Bok Choy

Latin name: Brassica chinensis

Other names: celery mustard, Chinese cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, pak choi, Peking cabbage

What is a Bok Choy?
A relative of the Western cabbage, bok choy has a light, sweet flavor, a crisp texture, and commonly makes an appearance in Chinese cuisine in stir-fries and soups. Also called Chinese cabbage, the name bok choy comes from Cantonese and literally means “white vegetable.” Unlike a European cabbage, bok choy has a small, elongated head with thick white stalks and dark green, veined leaves.

Li Shizhen, a pharmacologist from the Ming Dynasty, studied the Chinese cabbage to discover its medicinal qualities. Later, the leafy vegetable was introduced to Korea and Japan and has now become popular worldwide.

What are the health benefits of Bok Choy?
Cool, pungent, and sweet, bok choy is used by traditional Chinese medicine to quench thirst, relieve constipation, promote digestive health, and treat diabetes.

Bok choy is a member of the Cruciferae family (also known as the Brassicaceae family), and therefore has a similar nutritional profile to other cabbages, including a rich content of vitamin C. Additionally, bok choy contains considerable amounts of to fiber and nitrogen compounds called indoles, both of which appear to lower the risk of various forms of cancer. Bok choy is also a good source of folate. Due to its deep green leaves, bok choy has higher amounts of beta-carotene and supplies more calcium than other cabbages.

Where can I find Bok Choy?
Bok choy can be found in most grocery stores and some outdoor markets in season. Asian markets offer several varieties of bok choy, one of which is called tat soi, which has leaves growing in a large, flat rosette. Bok choy is generally available year-round, but is best in early summer and late fall.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.