How to Use Bok Choy in a Low Carb Diet

Learn the nutritional value, calories, and health benefits of bok choy

Bok Choy
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Bok choy, also called Chinese cabbage, or Pak-choi, is a member of the brassica, or cabbage family. It is strongly associated with Chinese cuisine, although it is quite common in U.S. grocery stores now - either the type with large white stalks and dark green leaves or in season, a smaller, more tender type called baby bok choy (or Shanghai bok choy). Bok choy is highly nutritious and very low in carbs.

For cooking information, see Bok Choy Cooking Tips.

Health Benefits

Bok choy is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A and beta-carotene. It is a very good source of folate, and a good source of calcium and vitamin B6 as well. In addition, bok choy is one of the cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It is considered a leafy green vegetable and is generally used to add greenery to a dish.

Selecting Fresh Bok Choy

When choosing bok choy look for vibrant green colored blades (similar in look as spinach) accompanied by firm stems that are a little moist. Bok choy is similar looking as spinach at its blades and celery (though more white than green) at the stem. Don't wash bok choy until directly before cooking. Bok choy is also able to be eaten raw, but most people add it to soups, stews and stir-frys.

Storing Bok Choy and Shelf Life

Bok choy should be stored in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer in a loose or perforated plastic bag.

Bok choy can last up to three to four days in the refrigerator. If frozen, they can last between 10-12 months.

Easy Cooking Techniques

Bok choy cooks quickly and can be eaten raw, but is usually cooked. Here are some quick and easy tips for eating bok choy. Saute with chopped snow peas and mushrooms in a frying pan with a little oil and season to taste for a 5-minute side dish.

Add pre-cooked chicken or tofu to this for a full meal. Mark Bittman, author of Leafy Greens shares his thoughts on the versatility of bok choy, "The bok choi varieties really stand apart; their texture can be as crunchy as that of celery if cooking times are short, but if you leave them in the pan a little longer, they develop a creamy texture that is unique among greens. For my money, their flavor is superior to that of any other cabbage."

More on the Health Benefits of Leafy Greens

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

  • 1 cup chopped raw bok choy: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 9 calories
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) raw bok choy: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 14 calories
  • ½ cup cooked bok choy: 2 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 10 calories

Glycemic Index

As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of bok choy.

More About Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load

  • 1 cup raw bok choy: 1
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) raw bok choy: 1
  • ½ cup cooked bok choy: 1

More About Glycemic Load

More About Bok Choy at Calorie Count.

More Carb Profiles:

Sources

Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.

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