A Chinese cabbage of a variety with smooth-edged tapering leaves, refers to bok choy. It ranks high in nutrient density for fruit and vegetables. Here Megan Ware, MedicalNewsToday.com, reflects on health benefits of bok choy, medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD:
“Bok choy, pak choi or Chinese white cabbage, belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables. First cultivated in China thousands of years ago, it is now available all over the world.
Other cruciferous vegetables include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips.
These vegetables are a good supply of nutrients and are low in calories. They are well- suited to a healthful diet.
The nutrients in bok choy may offer protection from a number of conditions.
Protection from cancer
Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables have certain anti-cancer properties.
Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, bok choy contains the mineral selenium.
Cruciferous and other vegetables also offer protection because they provide fiber. Fiber keeps the stool moving. This keeps the bowel healthy and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Fibrous foods also feed healthy gut bacteria, which affects overall health, metabolism, and digestion.
Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and growth of collagen.
Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure. However, proper bone growth needs a careful balance of both these nutrients. A diet that contains too much phosphorus and not enough calcium can result in bone loss.
Vitamin K helps maintain the balance of calcium in the bones, which means it might help reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Bok choy’s folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all help to maintain a healthy heart.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) published in 2011 found a “significantly higher” risk of cardiovascular disease among people who consumed too much sodium and not enough potassium.
Vitamin B-6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. Excess homocysteine in the body can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
Type 2 diabetes
Some studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables can help people with diabetes to maintain their blood sugar levels. However, a meta-analysis published in 2018 concluded that the evidence for such a link was “not convincing.”
The American Diabetes Association describe non-starchy vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables, as “one food group where you can satisfy your appetite.”
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