Diet

The health benefits of bok choy and a recipe you'll love

Five health benefits to gain from eating this Chinese cabbage.

bok choy

Julie Daniluk R.H.N.

Bok choy may be a recent addition to our country, but like many new residents, it seems to thrive on Canadian soil. This popular Chinese green vegetable is a member of the cabbage family, but resembles romaine lettuce more than the standard coleslaw ingredient. Local bok choy is available late in the season as it grows fast and is fairly frost resistant making it a perfect planting choice for farmers dealing with our short Canadian growing season.

I struggle sometimes to get my father to eat enough cooked green vegetables. He resists my kale experiments, and so I think the delicate light flavour of bok choy will be hit with him. When paired with shitake mushrooms, a sweet Asian dressing and lots of red pepper, this green veggie takes on sweetness without dominating. I was thrilled when my dad cleared his plate and uttered, “These greens I like Julie. I am sad that there is none left or I would have had a second portion.” I will know better next time to double the recipe!

Five benefits of eating bok choy

1. Bok choy contains cancer preventing compounds. Bok choy is also known as “Chinese cabbage”. This is because bok choy belongs to the same family of foods known as the brassica family. You’ll find that this family is loaded with a cancer preventing compound called sulforaphane that prevents the multiplication of mutated cancer cells!

2. Bok choy is a great source of calcium. Bok choy yields 74mg of calcium in a one cup serving. This makes bok choy an amazing alternative to dairy for increasing your daily calcium intake! Calcium from food sources plays a pivotal role in reducing the risk of osteoprorosis and hypertension.

3. Boost your beta-carotene with bok choy. Beta carotene is also known as the plant source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is especially important for pregnant women because it is needed for cellular division in our bodies and the development of proper eyesight in both adults and infants.

4. Choose bok choy to aid in the reduction of cholesterol. Bok choy contains a combination of both soluble and insoluble fibre. These two together work to decrease cholesterol by binding to bile and fat in your digestive tract and stopping the cholesterol from forming in the blood stream! Fibre is also essential for maintaining a healthy body weight and efficient digestive system.

5. Use bok choy to boost your potassium. Potassium is essential to cardiovascular health and the modulation of blood pressure. Potassium has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels when the body is in a state of hypertension (high blood pressure). The amount of people suffering from hypertension is at an all time high due to the drastic increases in sodium that are consumed in the Standard American Diet. So switch those salty chips for some sautéed bok choy!

Garlic bok choy stir-fry

Ingredients
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped, stems removed
6 cups bok choy, chopped into 2 inch strips
2 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 cup cashews for garnish

Instructions 

1. Chop all vegetables before beginning to cook.
2. Heat both sesame oil and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and stir-fry for two minutes or until soft.
4. Add the mushrooms and continue to toss for two minutes.
5. Add the garlic, ginger and red peppers. Toss for a further two minutes until peppers are just beginning to soften.
6. Add remaining ingredients, and cover for two to three minutes to steam bok choy

 

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.