Also known as the ‘ladies’ finger, Okra is a vegetable grown in warm seasons. This healthy vegetable is popular in the Caribbean, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States of America. Is adding Okra to your healthy diet routine worth it? Keep reading below to discover its health benefits.
Okra has received wide acclaim, thanks to the health benefits it brings. It is one of the few plants whose various parts are edible, including buds, seeds, stems, flowers, and fresh leaves. Okra’s pod harbors small seeds. When prepared, this vegetable hasa mild taste, peach-like fuzz, and an eccentric texture.Ladies’ finger is grown in tropical, subtropical, and regions with warm temperatures. Although it is a fruit, many people use it as a vegetable in cooking. Chances are you may have never heard of or used Okra as it is one of the overlookedyet healthy vegetables in existence.
Okra is a fruit cultivated in many countries as a vegetable. Okra’s pods can either be green or red. Green and red Okra have the same mild taste and unique texture, but the red ones can turn green when cooked for a long time. These fruit-turned vegetable’spods can be cooked whole or sliced before cooking. You have endless opportunities when it comes to preparing Okra. For Instance, you can fry, pan-roast, grill, orSautee. These cooking methods can prevent your lady’s finger from turning slimy. Grocery stores countries this vegetable is grown sell it by the pound in summer. Because months are its season, expect to buy Okra at reasonable prices. Its prices sky-rocket in winter given the high importation duties. Now, let us look at the health benefits of Okra.
Okra Is Rich inAntioxidants That Improve Heart Health
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, reducing or preventing cell damage. Free radicalsare unstable molecules produces when it reacts with the environment. Antioxidants can be acquired naturally through foods including Okra or artificially. Okra’s top antioxidants are polyphenols that mitigate the actions of free radicals as Vitamins A, flavonoids, Isoquercetin, and Vitamin C. High polyphenols in the body reduce blood clotting and oxidative damage risks, improving your heart health. What’s more, these antioxidants find their way to your brain to fight inflammations. As a result, you will have a high cognitive performance.
May Prevent Growth of Cancer Cells
Okra is rich in lectin, a special protein that prevents the growth of cancer cells. If you are battling cancer, whether breast, prostate, or cervical, you can add Okra in your diet to slow down the growth of cancer cells. Many people have won battles against cancer, and you might be the next if you do not ignore the right diet. Yes, as tough as it may sound, cancer can be defeated. Switch to a diet with sufficient lectin and watch yourself regain the smile this life-threatening condition took away from you.
Works against Heart Disease
When heated, Okra produces a naturally thicker substance called mucilage that helpsexcrete cholesterol through stool, reducing heart disease risks. Unhealthy cholesterol levels inthe bloodstream are dangerous. However, withOkra, excess cholesterol is egested insteadof being absorbed into the body. Polyphenols in the vegetable also work against heart disease by lowering leading inflammatory causes.
Lowers Neural Tube Defect
Okra is rich in B vitamins, Potassium, Vitamin C, Folicacid, and Calcium. Vitamin B9 (Folate) is a vital nutrient for pregnant women. Sufficient intake of this vitamin lowers neural tube defect risks thatcompromise the fetus’ brain and spine. Women of childbearing age are required to up to 400 mg of vitamin B9 each day.
Okra is a natural source of fiber. Eight medium-sized green or red podstranslates to 3 grams of fiber. In bulk, fiber improves your digestion, lowers appetite, and makes you feel fuller after eating. This can help you manage your weight without compromising safety. If you are diabetic, the high fiber content in the body improves glycemic control and insulin sensitivity.
Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Unhealthy blood sugar levels can cause prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Although supplements promise to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, most of them come with side effects that may compromise your health. For that reason, bet on something natural like Okra to reduce blood sugar to healthy levels without side effects.
Okra is available in many forms, but the most popular is Okra water. Okra water is obtained by putting Okra pods in water and soaking them for one night. While in water, some vital nutrients diffuse into the water to give you a healthy drink. You can soak the whole pods or slice them. However, if you slice the pods, the drink will be slightly bitter.
Okra Grounded Seeds and Peel
If you want to eat Okra, powdered seeds and peel can make a great choice. Getting the Okra peels is also simple If you have a handheld kitchen grater. Although there are no rules about the amount of Okra peel you should consume, one teaspoon is enough to boost your health. For powdered Okra seeds, dry them properly before grinding. Preparing Okra powder can be time and labor-intensive but its benefits in the body are great.
Cooking with Okra
If you want to try something different from okra water or powdered seed and peel, cook with fresh Okra. Fresh Okra can be used to prepare soups and stews. To get started, wash your Okra, rinse and pat it to remove the remaining water on pods. Dry the vegetable and cut or slice in shapes you want. Alternatively, you can cook with whole Okra pods. There are effective methods you can use to prevent the slimness of your ready-to-eat Okra. Among them is soaking Okra in Vinegarovernight before cooking. However, this may require you thoroughly pat it before drying for a better taste. Also, try cooking Okra by grilling or sautéing. These high heat methods are also effective if you precook Okra before mixing it with other delicious recipes.
The Bottom Line
Although it is one of the most underrated vegetables, Okra has health benefits that you may never want to miss. This blog discusses the benefits, forms, and how to cook with the lady’s finger. Read about Okra herein, share with others, and do not forget to give this fruit-turned vegetable a try.