The Power of Okra

By on May 6, 2014
okra

The heading is starting to sound like an evil spirit in a Tolkien story. Coming to this century, let us tell another name for Okra – the lady’s finger! Ah.. now you know what we are talking about.

Okra is known as “lady’s finger” in some parts of Asia and various other names in other parts of the world. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. Okra is an edible pea pod and although can be eaten raw, it is populary baked or stir-fried. You should use when it is tender, as it gets very fibrous when it is older. In the okra pods, the white soft seeds are arranged in 5 to 10 vertical columns, giving it the angled appearance on the outside.

Nutrition Facts

  • Fiber – 2.5 grams. 10% of RDA (recommended daily value)
  • Vitamin C – 16.3 milligrams. 27% RDA.
  • Folate – 46 micrograms. 11% RDA.
  • Vitamin A – 283 international units. 6% RDA.
  • Vitamin K – 40 micrograms. 50% RDA. The vitamin K found in okra is known as vitamin K1, one of two beneficial forms. The other beneficial form is K2; K3 is synthetic and should be avoided.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 0.9 mg. 4% RDA.
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1) – 0.1 mg. 9% RDA.
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg. 9% RDA.
  • Magnesium – 36 mg. 9% RDA.
  • Manganese -  0.3 mg. 15% RDA.
  • Beta carotene – 225 mcg.
  • Lutein, Zeaxanthin – 516 mcg.

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.

ladies finger

Used against asthma

Asthma can also be treated by including Okra in your meals. People diagnosed with asthma are strongly suggested to consume Okra.

Treating constipation

Facilitating proper absorption of water, Okra ensures free motion disposal by the body and hence prevents constipation.

Against sun stroke

Okra helps prevent sun strokes.

Controls blood sugar levels

Eugenol a type of fiber, helps in slowing down the digestion and absorption of sugar from the blood stream. Hence it helps in avoiding sugar spikes after meal and stabilizes the blood sugar levels. Its fiber further more help in lowering the blood sugar level.

Good folate content

Folate 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.

For weight Loss

The low calorie content of Okra (30 kcal / 100 gm) and its high fiber content makes it a suitable food for weight loss. It provides minimum calories, and the fiber helps in keeping you full for longer.

Skin Health

With good bowel movements, skin health will improve. Helps reduce acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions. The vitamins with other nutrients in Okra help repair the body tissues. Okra also helps to re-grow new tissues that are associated with the collagen formation. Keep plenty of Okra in your daily meal to get plenty of vitamin C which gives you glowing skin.

Vision health

Okra contains beta-carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), xanthin and lutein, all antioxidant properties that are helpful for vision health, preventing eye problems like cataract and glaucoma.

Okra 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.

Caution

Like most vegetables, okra has a small amount of oxalic acid and does not generally bother. You may avoid okra if you have a history of kidney stones.

Diabetes Control with Okra

Here is a process to use Okra for diabetes control. Take two pieces of Okra. Chop off the rear end and its cap. A sticky white liquid will start coming out of the Okra. Do not wash it off. Drop these pieces into a glass of water before you go off to sleep at night. Remember to cover it with a dish. In the morning, remove the pieces of Okra from the water and drink it. You need to do this on a daily basis in order to control your blood sugar levels. Another important fact is that raw Okra helps cure diabetes much more than cooked ones. So while you can keep adding Okra to your soups and curries, the best natural remedy for diabetes is to have raw Okra soaked in water.

Image courtesy: hdwallpapersphotos.com , kicauan.files.wordpress.com

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