Okra is better known by its common name as lady’s finger or gumbo and popularly called ‘Bhindi‘ in Hindi, ‘Bendakaya‘ in Telugu, ‘Vendakkai‘ in Tamil, ‘Vendakai‘ in Malayalam, ‘Bende‘ in Kannada, ‘Bhinda‘ in Gujarati, ‘Bhendi‘ in Marathi and ‘Dherash‘ in Bengali. This high fiber vegetable is known for its high soluble and insoluble fiber content. 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 highly beneficial. Let us quickly look at the some of the amazing benefits of okra.
Okra USDA Nutrition Chart
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||9%||3.2 g|
|Pantothenic acid||0.245 mg||5%|
|Vitamin C||21.1 mg||36%|
|Vitamin A||375 IU||12.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.36 mg||2.5%|
|Vitamin K||53 µg||44%|
100 grams of Okra contains 1.5% energy from calories, 7.03 gram carbohydrates, 2 gram protein, 0.1 gram fat and 9% fiber. Such fiber content can prove to be very beneficial for the body. Other nutrients are folates 88mg, niacin 1mg, Vitamin C 21.1mg, Vitamin E 0.36mg and Vitamin K 53mg. Other than these, Okra also contains calcium 81mg, copper 0.094mg, iron 0.8mg, magnesium 57mg, manganese 0.99mg, phosphorous 63mg and zinc 0.6 mg.
[ Read: Cabbage Benefits ]
Health Benefits Of Okra or Lady’s Finger
Let’s take a closer look into best okra benefits or gumbo pods benefits:
1.High Fiber Content
The dietary fiber content of okra/lady’s 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.
[ Read: Brinjal Benefits ]
2. Prevents Diabetes
Okra is known to aid in the prevention of diabetes. It is rich in fiber that helps in the prevention of this disease.
How To Use
The best way to use okra for controlling diabetes is with the use of okra water. Following are the steps to prepare okra water:
- Take two okra pods and cut off their ends.
- Sticky liquid will ooze out once you slit the pod. Do not wash it.
- Take a glass full of water and drop these pods into it at night and cover with a dish.
- In the morning, take out the pods and drink the water in the glass.
You have to prepare okra water daily and drink daily in the morning to control your raised blood sugar level. It is important to note that okra water helps cure diabetes much better than cooked okras. It is fine to add okra to your curries and soups, but take raw okra soaked in water for faster recovery from raised blood sugar levels.
Why Does It Work
The soluble fiber present in this pod helps slow down the sugar uptake into the blood.
This is done by lowering the rate of sugar absorption from the intestine.
It reduces the glycemic load of glucose in the blood, which otherwise disturbs the body’s function to properly process the sugar leading to diabetes.
The soluble fiber forms a type of gel inside the bowel, which slows down the sugar absorption of food from the intestine. This soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol by drawing in the bile acids, which contribute to raised cholesterol levels. This allows the body to pass acids out of the system and prevents its re-absorption.
3. Good Folate Content
The folates present in okra reduce the neural tube defects in a newborn baby. So, it is highly recommended for women during the preconception period or pregnancy.
4. Vitamin K Benefits
Vitamin K is a co-factor in the blood-clotting process. It also plays a major role in strengthening the bones in our body.
5. Controls Asthma
Asthma can also be treated by including okra/ lady’s fingers in your meals. People diagnosed with asthma are strongly suggested to consume okra.
6. Prevents Constipation
By facilitating the proper absorption of water, okra/ lady’s finger vegetable ensures free motion disposal by the body and, hence, prevents constipation.
7. Prevents Sunstroke
Okra helps prevent sunstrokes.
8. Prevents Colon Cancer
It is believed that all diseases begin in the colon. Adding okra to your meals ensures the prevention of colon cancer and other related diseases to a great extent.
9. Controls Obesity
With the regular usage of okra, in either the raw or the cooked form, you can avoid obesity to a great extent. Obesity is not necessarily due to the consumption of fatty and calorific foods but also due to the lack of nutrients.
10. Controls Cholesterol Level
This vegetable ensures the lesser absorption of cholesterol, preventing heart diseases and ailments occurring due to cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a dominant factor in the body that triggers obesity and heart diseases.
11. Low GI (Glycemic Index) Food
If you are diabetic, your health practitioner will advise you to eat food with low GI value. Okra is one of the foods that come with a GI index of 20 and as per medical standards, the GI value of okra is considered to be very low.
12. Prevents Kidney Diseases
Kidney problems are a threat if you are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Almost half of the diseases related to kidneys are caused by diabetes. If you take okra regularly in your diet and okra water as well, it will help prevent kidney diseases.
13. Helps In Digestion
Due to its soluble fiber content, okra helps accelerate the digestive system, improves blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart diseases. It is extremely good for the digestive system.
14. Good Source Of Antioxidants
If you take foods rich in antioxidants, it helps prevent cancer, heart diseases, and premature aging. Okra contains a large number of antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidin and rutin. So, it not only prevents and treats diabetes but a host of other health issues! No doubt it is called a super food!
Skin Benefits Of Okra
15. Dietary Fiber For Healthy Skin
Okra is a rich source of dietary fiber. It also keeps the digestion problems away. Proper digestion reflects through a healthy-looking skin.
16. Vitamin C For Younger Skin
Vitamin C found in okra helps maintain a younger looking skin. It aids in repairing the body tissues. This, in turn, helps keep your skin younger and also makes it look more vibrant.
17. Prevents Skin Pigmentation
The nutrients found in okra actually help prevent skin pigmentation. It is useful for rejuvenating your skin and repairing damages.
Hair Benefits Of Okra
18. 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.
19. Hair Conditioner
The same mucilage can be used as a hair conditioner. Wash your hair and squeeze out the excess water. Massage the watery mucilage through your hair and rinse thoroughly with water.
20. Scalp Moisturiser
Okra is an excellent moisturizer for your dry and itchy scalp. It leaves your hair feeling soft and isn’t harmful like the other cosmetics available in the market. It is great for people with unruly, curly and lifeless hair.
21. Fights Dandruff
Okra improves the overall scalp condition and fights dandruff. It moisturizes your scalp and keeps dandruff away.
22. 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.
Other Benefits Of Okra/Lady’s Finger
23. Improves immunity
24. Improves eyesight
How To Select Good Quality Okra?
Although the 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 Color: Look out for bright green-colored pods. You may also find varieties of burgundy or deep red. Those are also used for cooking purposes, but the 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 the 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 the next day. This will make it less slimy while cooking. This will make the okra freeze solid.
- Add okra immediately to your dish after taking it out from the refrigerator. You can use it as a 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.
A Delicious Okra Recipe
Due to the presence of nutrients, you should definitely include okra in your regular diet. With its less cholesterol and calorie content, it can be eaten in considerable amounts too.
Okra or Lady’s Finger can be consumed in many ways. The best way to consume it is to make a vegetable without gravy. Sausage Okra, Okra with salted corn, Fried Okra, etc. are some other healthy recipes which can be made using okra. We all have okra the normal way, i.e., in form of a vegetable dish. Here is a recipe that is quick, tasty and different too.
Okra, grapeseed oil or olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
- 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 the okra on the charcoal grill and cover with a lid.
- Let it remain covered till you see the grill marks on the okra. It should look a little charred on the edges.
- Turn it after that, 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.
Hope you enjoyed this article on okra health benefits and found it useful too. Please leave your comments and tell us how you liked it. Stay fit, stay healthy!
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