Benefits of Bok Choy
One cup of bok choy has just nine calories and provides protein, dietary fiber and almost all the essential vitamins and minerals you need. This Chinese cabbage is a nutrient-dense food that offers several health benefits. Here are my top four:
One cup of shredded bok choy has 34 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and more than a full day’s intake of vitamin A. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from damage by neutralizing free radicals, or unstable molecules that result from vital chemical processes. Bok choy contains lutein and zeaxanthin too, which are antioxidants that protect the eyes and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
2. Strong Bones
In addition to calcium, you need magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K to build and maintain strong bones. One cup of shredded bok choy delivers at least 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium and phosphorus, 7 percent of calcium and 26 percent of vitamin K.
3. Heart Health
One cup of bok choy provides 11 percent of the recommended daily intake of both folate and vitamin B-6. Folate and vitamin B-6 remove the amino acid homocysteine from the blood. This is important because high levels of homocysteine increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has 4 percent of the daily value of potassium, which regulates the heartbeat. The calcium and magnesium essential for bones also play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. Calcium stimulates heart muscles to contract, while magnesium encourages them to relax.
4. Cancer Protection
Bok choy has unique sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of breast, prostate, lung and digestive tract cancers. These substances may help the body eliminate carcinogens, prevent cells from turning into cancer or alter metabolism to stop the development of hormone-sensitive cancers. One cup of chopped bok choy has 38 milligrams of glucosinolates.
Here’s a quick stir-fry recipe has spicy bold flavor and is an easy side dish to perk up most any meal, while giving you all the benefits that bok choy provide.
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
4 heads baby bok choy, about 1 lb. total
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tsp. Asian chili oil
I only recently discovered tofu and the many health benefits it offers. Tofu is a high-protein alternative to red meat. Due to its protein content, eating tofu can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories. A 1/2-cup serving of regular tofu provides about 10 grams of protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.
Tofu is also a low-carb food. A 1/2-cup portion of regular tofu contains about 2 grams of carbohydrates. When trying to lose weight, trading in red meat and chicken for tofu is a great alternative. It takes on the flavors of whatever it is cooked with. Here is a yummy asian-inspired recipe.
Easy Stir- Fry Tofu with Garlic, Ginger and Scallions
12-14 oz. tofu (extra firm organic)
2 T. peanut oil (use more or less, depending on your pan)
2 tsp. minced garlic (finely)
2 tsp. ginger root, finely grated ( I use cubed ginger already grated and found at Trader Joe’s in the freezer section).
1 cup scallions (sliced into 2 inch pieces, This is about 1 bunch green onions. Keep white parts separate from green parts.
3 T. chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 1/2 T. soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 -2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
This is great summer salad that’s easy, tasty and good for you too.
Chicken and Mango Salad
3 green onions, sliced (including greens)
2 mangos (ripe)
4 cups of shredded chicken (I use a whole roasted chicken, available in the deli section of most grocery stores and finger shred it)
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 head of red lettuce, sliced or torn into strips(approx. 4 cups)
½ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup peanut oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1T Dijon mustard
3 tsp. Asian chili oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Mango Chutney (I like Trader Joes Mango Ginger Chutney)
Sesame-Orange Chicken Skewers 6 servings
1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 T. drained mandarin orange segments
3 green onions, sliced (including about 1/2 the green part)
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or ½ tsp. garlic salt if you don’t have fresh)
Fresh and Spicy
Thai Lettuce Wrap
. 2 pounds ground pork
. 2 garlic cloves, minced
. 2 small shallots, minced
. 1 large jalapeño, seeded & minced, plus sliced jalapeño for garnish
. Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges, for serving
. 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
. 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
. 1 teaspoon Sriracha (chile sauce), plus more for serving
. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
. 1/2 cup chopped mint
. 1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
. 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 large head Boston or other leafy lettuce, separated into leaves