Yes, Bok Choy is Paleo!
Eat that Bok Choy!
Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that has a dark green, glossy, smooth leaves resembling to Romaine lettuce with white stalk. The distinct clustered individual leaves are similar to large celery stalks. It is a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassica family and is closely related to cabbage. The leaves of bok choy do not form a head that is why it is often referred to as a “non-heading’ Chinese cabbage. Its taste is mild and not overpowering and can be described similar to mushrooms in a way. The stalk of bok choy is not usually white or cream in color. The two main varieties in which bok choy is categorized are the white petioled and green petioled. White petioled included joi choi, pak choi white, lei choi and taisai. The green petioled types are Chinese green pak choi and mei qing choi.
Bok Choy is native to China and has been cultivated here for centuries. Not only that it is part of Chinese cuisine, but it has also been in Traditional medicine. Nowadays, many different cuisines incorporate bok choy into their dishes. The entire vegetable is used for cooking. It is often used to add a satisfying crunch in salads. It can also be used in stir fries, soups, stews and coleslaws.
Bok Choy is available year-round but hitting peak season during the winter months.
Bok Choy’s Nutritional Profile
Becoming popular among the cruciferous vegetables, bok choy stands out because of its richness in nutrients and antioxidants which are associated in preventing certain illnesses.
Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, vitamin B6, calcium and manganese. It is also rich in iron, vitamin B2, phosphorus, dietary fiber and protein as well as a good source of choline, magnesium, selenium, niacin, vitamin B1, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and pantothenic acid. Boy choy contains flavonoids like quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin, and antioxidant phenolic acids..
This Paleo food is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Bok Choy
- Bock Choy is rich in both vitamins A and C which are essential in the proper functioning of the immune system. Vitamin C and selenium plays a role in fighting infections and the antioxidants present in bok choy shield the body from free radicals.
- As in other cruciferous vegetables, bok choy contains certain antioxidants such asthiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. These were found to reduce risk of certain cancer prevention like breast, colon and prostate cancers. Bok choy contains folate which plays a role in the DNA synthesis and repair, therefore preventing formation of cancer cells.
- The dietary fiber, vitamins and antioxidants found in bok choy work together to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body, maintaining a healthy heart. Vitamin K has a vasodilating effect that helps in regulating blood pressure. Vitamin B6 together with folate prevents build up of homocystene which if accumulated in excessive amounts, can damage the blood vessels and cause heart problems.
- Antioxidants provided by bok choy does not only reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress but they can also lower the risk of chronic inflammation. The phytonutrient omega-3s, vitamin K and choline can regulate the body’s inflammatory responses.
- Iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium are minerals in bok choy that contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Low intake of vitamin K is associated to higher risk of bone fracture.
Concerns on Bok Choy
Vegetables from the Brassica family, including bok choy tend to be high in goitrogen substances. Again, goitrogens are substances that hinder the function of the thyroid glands, thus, causing goiter. Foods high in goitrogens must be avoided or consumed in limited amounts by people who suffer from thyroid problems.
Just because bok choy contains goitrogen doesn’t mean this should be eliminated in ones diet. Bok choy is a very nutritious food and the nutrients that it contains can outweigh its goitrogen contents. Eating bok choy together with foods high in iodine can balance the effect.
Other Names for Bok Choy
Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choi
What Experts Say About Bok Choy
“Bok choy is loaded with calcium, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, and even if it weren’t, I’d still love it for the lack of strings.” – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Bok Choy and Paleo
The Paleo Diet. Paleo and Breast Cancer Prevention: Is There a Link?
Mark’s daily Apple. You Don’t Have to Try to Like Celery Anymore
Live Healthy. How to Cook Bok Choy for Paleo Diet
Original Eating. Bok Choy
Swiss Paleo. Bok Choy Shrimp
Well Fed. Eat Your Vegetables. Bok Choy
Paleo Hacks. 11 Foods That Affect Your Thyroid Health
Paleo Porn. Is Bok Choy Paleo?
Autoimmune Paleo. Busting the Goitrogen Myth
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Bok Choy
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photo credit: Baby bok choy