If you’ve seen bok choy at the grocery store or farmer’s market but have never tried it, you’re in for a treat. But before you try it, you should know what the health benefits of bok choy are; why it’s a good, budget-friendly vegetable; and how to eat it.
What is Bok Choy?
Bok choy is also known as pak choi or pok choi and is a type of Chinese cabbage. It’s a leafy green that’s part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables also include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and collard greens.
Bok choy is a cooler season vegetable, so it’s in season in the spring and early summer and in the fall. It has a mild taste and both the leaves and stalks can be eaten.
If you see it listed as baby bok choy, Gardening Know How1 explains that this just means that it was harvested earlier, so the leaves are small and tender. Baby bok choy is usually sweeter than regular-sized bok choy.
Nutrients in Bok Choy
No matter the size, the health benefits of bok choy are numerous. It’s low in calories and is packed with the all-important Vitamins A, C and K.
Health Benefits of Bok Choy
The health benefits of bok choy stem from all of the nutrients it contains. Its high level of Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helps wounds to heal through its ability to make collagen and helps the immune system to work properly3. Vitamin K found in bok choy helps with blood clotting and bone growth4. And the Vitamin A is important for vision, immune function, reproduction and cellular communication5.
Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables are also being looked at by cancer researchers because they contain a group of sulfur-containing chemicals that may help to prevent cancer6. In addition, in 2014, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that bok choy ranks second in nutrient density out of 41 Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables. Watercress was first with a score of 100, bok choy came second with a score of 91.99, and chard was third with a score of 89.277.
How to Store and Prepare Bok Choy
Bok choy does not keep well for a long time, so the best way to store it is in the refrigerator. I’ve found that putting it in a gallon baggie with another baggie covering it from the other end keeps it fresh for the longest amount of time. It should be used within 3-5 days.
Bok choy can be eaten raw, steamed or in a stir-fry. When I use it in a stir-fry, I include the stalks with the vegetables that take longer to cook and then add the leaves at the last minute. Bok choy can also be substituted for cabbage in most recipes.
Here are several of my favorite bok choy recipes:
- 10-Minute Lemon Garlic Sauteed Bok Choy
- The Best Bok Choy Recipe (Garlic & Ginger)
- Sesame Stir-Fry (I substitute bok choy for the cabbage)
Cost of Bok Choy
Bok choy is very affordable. Since very few pesticides are used on it, it’s not necessary to buy it organic. Even if you do go for the organic version though, the price is very reasonable for the amount of food that it provides.
The price of bok choy usually ranges from $1.35 for conventionally grown to $3.50 for organic.
Lean on Your Community
Have you tried bok choy? If so, be sure and let us know in the comments below how you like to fix it.
- Gardening Know How. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/bok-choy/what-is-baby-bok-choy.htm
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168390/nutrients
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Vitamink-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
- National Cancer Institute. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet
- Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130390. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130390