Health Benefits of Lady Finger (Okra)
October 26, 2015
(Health Digezt) — Okra is better known by its common name as ladys finger or Gumbo. This high fiber vegetable is known for its high soluble and insoluble fiber content. This vegetable is usually used in many recipes and is also a part of many nutritional diets, as it is beneficial to the heart. Let us quickly look at some of the key okra health benefits.
Health Benefits From Okra/ladies finger:
1. High fiber content:
The dietary fiber content of an Okra/lady finger is known to be high and hence many health specialists recommend it for digestive benefits. The fibers aid the process of digestion in the body by facilitating proper bowel movement.
Okra is known to aid in prevention of diabetes. It is rich in Fibre which helps in the prevention of this disease.
3. Good folates content:
Folates present in Okra reduce the neural tube defects in a new born baby. So it is highly recommended for women during pre conception period or pregnancy.
4. Vitamin K benefits:
Vitamin K is a co-factor in blood-clotting process and also plays a major role in strengthening the bones in our body.
Asthma can also be treated by including Okra/ lady fingers in your meals. People diagnosed with asthma are strongly suggested to consume Okra.
Facilitating proper absorption of water, Okra/ lady finger vegetable ensures free motion disposal by the body and hence prevents constipation.
7. Sun stroke:
Okra helps prevent sun strokes.
8. Colon cancer:
It is believed that all diseases begin in the colon; Adding Okra to your meals ensures prevention of colon cancer and related diseases to a great extent
With regular usage of Okra, in either raw or cooked form, you can avoid obesity to a great extent. Obesity is not necessarily due to consumption of fatty and calorific foods but also due to lack of nutrients.
This vegetable ensures lesser absorption of cholesterol preventing heart diseases and ailments occurring due to cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a dominant content in the body that triggers obesity and heart diseases.
Now that we got the health benefits of okra covered, lets move on to the rest.
Skin Benefits of Okra
11. Dietary fibre for healthy skin – Okra comes with a lot of dietary fiber. It is also high in metabolism, and thus keeps the digestion problem away. Proper digestion reflects through a healthy-looking skin.
12. Vitamin C for younger skin – Vitamin C found in okra actually helps maintain a younger looking skin. It aids in repairing body tissues. This in turn helps keep your skin younger and also makes it look more vibrant.
13. Prevents skin pigmentation – The nutrients found in okra actually helps to prevent skin pigmentation. It is useful for rejuvenating your skin and repairing damages.
Hair Benefits of Okra
14. Bouncy hair – If you are tired of your distressed hair, try using Okra to get that bounce back. Boil okra with some water and the transparent mucilage that you get can be used to get your bouncy hair back.
15. Hair conditioner – The same mucilage can be used as hair conditioner. Wash your hair and squeeze out excess water. Massage the watery mucilage through your hair and rinse thoroughly with water.
16. Scalp moisturiser – Okra is an excellent moisturizer for your dry and itchy scalp. It leaves your hair feeling soft and isn’t harmful like other cosmetics available in the market. It is great for people with unruly, curly and lifeless hair.
17. Fights dandruff – Okra improves the overall scalp condition and fights dandruff. It moisturizes your scalp and keeps dandruff away.
18. Shiny hair – Okra, when used as a hair rinse, gives great shine to your hair. You can give your regular conditioner a miss once in a while and take care of your hair the natural way.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, Okra is also good for:
- Improving immunity
- Improving eyesight
- Weight loss
- Preventing constipation
- Avoiding anaemia
- Preventing diabetes
How to select good Okra?
Although topical use of okra does a lot of good, we just cannot ignore how beneficial its intake is. Most of us are left clueless when questioned about how to select good Okra. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the selection process better.
- Smaller pods – Always look for smaller pods because they are tender. They taste better than the larger ones which are tough and stringy too.
- Bright colour – Look out for bright green-coloured pods. You may also find varieties of burgundy or deep red. Those are also used for cooking purpose but green ones are widely used.
- Unblemished pods – While selecting okra, try and look for unblemished ones. These are fresh and are not rotten from inside.
- Firmness – Check for the firmness of okra. While the smaller pods are generally tender, they should not be very soft.
How to store Okra?
- Okra should be stored unwashed.
- You can store it in a paper bag or simply wrap it in a newspaper. If you don’t have a paper bag, you can also store it in a perforated plastic bag.
- Make sure you keep it in the warmest part of your refrigerator. This would help you store it for up to 3 days at least.
- Okra tends to decay faster when kept really cold. So make sure you store it in warmer temperature in your refrigerator.
- Simply blanch the whole okra and freeze it if you want to store it longer.
Tips for usage
- Before cooking, thoroughly wash and rinse whole okra well with water.
- After washing, pat it dry completely, using a dry towel.
- You can then store it in a zip-lock bag and leave it overnight in the fridge before using it next day. This will make it less slimy while cooking. This will make okra freeze solid.
- Add okra immediately to your dish after taking it out from the refrigerator. You can use it as whole or chopped.
- Always trim the ends before adding it to your dish.
- Don’t allow it to thaw to avoid it from sliming out.
Tips for cooking
- To avoid too much sliming, fry it in oil a little before adding all spices. This reduces the slime to a great extent. Remove okra from the pan and set aside and add it towards the end after you have prepared the rest of the dish.
- Soak it in vinegar or lemon water before using it. Another option is to add lemon or vinegar to the dish itself to cut down the slime.
- Blanch okra for 3-4 minutes to reduce the slime and add to the dish when it is almost cooked.
We all have okra the normal way, i.e, in form of vegetable dish. Here is a recipe that is quick, tasty and different too.
Ingredients: Okra, grapeseed oil or olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
Procedure: First prepare the charcoal grill on high heat flame. Trim the ends or the stems of the okra. Now toss it in oil thoroughly so as to cover it with oil. Place okra on charcoal grill and cover with a lid. Let it remain covered till you see grill marks on okra. It should look a little charred on the edges. Turn it thereafter and let it get grilled on the other side as well. Once done, remove it from the grill and sprinkle some salt and lemon juice and enjoy your grilled hot okra.
Okra is also known as lady’s finger because of its shape. I used to avoid eating okra because of its taste, but not until I have eaten some yummy dishes cooked with okra. If you do not eat them, it is time to consider to have it in your next meal.
Okra actually is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid. It is low in calories with about 15 calories per 100 gram serving. The same size serving has about 2 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein. It does not contain any fat. Here are few of the nutritional benefits:
- Okra helps prevent constipation with its high contents of dietary fiber. If you have tried other vegetables and still have toilet problem, you should eat okra instead.
- It also facilitates the propagation of good bacteria referred to as probiotics. These are similar to the ones proliferate by the yoghurt in the small intestine and helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex.
- Protein and oil contained in the seeds serves as the source of first-rate vegetable protein. It is enriched with amino acids.
Most people do not like okra because it has this sticky substance when it is sliced. If you eat it raw in your salad, you probably need to cover it with enough sauce. But, some people like that raw taste by marinating it with salad dressing or lime juice and have it in the hamburgers.
I prefer okra to be cooked with curry and eggplant and I like the one cooked by my mum very much. Few days ago, she was teaching my aunt how to cook it and while she was talking to my aunt that day, I heard her sharing few tips to buy okra:
- Look for pods which are green without much “bruises” due to mishandling.
- Go for those which give tender feel.
- Buy okra which are smaller size, not longer than 3 inches if possible. The big one taste bitter.
Another method of cooking which I like, though a bit unhealthy, is to deep fry it. Actually, to retain most of okra’s nutrients, it should be cooked with low heat and lightly steamed or eating it raw is the best choice. Still, I prefer okra curry served with steam rice. Yummy.
Lady’s Finger Curry
Deep fried lady’s finger
Okra with chili
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