Some people have a pretty good idea about which types of good are good for you and which are not… but do any of us know why they are healthy? Sometimes, we just assume that we can believe what we hear about foods from the mass media or the people around us (who, though they often have good intentions, may not always be 100% correct)… but that isn’t always the best idea!
So this week (and most of the month of November), Heroic Health & Well-Being is providing you with the necessary information that we think you could use to make wiser, more informed food choices. We will cover anything and everything, from fruits and veggies, to certain herbs and lettuces, to spices and teas even. There can be valuable health points hidden away in foods that you hadn’t even considered… so let us open some new doors for you!
Get ready… it’s going to be a wild ride!
Today, in honour of the outstanding dinner that we had here at Heroic Health headquarters last night, the veggie of the day is bok choy. Bok choy (or chinese cabbage– Brassica rapa) can refer to two distinct varieties of Chinese leaf vegetables often used in Chinese cuisine: Pekinensis (napa cabbage) and Chinensis (bok choi)
These vegetables are both variant cultivars or subspecies of the turnip and belong to the same genus as such Western staples as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Both have many variations in name, spelling, and scientific classification, especially the bok choy ( rapa chinensis) variety. Bok choy was principally grown in theYangtze River Delta region, but the Ming Dynasty naturalist Li Shizhen popularized it by bringing attention to its medicinal qualities. It contains a high amount of vitamin A per 4 oz. of serving – about 3500 IU. Bok choy also contains approximately 50 mg of vitamin C per 4 oz. serving.
This member of the cabbage family is one of our highest nutritionally ranked vegetables and it provides good, very good, or excellent amounts of 21 nutrients. Unlike some other members of the cabbage family, these ranked nutrients include omega-3s, as well as the antioxidant mineral zinc.
You’ll want to include bok choy as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2 to 3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1½cups. Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy bok choy and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4 to 5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups. We’ve found bok choy to be a delightful alternative among the cruciferous vegetables for its quick preparation, enjoyable and easy-to-chew texture, milder and somewhat sweet taste, and versatility in recipes.
The only thing to watch for is that bok choy contains glucosinolates. These compounds have been reported to prevent cancer in small doses, but, like many substances, can be toxic to humans in large doses, particularly to people who are already seriously ill. In 2009, an elderly diabetic woman who had been consuming 1 to 1½ kg of raw bok choy per day, in an attempt to treat her diabetes, developed hypothyroidism, for reasons relating to her diabetes, resulting in myxedema coma… however, 1 to 1½ kg of raw bok choy per day is a ridiculous amount of this vegetable! So chances are that with any “normal” amount, you would be just fine.
The healthy recipe we have for you today that uses the special ingredient is simply called “Best Bok Choy”. It was first presented by Guy Fieri on The Food Network, but we love it because of it’s simplicity and amazing balance of flavours. Serve with a tall glass of Pinot Noir for best results.
Best Bok Choy:
- 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1½ cups green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2 to 3” pieces
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, halved and sliced
- 3 baby bok choy, sliced into ½” pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- In a wok or large sauté pan, add the grapeseed oil and when almost smoking, add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes
- Add the green beans and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes longer
- Add the bok choy, garlic, soy sauce and fish sauce and sauté until just wilted
- Add pepper to taste and serve immediately