Savor Health

Oh, bok choy, let us count the ways we love you!

Brimming with over 70 antioxidant phenolic compounds, this is one cruciferous to keep on frequent rotation in your diet. Aim for a serving of 1 cup cooked, at least three times a week (five times would be even better) and definitely mix and match with other cruciferous veggies.

Bok choy, a.k.a. Chinese white cabbage or pak choi, is a proud member of the brassica family – famed for its anticancer properties – and runs with other greats like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, turnips and broccoli. The abundance of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in bok choy impart many potential benefits to those who eat it [i].


Antioxidant Benefits of Bok Choy

Bok choy is a powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants. Not only is it an excellent source of conventional antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc, but it also has a plethora of phytonutrients – polyphenols, flavonoids, kaempferol, glucosinolates and many more that seem beyond pronunciation. (Recall that glucosinolates are reported to be the anticancer fighting agent in the brassica family.) The array of antioxidants and phytonutrients is noteworthy because, as we are learning, different antioxidants go about their tasks in different ways, so eating a variety of them ensures a multi-level affront on free radicals. If you are like me and believe in making food work for you, bok choy is one heavy hitter [i].


Bok Choy & Blood Pressure Management

With a reported amount of 630 mg of potassium per 1 cup of steamed bok choy, this bright green veggie is another great way to reach for the recommended daily intake of 4700mg of potassium. And why should you strive for that RDI, you ask? Well, potassium seems to lessen the effects of sodium. It is a vasodilator and diets deficient in this mineral have shown to be an independent factor of high blood pressure. Another mechanism of efficacy is that potassium helps to increase urinary losses of sodium. Of course, one still needs to monitor sodium intake, but striking a balance between the two seems to be key as a high sodium to potassium ratio can lead to increased risk for hypertension and heart disease. This whole-heartedly (pun intended) supports why diets emphasizing potassium rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are so effective at lowering blood pressure (think Mediterranean and DASH diets) [ii].


Bone Health

Healthy bones require a variety of nutrients for growth and maintenance and bok choy packs a great many of them, including vitamins C and K, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, manganese and zinc. Vitamin K is an under appreciated vitamin in the laymen’s world of bone health despite its crucial role in bone formation and density. Bok choy and other members of the brassica family are excellent sources of this often overlooked vitamin. Throw in some vitamin D and weight bearing exercise and you are on the path to maintaining a healthy bone matrix [v].


Anemia Support

Anemia is a common complication of cancer treatment. Bok choy contains the red blood cell promoting nutrients of iron, folate, zinc and vitamin B6. It also has vitamin C, which aids with iron absorption. And as an added bonus, folate is an essential part of DNA synthesis and repair, so having sufficient amounts may reduce DNA mutations and subsequent carginogenesis.

With its myriad of outstanding health benefits, we think nothing says, “I love you”, like a bouquet of bok choy.


Selecting, Storing and Preparing Bok Choy

Bok choy is available year around, but peaks during the winter months through early spring. Look for full, bright green leaves and moist, hardy stems that are usually white, but can also be cream colored or light green. You can store them in the refrigerator for up 1 week, unwashed, in a tight plastic bag to prevent it from drying out. As with most brassica vegetables, the anticancer properties are best obtained when just lightly cooked (steamed or sautéed) or even when consumed raw. Tossing them into soups at the end is a wonderful way to save some of their crunch while also slurping up the leeched phytonutrients in the broth [vi].

Check out the recipe below for a light and easy soup that is sure to warm you up in this wintery month. (I also like the healthy dose of ginger here, too.)

[buymeapie-recipe id=’46’]


[i] Lin LZ and Harnly JM. Phenolic component profiles of mustard greens, yu choy, and 15 other brassica vegetables. J Agric Food Chem. 2010; 58(11):6850-7.
[ii] Haddy FJ, Vanhoutte PM and Feletou M. Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006;290(3):R546-52.
[iii] My Recipes. Oriental Soup with Mushrooms, Bok Choy, and Shrimp. Accessed on January 29, 2015.
[iv] “Sodium/Potassium ratio linked to cardiovascular disease risk”. 2009. National Institutes of Health; Health Research Matters. January 30, 2015.
[v] Bone health: Looking beyond calcium. 2009. Nutrition 411. Accessed February 2, 2015.
[vi] The World’s Healthiest Foods. What New and Beneficial About Bok Choy. Accessed February 2, 2015. 

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Susan started Savor Health after losing a close friend to a brain tumor and, through that experience, becoming aware of the significant unmet nutritional needs of people with cancer.  Struck by the fact that her friend was told “nutrition doesn’t matter” and “eat whatever you want,” Susan read the evidence-based literature on the subject, interviewed oncologists, oncology nurses and oncology dietitians, as well as patients and caregivers, and found that, in fact, nutrition does matter in oncology. Armed with solid scientific evidence supporting the clinical and quality of life benefits of proper nutrition, Susan left Wall Street and created Savor Health, an AI-based provider of personalized and clinically appropriate nutrition solutions for cancer patients, their caregivers and health enterprises. Susan brings to Savor Health over 25 years of industry experience in healthcare and business as well as expertise in strategy, finance and management.

Susan is an outspoken and tireless advocate for cancer patients receiving proper nutrition and nutrition support before, during and after treatment. She strongly believes that the U. S. healthcare system requires new innovation to transform it into a more holistic and integrated system of care whereby multiple disciplines coordinate care together for the benefit of the whole patient. As part of this, her goal is for nutrition to be an integral component of such an integrated cancer care delivery system.  Susan’s commitment to the field of oncology extends beyond Savor Health to volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatrics and as a runner for Fred’s Team to raise money for research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Susan participated in the Cancer Moonshot in June of 2016 where she was a breakout session group “igniter” tasked with starting and leading discussion. Susan’s first book, the Meals to Heal Cancer Cookbook, was published in March 2016.

In addition to her role as CEO of Savor Health, Susan speaks nationally about the importance of ensuring proper nutrition in the cancer patient and on topics including leadership and startups. She has been a speaker at the Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare, ESMO World Congress on GI Cancer, BioPharm America, AARP Live @50+, Lake Nona Impact Forum, and IIR ePharma Summit.

Prior to starting Savor Health, Susan had a successful career on Wall Street as a healthcare services investment banker working at prestigious firms including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Wasserstein Perella and Robertson Stephens. Susan earned a B.A. from Duke University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

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Marissa Buchan is a registered dietitian, with advanced practice certifications in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) and Clinical Research (CCRP). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Duke University, and Master’s of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Marissa worked for 10 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in both the clinical research and nutrition departments.  In addition to counseling patients before, during, and after cancer therapy, she spearheaded nutrition-research efforts for the bone marrow transplant service. She has co-authored over 20 articles and has a particular interest in the role of nutrition on the intestinal microbiota and its impact on patient outcomes. When Marissa’s not wearing her lab coat, she’s in her apron whipping up healthy and delicious recipes that you can find on her blog, Get Off Your Tush and Cook.

Marissa is Chief Operating Officer of Savor Health where she leads operations working with the technology, clinical, and business development teams and management. Prior to assuming the role of COO in March 2020, Marissa was Vice President, Clinical Research and Operations at Savor Health where she worked closely with Savor Health’s Chief Medical Advisor, Scientific Advisory Board, and Clinical Operations Team to evaluate, design and conduct clinical research.  She also counsels patients on oncology nutrition issues and contributes to the Company website’s clinical content.

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Dr. DeFrance has a unique background including clinical interventional cardiologist, chief medical officer, educator, outcomes researcher and entrepreneur. He has expertise in Lifestyle medicine in which he was board certified in 2020 and is highly interested in the prevention and reversal of chronic disease. Dr. DeFrance also has expertise in appropriate utilization of technology in medicine, healthcare economics, value-based metrics, and educational design and delivery. He worked as Chief Medical Officer for HealthHelp, one of the largest specialty benefit managers in the US, and led large teams of healthcare professionals in writing evidence based appropriate care guidelines and rule sets which improve the quality and safety of medicine for over 20 million people in the US while also creating sustained savings in healthcare. He has also designed clinical decision support systems that are currently in use helping to improve patient care.

In 2018 Dr. DeFrance founded MedMentor Education, a company that provides state of the art CME content using the latest in eLearning science and online delivery platforms. Dr. DeFrance is also the founder and President of Digimedica, a consulting and educational design and delivery company for healthcare professionals, hospitals, and universities. He is passionate about creating systems to optimize knowledge transfer and has won numerous awards for teaching excellence during his career. He is an expert in cardiovascular CT imaging and has taught more than 3,000 physicians how to perform and interpret cardiac CT nationally and internationally and has lectured extensively on this subject.

Dr. DeFrance has a stellar reputation in the medical field and continues work to improve the quality and safety of patient care in the US.

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Alyson is a registered nurse and is certified in oncology nursing (OCN) through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). She also has her certification as an ONS Biotherapy and Chemotherapy Provider. Alyson studied nursing at Thomas Jefferson University where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since starting her nursing career in 2004, Alyson has had a strong dedication and commitment to oncology patients. She has worked inpatient specializing in Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Alyson currently works in outpatient oncology at the North Shore-LIJ Monter Cancer Center. Alyson is part of the clinical team at Savor Health where she counsels patients on oncology and oncology nutrition issues and contributes to website and other Savor Health content.

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