Tatsoi: Nutrients, Benefits, and Recipes

Though many people have never heard of tatsoi, this vibrant veggie is well worth adding to your shopping list.

Not only is it highly nutritious, but it also boasts a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that works well in many different dishes.

This article will take an in-depth look at tatsoi, including its nutritional value and potential health benefits, along with some easy ways to add it to your diet.

Tatsoi is a type of leafy green vegetable that is closely related to bok choy.

Like bok choy, tatsoi is a member of the mustard family and is known by its scientific names, Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa or Brassica rapa var. rosularis (1).

Tatsoi sometimes goes by other names, including tat soy, spoon mustard, and rosette bok choy.

It features green, spoon-shaped leaves that appear similar to romaine lettuce, along with a crisp stem that has a slightly bitter flavor.

Tatsoi is a vibrant and versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in a variety of recipes, ranging from salads to soups and side dishes.

Similar to other leafy greens, it’s highly nutritious and makes a great addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet.

summary

Tatsoi is a type of leafy green that is closely related to bok choy. It features spoon-shaped leaves and a crisp stem, which can be enjoyed in many different dishes.

Tatsoi is low in calories but high in fiber and a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals.

In fact, Brassica vegetables, including tatsoi, are a particularly great source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important nutrient that plays a key role in immune function and maintaining healthy vision (2, 3).

Plus, they are rich in vitamin E, a micronutrient that acts as an antioxidant to help protect cells against harmful compounds known as free radicals (2, 4).

What’s more, they also provide a good amount of calcium in each serving, which helps strengthen the bones and supports nerve and muscle function (2, 5).

Additionally, tatsoi and other Brassica vegetables contain sulfur-rich compounds that have been associated with a multitude of health benefits, including sulforaphane (6).

summary

Tatsoi contains several beneficial nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin E, and calcium. It is also a good source of sulfur-rich compounds like sulforaphane, which has been studied for its health-promoting properties.

Thanks to its impressive nutrient profile, tatsoi may offer several health benefits.

May support heart health

Tatsoi is a type of leafy green and is classified as a cruciferous vegetable, which is a family of vegetables that also includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower (7).

Studies show that increasing your intake of nutrient-dense vegetables like tatsoi can benefit heart health.

For example, one study in older women showed that consuming a higher amount of cruciferous vegetables was linked to decreased plaque buildup in the arteries (8).

Another review of 8 studies found that increased intake of leafy greens was associated with a 16% lower risk of heart disease (9).

What’s more, a review of 17 studies concluded that people who consumed more leafy green vegetables had a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that could damage the heart (10).

May protect against diabetes

Tatsoi can be a great addition to a balanced diet to promote better blood sugar management and potentially help prevent diabetes.

That’s because it’s rich in fiber, which can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to help stabilize blood sugar levels (11, 12).

Additionally, tatsoi and other cruciferous vegetables contain beneficial compounds like sulforaphane, which has been shown to help protect against diabetes-related complications in some animal studies (13, 14, 15).

Not only that, but increased intake of cruciferous vegetables has also been tied to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in some studies (16).

In fact, one study even found that people who consumed the highest amount of cruciferous vegetables were 18% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over a period of at least 10 years compared with those who consumed the lowest amount (17).

May have cancer-fighting properties

Tatsoi contains several compounds that could help slow the growth and spread of cancer cells.

In particular, sulforaphane has been shown to block the growth of several types of cancer cells in test-tube studies, including breast, prostate, lung, stomach, skin, and bladder cancers (18).

In addition to sulforaphane, other compounds found in tatsoi — including allyl isothiocyanate, benzyl isothiocyanate, and phenethyl isothiocyanate — have been researched for their potential cancer-fighting effects in test-tube studies (19, 20, 21).

What’s more, increased intake of cruciferous vegetables has even been linked to a lower risk of several types of cancer as well, including stomach, ovarian, lung, and pancreatic cancer (22, 23, 24, 25).

However, we need more studies in humans that evaluate the cancer-fighting properties of tatsoi specifically before we can draw any strong conclusions.

summary

Some research suggests that leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, including tatsoi, could help support heart health, protect against diabetes, and slow the growth of cancer cells. Still, we need more research into how tatsoi may benefit humans.

Though tatsoi may offer several health benefits, there are also a few downsides to consider.

For starters, tatsoi contains goitrogens, which are compounds that can interfere with thyroid function (26, 27).

However, according to one review, the amount of goitrogens in a typical serving of commercial varieties of Brassica rapa, such as tatsoi, is far lower than the amount needed to affect thyroid function (27).

Furthermore, because cooking inactivates the specific enzyme involved in converting progoitrin to goitrin, consuming cooked tatsoi in moderation as part of a healthy diet is unlikely to have any effect (26).

Additionally, people who take blood thinners like Warfarin are also sometimes advised to maintain a consistent intake of leafy green vegetables due to their vitamin K content (28).

Note that this doesn’t mean that you need to avoid tatsoi or leafy greens altogether if you’re taking blood thinners. Instead, you should avoid significant changes in how much of them you eat to prevent interactions with your medications (28).

summary

Although tatsoi contains goitrogens, it is unlikely to affect thyroid function when enjoyed in moderation. People taking blood thinners should maintain a consistent intake of tatsoi and other leafy greens rich in vitamin K.

Tatsoi is featured in many salad mixes and is often sold with other leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and bok choy.

It is sometimes available at certain grocery stores, specialty shops, and farmers’ markets, though it may not be as easy to find as other greens.

The leaves of tatsoi are the most widely used in recipes, though other parts, such as the stalk and flower buds, are edible as well.

When shopping for tatsoi, be sure to look for leaves that are deep green in color and free of bruises, discoloration, or yellowing.

If you’re not ready to use the leaves right away, simply wrap them in a damp paper towel, store in a container or sealed plastic bag, and place in the refrigerator for up to five days.

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Tatsoi can be found in many salad mixes or purchased at certain grocery stores and farmers’ markets. You should look for leaves that are deep green and free of blemishes and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

With its sweet and tangy taste, tatsoi is a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed raw or cooked in many recipes.

It works particularly well in salads, either alone or mixed with other greens like spinach, kale, and arugula.

It can also be steamed with a bit of olive oil or sautéed and added to stir-fry dishes, soups, or side dishes.

Here are a few recipes you can try to add this leafy green to your diet:

summary

Tatsoi can be eaten raw, steamed, or sautéed. It can be swapped in for other greens in salads and added to soups, stir-fry dishes, and sides using some of the recipes above.

Tatsoi is a leafy green and cruciferous vegetable that is closely related to bok choy.

It is a highly nutritious veggie that may support heart health, protect against type 2 diabetes, and slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells.

Plus, it’s also versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a wide range of recipes, including soups, salads, stir-fry dishes, and more.

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