Can You Eat Bok Choy Raw?

Fozia Sherazi, Dr of Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences

Written by Fozia Sherazi, Dr of Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences. Updated on March 12, 2023.

Bok choy is a type of Chinese white cabbage. Along with other leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi, it is also considered a cruciferous vegetable.

Commonly referred to by its Chinese name, “pak choi,” this plant is a member of the Brassica family and originates in Asia. It is the most favored cruciferous vegetable in China.

Despite its Asian roots, different regions worldwide cultivate bok choy, including North America and Europe. It has become a staple ingredient in many international cuisines.

Bok choy can resemble a bunch of celery in shape, with its long, leafy stalks radiating out from the bulging base of the stem.

Based on the cultivar, the stalks can be white or a shade of light green, and the leaves can be flat or ruffled. Unripe bok choy is harvested and marketed as “baby bok choy.”

The length of a baby bok choy is typically between three and six inches.

It has a slightly sweeter flavor. You can prepare it in the same ways as larger bok choy—by chopping, removing the leaves, or using it as a whole in salads.

Bok choy is a popular ingredient, and its popularity has grown in the United States as people have become more familiar with Asian cuisine. You can cook it or eat it raw.

Only separate and rinse the stalks to eat the whole plant.

Can You Eat Raw Bok Choy?

All cultivars of bok choy have broad leaves with a noticeable rib in the middle of the leaf. Bok choy is a green vegetable with a leafy cluster that forms a head shape.

Bok choy typically has a distinctive taste, resembling green cabbage.

You can eat bok choy either raw or cooked.

Eating it raw brings out its juiciness and a mild mustard-like flavor.

Bok Choy’s subtle flavor makes it a great addition to fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies.

Benefits of Eating Raw Bok Choy

There are many benefits to eating raw bok choy. Raw bok choy contains essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin A.

Eating raw bok choy is a great way to increase your intake of these essential nutrients.

Raw bok choy is low in calories and contains no cholesterol, making it an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight or improve their overall health.

Bok choy is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system regular and reduces your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Anticancer Properties

Researchers have delved into the brassica vegetable family for possible cancer-fighting properties. Glucosinolates and their metabolic products appear to cause these effects.

According to one study, eating bok choy at least once a week significantly lowers the likelihood of developing oral, gastrointestinal, bowel, breast, and renal cancers compared with not eating it at all or only every once in a while.

The flavonols isorhamnetin and kaempferol are abundant in bok choy, while quercetin is present in lower concentrations.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Bok Choy’s bioactive components, which act as natural anti-inflammatories, help fight chronic inflammation.

However, bok choy offers you these phytochemicals and two other anti-inflammatory components.

Omega-3 fatty acids are the first of these essential nutrients. Because of its high alpha-linolenic acid content, bok choy is a high-quality omega-3 food source (ALA).

Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin K, which acts as a coagulation agent and an anti-inflammatory vitamin.

Bok choy is a top source of fat-soluble vitamin K and is among its best sources.

Vitamin K regulates the body’s inflammatory processes, particularly in the cardiovascular system, and its involvement in bone wellness and blood coagulation.

Thyroid Health

Bok Choy’s selenium content aids in healthy thyroid gland function.

These glands, present in the neck’s front, are crucial for energy metabolism, temperature regulation, and body development.

Research has linked low selenium levels to thyroid issues like hypothyroidism (low T3 hormones and a high TSH level), autoimmune thyroid inflammation, and Grave’s disease.

Cardiovascular Health

Magnesium, potassium, and calcium are all present in bok choy, and they all function to naturally lower blood pressure.

The DASH diet recommends these minerals to maintain healthy blood pressure.

High blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other conditions.

Research shows that selenium in bok choy may protect against atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries that can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The folate content of bok choy can prevent the elevation of homocysteine levels in the blood.

Side Effects of Eating Raw Bok Choy


The enzyme myrosinase is present in raw bok choy, as it is in all cruciferous vegetables. This enzyme can interfere with thyroid function by limiting iodine absorption.

Heat can render it ineffective during cooking. Small amounts of raw bok choy are safe to eat. One should moderate consumption, as larger quantities can cause severe hypothyroidism.

Drug-Nutrient Interaction

Bok choy is a rich source of vitamin K.

Vitamin K can interact with anticoagulant medications.

Consuming bok choy when taking anticoagulant medications could potentially interfere with the drug’s effectiveness.

People on anticoagulant therapy should speak to their doctor or healthcare provider about dietary options that do not include bok choy.

Digestive Issues

Bok choy contains insoluble fiber, which can cause digestive distress in some people.

Consuming bok choy could also lead to digestive issues such as stomachache, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

People who experience these symptoms should note their bodies’ reactions and avoid consuming bok choy.


Bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable and one of the most popular vegetables in China. It has established itself as a mainstay in several cuisines throughout the world.

Bok choy is high in dietary fiber, which keeps your digestive tract healthy and lowers your risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

Vitamin K, which helps blood clot and reduces inflammation, is abundant in this food.

Raw bok choy is a good source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

To sum up, bok choy has many positive impacts on health, but it may also have negative consequences for some people.

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