Nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable bok choy linked with lowering risks

Bok Choy

Bok choy, ranked the sixth most nutrient-dense food, is a cruciferous vegetable linked to a lower risk of numerous types of cancer, including lung, prostate, and colon.

Scientifically reviewed by Holli Ryan, RD, LN/D, in May 2022. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Chinese cabbage—more commonly known as bok choy—is a cruciferous vegetable that’s been eaten in China for more than 1,500 years.

It continues to be a common ingredient in many Asian soups and stir-fries, but it deserves a spot at the table here in the US as well.

Bok choy has been ranked the sixth most nutrient-dense food (based on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index).

Like other cruciferous vegetables, bok choy comes loaded with nutrients that can help reduce cancer risk, fight inflammation, reduce heart disease risk, and more.

People who eat more cruciferous vegetables like bok choy have a lower risk of numerous types of cancer, including lung, prostate, and colon cancer.1

Bok choy contains selenium, an important mineral that helps detoxify cancer-causing compounds from the body. It’s also been shown to decrease the growth rate of tumors in rats.2

Bok choy’s “superfood status” comes from the variety of disease-fighting nutrients packed into its green leaves and crunchy white stalk.

For example, it contains the flavonoid quercetin, which helps reduce inflammation in the body.3

Like all other cruciferous vegetables, bok choy is rich in compounds called glucosinolates, which provide protection from serious diseases like cancer and myocardial infarction.4

Bok choy can be prepared in a variety of ways. Enjoy it shredded and tossed in a salad, chopped and added to soups, or sauteed with other vegetables.


  1. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  2. PLoS One. 2010 Apr 29;5(4):e10423.
  3. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/quercetin-uses-and-risks. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  4. Akram M, Jabeen F, Riaz M, et al. Health benefits of glucosinolate isolated from cruciferous and other vegetables. In: Egbuna C, Mishra AP, Goyal MR, eds. Preparation of Phytopharmaceuticals for the Management of Disorders : Academic Press; 2021:361-71.