Okra, also known as ‘lady fingers’ or ‘bhindi’ in India, is not a well-known vegetable, but it is a nutritious and delicious one. It is often dismissed because of its sliminess, but it all depends on how you prepare it.
My first experience eating okra was in India. More recently I enjoyed a yummy vegan okra gumbo in New Orleans. Okra is popular in hot climates where it grows well.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OKRA
Helps Prevents Gastritis
When there is bacteria in the stomach, inflammation can cause gastritis. There is an anti-adhesive compound in okra that binds to the surface of the gut, blocking the bacteria attaching to the stomach lining. It was found in a study that okra juice prevents this from happening and creating gastritis.
For centuries, Asian medicine has used okra to treat gastric irritations. Extensive studieshave investigated the helpfulness of okra in detail.
Kills Breast Cancer Cells
Lectin isolated from okra was found in a study to kill cancer cells in the breast. The growth of the breast cancer cells was inhibited by 63 percent.
Helpful for Lowering Cholesterol
Almost half of the okra pod is soluble fiber, which helps lowers cholesterol, according to research. It binds to excess cholesterol and toxins in the bile to be eliminated.
Good for Heart Health
There is good soluble fiber in okra which helps reduce cholesterol and also lessens the chance of heart disease.
Helps Keep Memory
Okra can boost the brain’s cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that okra extracts reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, protecting against other degenerative neurological diseases as well.
Good Source of Protein
Okra is a high-quality protein; it has an amino acid composition comparable to soybeans and the protein efficiency ratio is higher than soybeans. It is a top vegetable protein food.
Please Note: The Okra vegetable is one of the many high-nutrient foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Individuals with known or suspected kidney or gallbladder problems are recommended not to eat these high-oxalate foods. This is a much-disputed subject, however.
Also, okra should not be cooked in copper, brass or iron cooking pans because the metal can be absorbed.
“Seven-days-old fresh okra pods have the highest concentration of nutrients., according to a study in the Journal of Food Processing & Technology
It is full of valuable nutrients such as protein, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin K and is high in fiber. It even has vitamin A, E and many B vitamins. Learn more about okra nutrition.
How to Select
Choose bright green pods that are less than 4 inches long and not bruised, soft or blemished with blackened age spots. When they are too ripe, they have a very sticky texture. In the South, it is available fresh year-round and in other areas from May to October.
How to Store
It is best to store okra in a paper bag or in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
To store for a longer time it is best to freeze the okra.
- Carefully trim the stem ends, don’t cut into the pod and then blanch for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Dip them briefly into ice water, and then place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer and when they are frozen, put them into freezer bags.
- Carefully vacuum seal if you can; it’s best not to remove all of the air as the okra may get crushed.
Tips for eating or cooking:
We often hear unkind comments about okra because people don’t often know how to prepare it. Okra is mostly pan-fried, battered, steamed or grilled to make soups, sauces, stews or curries. It is a common vegetable in Indian cuisine and a common ingredient in Creole cuisine. You can even eat okra raw in a salad. It is also used as an egg white substitute or as a fat substitute in chocolate bar recipes and in frozen dairy dessert.