I’ve always loved the delicious and unique taste of okra. Ever since my grandmother used to cook it with Sunday dinner dishes, when my aunts would fry it on the holidays, and when my mother would whip it up on occasion, it was one of my favorite side dishes. Okra wasn’t something that freaked me out, like what most people described as their first time. It was pleasant, filling, and when I ate it I just felt healthier.
Recently I have been trying to treat my boy better. I struggle with the inconvenient disease of “eating my damn feelings”. So when life gets busy, hectic, and I’m juggling a lot of things at one time, instead of stopping to smell the flowers, I would much rather stop for some cheeseburgers and fries. I am a bad girl to my body when I’m stressed, and that was apparent to everyone around me. So I finally just slowed down and started considering what I was putting in my body, which should be more green and colorful veggies and fruits, and less processed garbage that gives me my temporary pleasure.
I just got into a debate with the Hubs about Okra. I would love to make more of it for the house, but he doesn’t like it at all. I wanted to convince him that it is actually a delicious and satisfying dish, but still he wasn’t having it. So I did some research and I discovered that okra was way more beneficial than I thought.
Here is what http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com had to say about the health benefits of okra
Besides being low in calories it is aplenty with vitamins of the category A, Thiamin, B6, C, folic acid, riboflavin, calcium, zinc and dietary fiber. Eating okra is much recommended for pregnant woman besides other for it is rich in folic acid which is essential in the neural tube formation of the fetus during 4-12 weeks of gestation period in the mother’s womb. – That’s awesome, because when I was pregnant okra was one of the only vegetables that I could keep down. Goes to show okra makes cute and intelligent babies… I’m just saying. Lol
The mucilage and fiber found in okra helps adjust blood sugar by regulating its absorption in the small intestine. – Sounds incredibly helpful right.
The fiber of okra has many superior qualities in maintaining the health of the gastro-intestinal tract. – Need that gastrointestinal tract healthy, nah mean.
It helps reabsorb water and traps excess cholesterol, metabolic toxins and surplus bile in its mucilage and slips it out through the stool. Due to greater percentage of water in the bulk it thereby prevents constipation, gas and bloating in the abdomen. – No one has time to be constipated and backed up all the time. Tell those mean people to grab a handful of okra, why don’t they.
It is an ideal vegetable for weight loss and is storehouse of health benefits provided it is cooked over low flame to retain its properties. This also to ensure that the invaluable mucilage contained in it is not lost to high heat. – See I knew I was on the right track.
Okra facilitates the propagation of good bacteria referred to as probiotics. These are similar to the ones proliferate by the yogurt in the small intestine and helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex. – Yes!
For adding bounce your hair. Boil horizontally sliced okra till the brew become maximally slimy. Cool it and add a few drops of lemon and use this as the last rinse and see your hair spring back to youthfulness and jump. – See it also helps that beautiful mane on your head.
Okra is an excellent laxative treats irritable bowels, heals ulcers and sooths the gastrointestinal track. – Unclogs what is stopping you up.
Protein and oil contained in the seeds of okra serves as the source of first-rate vegetable protein. It is enriched with amino acids on the likes of tryptophan, cysteine and other sulfur amino acids.
Now as if I wasn’t already impressed. I saw an article on Amazing Benefits of Okra / Lady’s Finger with helpful tips about selecting okra and more on it 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 Fiber 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.
Skin Benefits of Okra
11. Dietary fiber 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 moisturizer:
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:
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 color – Look out for bright green-colored 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.
So with all those wonderful benefits. I don’t know what the heck my husband’s problem is. I love it and obviously it loves me back because look at all the wonderful things it does for my body.
I look forward to more okra recipes as I am not giving up my lady fingers. Besides, how could you not like a vegetable that rhymes with Oprah? LOL