|Bok choy or leafy Chinese cabbage is one of the popular mainland crop in China, Philippines, Vietnam and other oriental regions; nonetheless this humble brassica family vegetable has gained popularity even in the western world for its sweet, succulent nutritious stalks. It is also named as pe-tsai, pak choi, petsay, white celery mustard, Chinese white cabbage…etc. Scientific name: Brassica campestris L. (Chinensis group).
In structure, bok choy resembles collards and could be described as a non-heading cabbage (Acephala group). It is basically a small plant which grows upright from the ground with smooth white romaine lettuce like stalks which spread in the end to fine, glossy green oval or round leaves. Fully grown up plant may reach about 12-18 inches in length.
100 g of bok choy provides just 13 calories. It is one of the recommended vegetable in the zero calorie or negative calorie category of foods which when eaten would add no extra weight to the body but in-turn facilitate calorie burns and reduction of weight.
Like other brasisca family vegetables, bok choy contains certain anti oxidant plant chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Along with dietary fiber, vitamins these compounds help to protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.
Fresh pak choi is an excellent source of water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin-C (ascorbic acid). 100 g provides 45 mg or 75 % of daily requirements of vitamin C. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.