Okra (or Bhindi), which is commonly referred to as “lady’s finger”, is a fibrous, green vegetable pod that contains many tiny white, edible seeds.
Okra is a member of the mallow family, which includes herbs, shrubs and certain trees including mallows, cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. The leaves of the okra plant are heart shaped and edible, with large yellow flowers that bear resemblance to the hibiscus flower.
Okra can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and eggplant. Whole, fresh okra pods also make excellent pickles. Its mild flavor can be compared to eggplant; thought the texture is somewhat unusual.
When cut okra releases a sticky substance with thickening properties, often used in soups and stews. Okra is enriched with amino acids, with the likes of tryptophan, cystine and other sulfur amino acids.
Along with containing high amounts of fiber, okra also contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6. Large amounts of calcium, zinc, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are also present in this vegetable.
Women who are pregnant are urged to incorporate okra into their diets due to the high content of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the healthy growth of a fetus especially during the fourth week through the twelfth week of pregnancy.
This vegetable is great at being able to reabsorb water. By being able to absorb so much water, okra can trap excess cholesterol, excess bile, and certain toxins. By trapping these substances, it makes it easier to eliminate them from the body through the stool. Because okra absorbs so much water, eating this vegetable can prevent constipation, bloating, and gas.
Okra contains good amounts of vitamin K. vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones. The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in okra pods helps smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieve constipation condition.
The sodium content of okra is quiet high. This is the reason why it is made into tablets, for replenishing sodium deficiency in the body. These tablets are also good for stomach ulcers.
Okra is the ideal vegetable for weight loss and is a storehouse of health benefits, provided it is cooked over low flame to retain its properties.
100 gm of okra (bhindi) contains:
Protein: 2.0 g
Carbohydrates: 7.03 g
Total fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Dietary fiber: 9 %
Calcium: 81 mg
Iron: 0.80 mg
The okra is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. High in dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, protein, riboflavin, niacin iron, zinc and copper.
Health tips for Okra
As you can see, okra health benefits are many. It may have an unusual name, and you may be tempted to pass it by for a more common vegetable, but give okra a try. It has many benefits and can be added easily to any meal.
Okra is completely nontoxic, non habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals.Okra (bhindi) can be healthy for you and may help you lose weight when included in your diet & exercise plan. To help you lose weight in a healthy balanced way and keep it off, see the Fitho weight loss diet plan, designed by dieticians and experts, now available for Rs 799.