Okra, also known as “lady finger” or “gumbo“, is a highly nutritious green edible pod vegetable. Botanically, this perennial flowering plant belongs to the mallow family and named scientifically as Abelmoschus esculentus.
The plant is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world for its fibrous fruits or “pods”. It grows best in well drained and manure soil. The plant bears numerous dark green colored pods measuring about 5-15 cm in length. It takes about 45-60 days to bear ready-to-harvest fruits.
Health Benefits Of Okra or Lady Fingers:
- The superior fiber found in okra helps to prevent diabetes and constipation. Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, iron and calcium.
- Okra seeds can be used as a form of substitute for coffee and is often used in Indian curries. To retain most of okra’s nutrients, it should be cooked as little as possible, with low heat or steamed. It can also be stir-fried, deep fried, stewed or eaten raw but may be a bit tough to chew and a bit too bitter. Pickled okra is also a popular food to some people in America.
- The vitamin A in okra and the flavonoids are powerful anti-oxidants. It contains beta-carotenes, lutein and xanthin and is higher in these substances than any other green vegetable. The antioxidants in okra are excellent for maintaining healthy mucous membranes, lungs, skin, and are essential for good vision. They also aid in protecting the mouth and lungs from cancer.
- Okra Pepsin E3 caplets contain pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins in food. Although some believe that taking Okra Pepsin E3 will help break down excessive food waste in their systems, taking pepsin could actually be dangerous, as it is a component that forms gastric ulcers. According to The New York Times Health Guide, pepsin reacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach to form ulcers. Having too much of this powerful enzyme in your digestive system could spell trouble.
- Pregnant women or women considering conception should include okra in their diet because of the folate content. Folate rich food eaten before conception decreases the potential for birth defects.
- Vitamin A is the main ingredient of many anti-aging creams. It is well known for its beneficial effects on preventing the appearance of wrinkles on your skin. They are also essential for maintaining good eye health. Vitamin A is very essential for preventing blindness caused by its deficiency. The fact is that it can maintain the vision just like carrots.
- The intake of okra also increases the probiotics in the colon. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. They not only aid in the digestion of food and the release of nutrients, they also fight fungi and bad bacteria. It contains a number of amino acids and aids in gastrointestinal health.
- Okra contains pectin which helps lower blood cholesterol levels by interfering with bile absorption in the intestines and forcing the liver to use circulating cholesterol to make more bile.
- Okra also contains glutathione, a protein molecule that is naturally produced in the body. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body against the harmful effects of germs and bacteria that cause cancers and other diseases. It helps to improve liver, heart and lung functions and boost the immune system. The levels of glutathione produced in the body decreases as a person ages.
- Okra will help with eliminating toxins and assist in the effectiveness of Probiotics which promote good health in the intestines.
- Okra is very rich in dietary fiber. An increase in the amount of dietary fiber can improve the overall health of your body. It aids in proper digestion and constipation will be a thing of the past. It breaks down the solid particles by smooth movement of the intestines. Good digestive health contributes to your general well being, and this is yet another okra health benefit.
- To add volume and bounce to your hair, you can use this hair care tip. Boil horizontally sliced okra, till the brew becomes slimy. Then let it cool, add few drops of lemon to it and use it as a last rinse. This will bring bounce and volume to your hair.
- Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.