Bok Choy Bok Choy fully grown with big green leaves and white stalks

Bok Choy: The Green leaves fighting Cancer

Bok Choy is a Chinese vegetable in the cruciferous vegetable family. It has a loose head of dark green leaves with thick white stems. Bok choy, or brassica chinensis, is classified as cabbage. Bok choy has little resemblance to the round European cabbages found in western supermarkets. The white stalks of bok choy resemble celery without the stringiness, while the dark green, crinkly leaves of the most common variety is similar to Romaine lettuce. The Chinese commonly refer to bok choy as pak choi or "white vegetable". This vegetable is one of the cruciferous vegetables that prevents cancer.


History and development of Bok Choy

Bok Choy was introduced to Europe in the 1800's. It is now readily available in supermarkets throughout North America. Bok choy is widely popular in the Philippines, where large numbers of Chinese immigrated following Spain's conquest of the islands in the 1500's. While bok choy is grown in the United States and several Canadian provinces, it remains firmly associated with Chinese cooking. If you mention the word bok choy, most of us think of the plant with dark green leaves. However, in Hong Kong over twenty varieties are available. You can also find Shanghai or baby bok choy, a miniaturized version of bok choy, in Asian markets.

The Chemical Composition of Bok Choy

Bok choy is made up of the same chemicals as broccoli and cauliflower, because it is also a cruciferous vegetable.. It is a delicate leaf-stalk vegetable that is cultivated mainly in China, Korea, Japan, and the USA. The plants grow to about sixteen to twenty inches tall and are ready for harvest just two months after planting. Bok choy does not form a closed head, and resembles Swiss Chard in appearance and taste. It is a white-stalked cabbage with dark green leaves and, because it does not travel well, it is hardly ever exported by the Asian countries, where it is widely grown. It is now cultivated on an increasing scale in the West. There are three main types of bok choy: regular, baby, and Shanghai. All types of bok choy can have flowers. Naturally, there is always one that does not fit into any of these categories. Bok Choy is high in Beta carotene and Vitamin C and an excellent source of folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. The darker the leaf, the more betacarotene it contains. Beta-carotene is the isomeric form of carotene that is widely distributed in nature and is converted to vitamin A in the body. Bet-carotene is found in dark green and dark yellow fruits and vegetables.

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Copyright © 2005 Alisha Dhanji