Let us begin with the most basic question: What is okra? Okra, commonly known as lady’s fingers or bhindi, is a warm-season vegetable in the mallow family. It’s a versatile crop prized for its tender and delectable pods. Okra was first grown in Ethiopia and Egypt in the 12th century. Even though we call this tasty, multipurpose seed pod a vegetable, it isn’t strictly one. It’s the plant’s fruit—a pod full of tasty seeds that don’t need to be removed before eating. Okra has a distinct texture, with a peach-like fuzz on the outside and small, edible seeds within the pod. When fried, roasted, grilled, or sautéed, okra has a mild, crisp flavour that is delicious. It is a versatile and appetising vegetable that may be prepared on its own or used to thicken sauces and soups. Additionally, it can be pickled, added to baked dishes, and used as a sweetener in frozen foods.
Whether you enjoy the earthy flavour of okra or are still iffy about this fuzzy vegetable, it’s a healthful addition to your diet. It has a higher nutrition value than tomato and eggplant, with an average of 3.21. As you expand your culinary horizons, you will be pleasantly pleased by the diversity of the delightful little okra. So let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of okra.
Historically, okra pods were used for a variety of purposes, including nourishment, appetite stimulants, astringents, and as an aphrodisiac. In the East, the young fruit and leaves have long been used to make pain-relieving poultices. Additionally, okra pods are suggested as a treatment for urinary problems, gonorrhoea, and diarrhoea. Young okra pod extracts are reported to have moisturising and diuretic qualities, while the seeds exhibit anticancer and fungicidal characteristics. Dried and powdered okra seeds are high in protein and work as a health tonic for kids. But if these health benefits are not enough to include okra in your diet, then here are 12 more reasons!
1. Okra for Weight Loss
Do you want to slim down naturally? If the answer is Yes, okra is the perfect food to keep a strict eye on your weight. Bhindi is high in dietary fibre, which keeps you fuller for longer and prevents frequent hunger pangs. It also promotes smoother bowel motions and reduces gastrointestinal issues such as gas, bloating, constipation, and so on. Bhindi is a low-calorie vegetable that does not contain any saturated fats. According to the USDA, a 65-gram of bhindi contains less than 1% fat. Therefore, include okra in your diet to enhance flavour while keeping your calorie intake low, which aids in weight loss. In addition, it is packed with vital nutrition that supports a faster metabolism and stronger core muscles.
One of the simplest ways to incorporate it into your weight-loss diet–slicing the stalks in half and season with sea salt. It’s as crispy and tasty as your favourite chips, but far healthier for you. Okra water is a terrific method to stay hydrated while also making it easier to achieve your weight loss goals. It is best to drink okra water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. To maximise its weight loss potential, chew raw okra in the morning or at night before going to bed.
How to make okra water:
First, cut the stem off and rinse thoroughly. Secondly, soak okra in water overnight. Lastly, filter the water, which will be slimy in texture. There you go, the magical drink for weight loss and belly fat reduction is ready to consume!
2. Okra Benefits for Diabetes
It may surprise you to find that okra is very useful in the treatment of diabetes. People who have high blood glucose levels should consume okra in their daily diets. Non-starchy veggies like okra have a low glycemic index and do not influence blood sugar levels. Also, okra’s high fibre content improves insulin sensitivity and helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Myricetin, found in lady's fingers, is believed to accelerate sugar absorption by muscles, resulting in a more consistent blood-sugar response. Drink okra water on an empty stomach for a month to fight chronic diabetes.
3. Heart Healthy Lady’s Finger
Okra contains mucilage, a thick gel-like substance that binds to cholesterol in the intestines and lowers blood cholesterol levels. In particular, it is loaded with pectin fibre, which alters bile production in the intestines and lowers high blood cholesterol. Additionally, it can lower triglyceride levels which will minimise the risk of a heart attack in the long run. The negligible amount of sodium in okra lowers the chances of stroke and ailments such as cardiac arrest and atherosclerosis. Just like bananas, it also contains a lot of potassium, which promotes overall circulation for good heart health. The polyphenol content of okra is another possible okra benefits for heart health.
4. Fights Fatigue
This mucilaginous vegetable is used to relieve exhaustion. The polysaccharides, flavonoids, and polyphenols in the pods stimulate glycogen storage in your liver, which translates to greater energy for your cells.
5. Good For Sexual Health
Okra has a good amount of folate, which is important for sexual health. As a major source of zinc, it restores sexual vigour and prevents erectile dysfunction. Loaded with selenium among other vital nutrients, okra also cures low sperm count and improves mobility and fertility.
Okra stimulates ovulation thereby helping regulate female menstrual cycles and boosting fertility. Drinking okra water regularly will help reduce menstrual bleeding, especially for people with endometriosis.
6. Takes Care Of Your Eyes
And the benefits of okra certainly do not exclude the eyes. Vitamin A, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein are some of the antioxidants contained in okra that are good for eye health. These support the neutralisation of free radicals in the eyes, resulting in the breakdown of cells that cause macular degeneration and cataracts. Additionally, it supports eye nourishment to prevent eye illnesses and preserve or improve vision.
7. Okra To Fight Cancer
Imbued with antioxidants, okra can help cells fight off free radicals that might cause cancer, by giving them much-needed support. Okra contains a protein called lectin, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Concentrated okra chemicals suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells by up to 63%, according to studies.
8. Excellent During Pregnancy
Okra has many nutrients that are excellent for pregnant women and support the baby's healthy growth. The increased nutrition needs of pregnant women are met by its abundance of vitamins, minerals, and water-soluble fibre. Potassium reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. While insoluble fibre aids in digestion and helps relieve constipation, bloating, and flatulence, all of which are common during pregnancy. Primarily, okra’s antioxidants strengthen the immune systems of both mother and child, reducing the risk of infections and cardiovascular problems. It also has analgesic properties and aids in easing postpartum pain and soreness in women.
9. Supports Brain Health
Packed with the goodness of phosphorus, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids, okra helps in memory enhancement. Furthermore, polyphenols are good for our brain health, lowering the risk of age-related degeneration and cognitive learning. Vitamin B6 is crucial for brain growth, and mood management, and it lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Another crucial component is folate which aids in the production of dopamine and helps uplift your mood naturally. While lowering stress, it can also help to repair stress-related damage, such as healing cells and increasing cognitive ability.
10. Okra For Healthy Skin
It is a fantastic natural ingredient for those who prefer clean beauty and desire youthful, healthy skin. Micronutrients and collagen from okra promote healthier-looking skin with less acne, dark spots, freckles, and wrinkles. The high levels of antioxidants in it assist the body get rid of damaging free radicals and prevent premature skin ageing. And vitamins A and C, help in blood purification and reduce skin concerns such as blemishes and skin inflammation. You'll experience a skin rejuvenation that will leave you with skin that is more clear, firm, smooth, and supple.
11. The Key To Healthy Hair Lies In Bhindi
This slimy vegetable, which many people dislike, not only improves your health but also gives you gorgeous hair. "How?" you could wonder. Thanks to the phytokeratin, calcium, potassium, and other vital elements that promote hair growth, moisturise dry scalp and eliminate dandruff. Okra strengthens and lengthens hair and is said to be a natural conditioner for frizz-free, shinier, and smoother hair.
12. A Powerhouse Of Good-For-You Nutrition
Over 20% of the daily requirements of the body are reportedly satisfied by 100 grams of okra. It has a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and carbs. Okra has a lot of fibre and little calories and carbohydrates. Being one of the few vegetables that contain protein, it makes an ideal meal choice for vegans and vegetarians. Vitamin K, iron, and folate content can naturally prevent anaemia because they regulate haemoglobin levels and produce red blood cells. Vitamin K is also a key component for blood coagulation. Okra is a great source of calcium, which can fortify bones and prevent fractures. Okra is high in antioxidants, which may lower your risk of major diseases, prevent inflammation, and improve your general health. It also helps to flush out toxins from the body.
Okra Nutrition Facts:
Here’s the nutrition breakdown of 1 cup (100 grams) of raw okra:
1.9 g of protein
0.2 g of fat
7.5 g of carbohydrates
3.2 g of fibre
1.5 g of sugar
31.3 milligrams (mg) of vitamin K
299 mg of potassium
7 mg of sodium
23 mg of vitamin C
0.2 mg of thiamin
57 mg of magnesium
82 mg of calcium
0.215 mg of vitamin B6
60 micrograms (mcg) of folate
36 mcg of vitamin A
Okra also provides some Iron, Niacin, Phosphorus, and Copper.
Easy To Prepare
Beyond the Southern U.S., where it is known as gumbo, okra is relished all over the world. One of its best qualities is the simplicity with which okra may be incorporated into recipes. Simply sauté diced okra with some garlic cloves, a diced onion, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. You can also roast or shallow fry in less oil to add a crispy kick to your dish. Serve them as sabzis with your favourite chapatis and rotis or make an excellent side dish for curd rice. Do you badly want to include okra in your diet? Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs, featuring simple yet mouthwatering bhindi recipes, the Indian kitchen style.
Rich in polyphenols, amino acids, proteins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, okra has enormous significant health benefits. The health benefits of eating okra include long-term heart health, cholesterol management, blood pressure control, and skin and hair health.
However, as the saying goes, "Excess of anything is bad," even okra can have negative effects if consumed in excess. Take note, be mindful of your consumption, and be wary of allergic reactions. So, whether you’re shedding weight or simply eating healthy to feel better, okra should unquestionably be on your next grocery list. But you won’t have to travel far to get fresh okra—as long as you buy okra from edobo.