“Pak Choy” or “Bok choy” is the Cantonese name under which most U.S. groceries sell the nutritious green vegetable known in the Philippines as “pechay.” Pechay is a relatively bland vegetable related to cabbage. Its whitish chopped ribs and green shredded leaves are often used to add nutrients, crunch and color to stir-fried dishes.
Just 3 oz. of boiled pechay contains 72 percent of the average daily requirement for vitamin A. Vitamin A has been dubbed the “anti-infective” vitamin, according to the Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University. It received that designation because it protects and supports the epithelial cells that are vital to immune system defenses. Vitamin A is also important for good eyesight. Without sufficient vitamin A, a condition called “night blindness” can develop. In night blindness, the eyes are incapable of adjusting to low light. For personalized information about the vitamin A intake that is appropriate for you, consult your physician or a qualified nutritionist.
Pechay has 30 percent of the average daily value for vitamin C in a 3 oz serving. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, a major building block of the connective tissue. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants can help protect the body from the harmful effects of oxidative stress, a biochemical process that may contribute to cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. A high intake of antioxidant-rich foods such as pechay has demonstrably more beneficial health effects than antioxidants taken in supplement form, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Folate, a member of the B vitamin complex, is critical to the development and maintenance of cells. A 3 oz serving of pechay contains 10 percent of the average daily value for this important nutrient. Without adequate folate consumption prior to conception, pregnant women run the risk of bearing children with devastating birth defects that affect the spine and brain. Folate deficiencies can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, sore tongue, behavioral disturbances and an increased risk of heart disease, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.
Pechay contains small amounts of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. Niacin facilitates numerous metabolic reactions, according to the 2009 textbook “Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition.” Thiamine deficiencies cause beriberi, a sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system. Riboflavin helps unlock the energy in nutrients, and vitamin B-6 is a factor in cognitive functioning, immune system health and hormone activity. These nutrients are all members of the B vitamin family.
The most important health benefit of pechay is its vitamins and minerals, which helps in keeping you healthy in terms of attaining stronger bones and glowing skin. A serving of pechay also contains:
- Calcium for strong bones
- Phosphorus for bone formation, digestion, excretion, and hormonal balance
- Potassium for muscle control, blood pressure regulation, and hypertension prevention,
- Vitamin A for promoting growth, reproduction, and the improvement of vision
- Iron which helps carry oxygen in the blood
- Magnesium for body’s detoxification
- Zinc for improving the immune system against infection and even cancer
- Vitamin C for glowing skin
- Thiamin, vitamin B-6 and folate for better functioning heart, muscles, and body nervous system
As for me: I made a recipe that I hope everybody will love. It’s easy to prepare and cook, super economical and exceptional in flavour.
1 Can tuna in vegetable oil
250 grams pechay or 2-3 bunches (shredded)
1 whole tomato cut into wedges
1 onion sliced
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp Canola Oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a heated wok, saute garlic, tomato and onion.
2.Stir in the tuna, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
3.Mix in the shredded Pechay.
This process will only take 5 to 10 minutes in a well heated pan or wok. Make sure that you stir constantly to avoid burning it. Once Pechay is cooked ( Cook it enough that it still has its crunch) you can add in salt and pepper as desired.
If you want, you can add sliced chili pepper to make it a little spicy.
Go ahead and try it! Bon Appetit!