What’s chinese cabbage or pak choi & it’s health benefits?

Know in one minute about pak choi benefits

  • Pak cho benefits are due to rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect from various diseases.
  • Glucosinolates in pak choi prevent the risk of cancer.
  • Treat inflammation, pain, and arthritis.
  • Improve memory, boost brain activity, and treat the mental disorder, anxiety as well as depression.
  • Decrease cholesterol level and help to lose weight.
  • Prevent the risk of heart disease.

Introduction

Pak Choi (Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis (L.) is the most popular and favorite Brassicaceae vegetables such as kale and broccoli. It has thick white leaf stems and large, spoon-shaped, dark green leaves. Pak choi can produce more than once during the year, so they can provide plenty of flesh (leaf and stem) for humans. Pak choi benefits are described in the article below.

The color and size of the stem and leaves are varying with different types such as green and purple. Young tender plants are obtained and often sold as “baby bok choy”. However, it should be harvested and consumed from 20 to 25 days after transplantation. It takes the greatest nutritional value. The leaves of the plant have a mildly sweet flavor with a hint of mustard and cabbage. On the other hand, the stems tend to have a mild, almost bland flavor (1)

Geographical distribution

Pak choi is primarily grown and consumed in Asian countries. It is a popular vegetable in Korea, southern China also rising in countries in Europe, North America and elsewhere. 

Common name

It is also called bok choy, pak choy, buk choy, pak choi, choy sum, and Shantung cabbage. Also known as Chinese white cabbage, mock pak choi, cai tai, or saishin and celery mustard. Non-heading Chinese cabbage, Chinese chard, Asian cabbage, celery mustard, Chinese mustard, Chinese white mustard cabbage, spoon cabbage, and baak choi are some other names for this. 

Nutritional value of pak choi

A research study suggested that Pak Choi contains a significantly higher amount of flavonoids than many other vegetables. Pak choi also contains numerous health-benefiting compounds, such as glucosinolates, flavonoids, vitamins, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, quercetin, and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives (2)

Compound Amounts per 100 g.
Water  95.32 g
Energy  13 Kcal
Protein  1.5 g
Total lipid (fat)  0.2 g
Carbohydrate, by the difference 2.18 g
Fiber, total dietary  1 g
Sugar 1.18 g
Calcium 105 mg
Iron, Fe  0.8 mg
Magnesium  19 mg
Phosphorus  37 mg
Potassium  252 mg
Sodium   65 mg
Zinc  0.19 mg
Copper  0.021 mg
Manganese 0.16mg
Selenium 0.9 5g
Vitamin C 45 mg
Thiamin  0.04 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg
Niacin 0.5 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.08mg
Vitamin B-6 0.19 mg
Folate, DFE  66 µg
Vitamin A, RAE  223 µg
Vitamin A 4468 IU
Vitamin E 0.09 mg
Vitamin K 45.5 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated  0.027 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated  0.015 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated  0.096 g

Pak choi benefits

1. Antioxidant properties

Research study proved that Pak Choi contains a higher amount of flavonoids than many other vegetables. It also contains dietary antioxidants, such as water-soluble vitamin C and phenolic compounds (3). Also, contains lipid-soluble vitamin E and carotenoids. Thus pak choi helps to remove harmful radicals from the body (4).

2. Anticancer properties

Glucosinolates present in pak choi are helping to induce enzymes. These enzymes reduce inflammation, colitis, and tumor numbers (5). Thus pak choi is effective to protect DNA from damage, prevent the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer (6).

3. Rich source of calcium

Pak choi can absorb more calcium than milk thus pak choi is an excellent source of calcium bioavailability (7).

4. Treat inflammation and arthritis

Pak choi is an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, K, and bone-preserving calcium.  These antioxidants help to protect cells from free-radical damage. Apart from this, it contains a natural compound known as sulforaphane. This compound blocks the inflammatory process and might slow cartilage damage in osteoarthritis  (8).

5. Improve cognitive function

Pak choi contains sulforaphane, an organosulfur compound that reduces cognitive impairment. It also helps to treat anxiety and depression (9).

6. Prevent obesity and improve lipid metabolism

Intake of pak choi help to decrease bad cholesterol level and increase good cholesterol level. Also, enhance liver enzyme activities thus reduce fat accumulation and promote good health (10).

7. Prevent cardiovascular disease

One of the pak choi benefits is that it binds with bile acid and lower its recirculation. This results in the utilization of cholesterol to synthesize bile acid and reduced fat absorption. Thus consumption of pak choi is effective in lowering the risk of heart disease (11).

Side effect of pak choi

1. Risk of herb-drug Interaction

The person who is taking drug warfarin (blood thinner) should consume pak choi after consultation with the doctor. Because pak choi contains a rich amount of vitamin K which helps your blood clot. Thus proper right balance should be required to maintain health (12).

2. Risk of Pentachloronitrobenzene

Pentachloronitrobenzene is a typical organochlorine fungicide utilized all over the world. This fungicide can accumulate in pak choi however people do not bring harmful effects to the human being. However, it can impair intestinal epithelial cells thus pose a potential risk to the human intestine (13).

3. Risk of Myxedema coma

Myxedema coma is severe hypothyroidism with symptoms like decreased mental status, hypothermia, and slowing of function in multiple organs. Intake of raw bok choy daily for several months can release an enzyme which can inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. Thus intake of the large amount should be avoided (14).

3. Toxic for pets

Pak choi contains organic sulfur compounds that are absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This leads to oxidative damage to red blood cells and causes methemoglobinemia. So if you have dogs and cats you should avoid the ingestion of pak choi by them. It may cause toxicosis such as hemolytic anemia with Heinz body formation which is dangerous for their health (15).

4. Risk of cancer

Pak Choi is very popular to protect against cancer due to the presence of glucosinolates (GLS) in them. However, some GLS (1-methoxy-3-indolylmethyl glucosinolate) can initiate cancer rather than chemoprevention in high dosage. Thus more research and precaution should be needed before consumption (16). However, it is clear that the accumulation of these toxic substances in the plants (Cr) would deem the plant material unsuitable for human consumption and use as animal fodder (17).

5. Risk of heavy metal accumulation

Pak-Choi can accumulate and tolerate heavy metals such as Sulfur, cadmium, chromium, and selenium. This is exceeded the tolerance limit and causes serious potential health risks in people (18).

However, another study reported that the intake of sulfur nutrient supplementation reduces the toxicity of cadmium. (19)

Q&A

What is pak choi good for?

Pak choi is low calorie, contains a high amount of protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and other bioactive compounds. Pak choi contains a high amount of folate as comparable with spinach. Moreover, it also can absorb more calcium than milk which is bone-preserving. These nutrients act as antioxidants that protect the body from various diseases (20).

Can you eat pak choi raw?

Pak choi leaves have sweet along with a mixture of cabbage and spinach flavor. It also has a crispy and juicy texture.  Pak choi can be consumed raw in salads or a garnish, in soups, in sandwiches when young and little. It also can be eaten steamed or boiled, stir-fried as well as pickled. Moreover, the research study suggested that stir-frying retains the glucosinolates and its antioxidant activities in pak choi even at the highest temperature (21). Cooking increases aldehydes and sulfur-containing compounds as well as aroma content in pak choi than raw (22).

Is Pak Choi the same as bok choi?

Pak choi and bok choy are the same but this family is further subdivided in varieties. Pak choi is the leafier cultivar, and bok choy has massive leaf midribs, which are white and fleshy (23).

Where does pak choi come from?

Pak choi originated from China known since the fifth century AD and continues to be grown and consumed all over the world.  

 

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