Add More Greens to Your Diet With Bok Choy

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Mealtime

Thinking about adding a new green vegetable to your family's diet? Here's one that you might want to consider! Bok choy is a member to the cabbage family, long used in Asian cuisine for stir fries, spring rolls and those oh-so-tasty soups. It has a light, sweet flavour with a crisp texture. The Chinese refer to bok choy as "pak choi," or "white vegetable,"as there are long white stalks (similar to celery) and green crinkly leaves (like Romaine lettuce).

What is nice about bok choy is that it has very few calories (11 in 1/2 a cup cooked, to be exact), with only traces of fat. It also holds 84 mg of calcium, a truckload of vitamin A, and the same amount of vitamin C as you'd get from half an orange.

But that's not all there is to love about this tasty green veggie...


Bok Choy Helps to Lower the Risk of Cancer

This delicious leafy green falls into the category of "cruciferous vegetable." Its partners are broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, watercress and cabbage. These vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol which has been shown to act as a cancer fighter by altering estrogen metabolism.

One study in the British Journal of Cancer showed that cabbage contains a compound called I3C, which improved DNA repair in cells to help stop the cells from becoming cancerous. Another study -- partly funded by The American Cancer Society -- showed a broccoli-cabbage based drug could inhibit melanoma. This test on mice, when combined with selenium, targeted tumors more safely and effectively than conventional therapy. I3C has also been shown to protect against the autoimmune disease Lupus.

This cancer fighting, low-calorie and antioxidant-rich food can easily be added to your family's dinner table.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating bok choy into your weekly meals:
  • Tear up bok choy leaves and add to a bowl of soup.
  • Make a "healthy greens" stir fry with bok choy, chopped cabbage and bean sprouts and top with shrimp.
  • Add torn bok choy to cooked noodles and pasta dishes.
  • Chop spinach and bock choy together and add into the layers of your favourite lasagna recipe.
For more great bok choy recipes, check out this list from SlashFood.

Karla Heintz, B.Sc., is a nutrition educator and author of Picky? Not Me, Mom! A Parents' Guide to Children's Nutrition. If you have a question you would like answered please leave it in the comment section below. Thanks!

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