several carotenoids, especially beta carotene. Beta carotene has been well-studied as a dietary antioxidant. Some studies show a link between diets high in beta carotene and a lower risk of cancers. Carotenoids are also thought to benefit eye health. Some studies support a role of carotenoids in reducing macular degeneration.

DASH Diet Veggie

The DASH Diet is a well-known diet that helps people achieve a healthy blood pressure. The diet is formulated to contain a high level of certain minerals that help to regulate blood pressure. Bok choy is low in sodium and a good source of calcium and potassium, two of the minerals on which the DASH Diet is based.

Rich in Vitamins

Bok choy is a low-calorie, zero-fat food that also has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of shredded raw bok choy contains about half of your daily requirement for each of these nutrients. Plus, you'll get healthy levels of folate and vitamin B6, as well. All these benefits come in a light tasting leafy vegetable that can be easily prepared as part of a quick saute of Asian-style vegetables.

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