Is Bok Choy healthy to eat? Know its benefits and side effects

The advantages of Bok Choy are immense, including better bone health and stronger immunity. Read on to know more
Bok choi with sauce
Bok choy has a host of health benefits associated with it. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Updated: 13 Feb 2024, 08:34 am IST
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Be it heart health, bone health or better immunity, bok choy is a cruciferous green vegetable that is rather wholesome in its advantages. Be it soups, salads or stir fries, bok choy not only adds variety, and taste, but also makes it nutritious. However, nothing in excess is good, and bok choy also has a host of disadvantages that cannot be ignored. It might lead to an allergic reaction or a gastrointestinal discomfort if not had in moderation.

Health Shots got in touch with dietician Kejal Shah, who tells us all about how bok choy is healthy, its nutrition value, the health benefits and the side effects associated with eating it.

What is Bok choy?

Bok choy, also known as pak choi, is a type of Chinese white cabbage that belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes Brussels sprouts and broccoli. “Originally from China, Bok Choy is the most widely eaten brassica vegetable in the country. Bok choy is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains many essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other important nutrients,” says Shah.

What is the nutritional profile of Bok Choy?

One cup (70 grams) of shredded bok choy has the following nutritional profile:

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

As noted, bok choy is a good source of vitamins C and K, and it contains some fibre, which is important for digestive health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. It also offers various minerals and antioxidants.

A woman eating a salad
Bok choy can be added raw in salads. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the health benefits of Bok choy?

Consuming bok choy can reap multiple health benefits. Check them out!

1. Bone health

Bok choy is high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and vitamin K, essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones.

Also Read: 5 bone-building nutrients apart from calcium

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2. Heart health

It contains folate and vitamin B6, which help remove homocysteine from the blood, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. The vegetable also contains compounds that help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.

3. Immune support

Bok choy’s selenium content contributes to a healthy immune system, aiding in the body’s defense against harmful bacteria and viruses.

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4. Anticancer properties

The antioxidants and vitamin C in bok choy may help reduce the risk of cancer. It also contains sulfur-containing compounds that may benefit human health in various ways.

5. Skin health

The vitamin C in bok choy is known for fighting free radicals, reducing the risk of skin damage. Its antioxidative nature treats various skin conditions and promotes the formation of collagen, improving overall skin health and appearance.

What are the side effects of Bok choy?

The potential side effects of consuming bok choy include:

1. Gastrointestinal discomfort

Eating large amounts of bok choy, especially if not accustomed to a high-fiber diet, may lead to cramps and bloating.

2. Thyroid function

Bok choy contains myrosinase, which can interfere with iodine absorption and may impair thyroid function. Cooking deactivates this compound, so moderate consumption of cooked bok choy is generally not a concern.

3. Allergic reactions

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to bok choy, as it contains proteins that can act as food allergens.

4. Interaction with medications

Bok choy is high in vitamin K, so individuals taking blood-thinning medications should consult a healthcare provider before incorporating it into their diet.

It’s important to consume bok choy in moderation and be aware of these potential side effects, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications.

A woman showing her strength
Bok choy is very good for bone health enhancement. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to include bok choy in your diet?

Here are several ways to include bok choy in your diet:

1. Eat it raw in salads

Shred raw bok choy and toss it with other fresh vegetables to make a salad.

2. Soups

Add chopped bok choy to hot and sour soup.

3. Stir-Fry

Stir-fry bok choy with a variety of vegetables, as its mild flavor and crisp texture make it a versatile addition to stir-fries.

4. Grilled

Cut baby bok choy in half, drizzle with olive oil, and grill it for a tasty and nutritious side dish.

5. Asian dishes

Incorporate bok choy into Asian-inspired dishes such as fried rice, dumplings, or as a side for stir-fries.

These methods of preparation allow one to enjoy the unique flavor and nutritional benefits of bok choy in various dishes, from salads to main courses.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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