Okra or lady’s finger is a warm-season vegetable of the mellow family. It is a fruit but comes into use as a vegetable. Every part of the okra plant is helpful, including the leaves, stem, pods, buds, flowers, and seeds. Okra comes in red and green colors, but green is the more commonly consumed variety. The younger pods are soft, juicy, and sweet in flavor, while the matured pods have harder seeds and are less edible.
When cut, a lady’s fingers leak mucilaginous juice, which serves as an exquisite thickener for stews and soups. Okra has mild, crunchy, and excellent taste when fried, roasted, grilled, sautéed, or pickled.
The slimy juice makes okra a tacky food product, but it has exceptional nutritional values with numerous health benefits, including:
- Okra is low in calories and carbs and has a high content of fibers. It is one of the few vegetables and fruits which contains protein and makes okra an excellent food choice when managing weight.
- Lady’s finger is rich in vitamins, including vitamins A, C, K, and B6.
Vitamin C helps boost our immunity to fight against many infectious diseases and reduces the duration of infection.
Vitamin K is an essential component in the blood clotting mechanism.
Vitamin A is crucial for normal vision and reproduction.
Vitamin B6 is critical for many bodily functions, including brain development and mood regulation, and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Okra contains numerous antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin A and C, which fights free radicals and reduces the risk of chronic disease, including heart diseases and cancer.
Polyphenols are also beneficial for our brain health, reduce the risk of age-related degeneration, and improve memory and cognitive learning.
- Lectin protein present in okra inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
- Okra improves blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels in our system.
- Okra is a good source of folate, which is crucial for preventing neural tube defects in a fetus. So eating okra is beneficial for pregnant women.
Okra is a very nutritious food product with numerous health benefits. So, add them to your diet and savors their benefits.