The nutritional value of bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage and pak-choi, is invaluable if you're seeking a vegetable high in nutrients and absent or low in all of the bad stuff -- fat, sodium and sugars. Bok choy, consumed cooked or raw, is a valuable source of folate and vitamins A, C and K.
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Bok Choy Basics
Bok choy has been a part of Chinese agriculture for more than 6,000 years, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bok choy is considered a dark green leafy vegetable, along with kale, broccoli and collard, mustard and turnip greens.
A 1 cup serving of shredded bok choy contains a meager 10 calories, according to Produce for Better Health Foundation data. It contains no saturated or trans fats or cholesterol -- the nutrients you want to limit. A serving of bok choy is very low in natural sodium, containing only 45 milligrams, or 2 percent of your daily value, or DV. It gives you 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of total carbohydrates, one of which comes from dietary fiber and the other from sugars.
Bok Choy Benefits
One cup of shredded bok choy is high in vitamin A, giving you 60 percent of your DV, and vitamin C, from which you get 50 percent of your DV. The same serving of bok choy is lower in the minerals calcium and iron, giving you 8 and 4 percent of your DV, respectively. The Centers for Science in the Public Interest rates bok choy among other vegetable "superstars," partly due to the vegetable's rich vitamin K and beta-carotene content. A cup of raw, shredded bok choy contains 31.9 micrograms of vitamin K and 1,877 micrgrams of beta-carotene.
Selection, Storage and Preparation
When selecting bok choy from the market, look for firm stalks without any brown discoloration, advises the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Make sure the leaves are crisp and not wilted. Bok choy can be stored in a plastic food bag for a week in your refrigerator.
Part of a Healthy Diet
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may put you less at risk for stroke, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer, states the USDA. If you're watching your weight, low-calorie vegetables like bok choy can be helpful in reducing your overall daily caloric intake. The USDA advises eating a variety of vegetables during the course of the week -- not just those in the leafy green category, but starchy and orange vegetables, as well as dry beans and peas. The daily recommendation for physically active women age 19 to 50 is 2 1/2 cups of vegetables; for the same-aged men, the daily recommendation is 3 cups.