Okra, helps produce probiotics, ease irritable bowel syndrome and reduce asthma suffering read on for more

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Okra

 

This beloved Southern U.S. staple, and popular ingredient in   Africa, India and the Middle East, contains memorable amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-carotene, fibre, folate, lutein, magnesium, manganese, niacin, (B3), thiamin (B1) and zeaxanthin

WELLNESS

Okra burst forth from its roots and staked claim on the world at large in recent years because of its delicious, grassy flavor and amazing health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Okra’s rich fibre content sweeps hazardous wastes from the intestines and colon and can help combat colon cancer.  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are powerful anti-oxidants that fight off cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of developing cancer

Asthma Vitamin C, taken in even low regular doses, has been shown to reduce typical asthmatic symptoms like wheezing in those individuals suffering from the affliction

Blood health Magnesium is responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells

Bone health / teeth health Vitamin A and Vitamin C build and sustain strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin C plays an important role in repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.  Vitamin K stimulates calcium-binding in the bones

Diabetes Fibre helps normalize blood sugar levels in the body by slowing down sugar absorption in the blood

Digestive health Due to its rich fibre content, okra cleans out the intestines and colon of toxic materials.  Vitamin A is vital for healthy mucous membranes, which, in turn, are beneficial for proper functioning of the digestive tract.  Consuming okra helps produce probiotics, or good bacteria, and is a great way to ease constipation, gas and irritable bowel syndrome

 

Eye health Vitamin A maintains healthy eye tissue, promotes higher visual acuity and can protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration

 

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both good for a strong and healthy set of chompers.  Some of Vitamin C’s other prominent tasks include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons

Healthy pregnancy Folate is an absolute must-have B vitamin for women who are carrying as it promotes healthy growth of the baby and prevents birth defects.  Vitamin C also aids in proper development of the fetus

 

Heart health Vitamin C, taken regularly, can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Magnesium also helps to normalize blood pressure.  Pectin, a soluble fibre found in okra, has been shown to considerably lower cholesterol.  Okra also happens to be a cholesterol-free food

 

Immune system health Vitamin C is the immune system’s best friend and can help heal wounds, form healthy scar tissue and fight off a gamut of diseases and infections, from an annoying, everyday cold to influenza to the HIV virus

Kidney Disease Studies have shown that eating okra on a consistent basis can actually stave off the onset of kidney disease

 

BEAUTY

 Skin health Vitamin C promotes healthy skin and produces collagen

Anti-oxidant properties Anti-oxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are all winning warriors against cell-damaging free radicals and work to maintain healthy, younger-looking, elastic skin, strong, resilient nails and bounce-back hair that is less prone to breakage and split ends

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre A once cup serving of okra has a whopping 3.2 grams of fibre, which will keep your stomach feeling full and sated and your mind less likely to crave those empty calories that are detrimental to your diet.  The fibre will also flush out your system more regularly and keep you from feeling bloated

 

Nutritional Intake One cup of okra has a scant 33 calories and is virtually fat-free with a barely worth mentioning 0.1 grams per that same one cup serving

 

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 

Okra is available year round, but is at its peak in the summer months.  Okra pods, when chosen, should be bright green in color

Okra can be slimy if not prepared correctly, and that has proven a turn-off to some, but do not let that dissuade you from trying this delicious and versatile veggie.  To cut down on the slime factor, utilize quick-cooking methods like flash sauteing or steaming, grilling and/or frying.  A friend of mine recently suggested that I cut a small “x” in the stem end of the okra pod and soak it in vinegar for 1/2 hour before cooking.  Apparently, this is a popular treatment in Morocco and Greece, but one that should be taken in consideration, of course, dependent on which recipe you plan to make, as vinegar is strong

Pickled okra is fun and easy to put together and can be stored and enjoyed for up to six months!  Make sure to invest in real one-pint canning jars that have those two–part sealing lids to keep the air out and maximize the pickling effect.  Just fill a jar with okra pods, one chopped garlic clove, one whole Chile pepper, ½ tsp. dill seeds, a cup of vinegar (either cider or rice wine vinegar), 1 cup water and 2 tbsp sea salt  Spoon the mixture over the okra (leaving a little space at the top of each jar), boil the jars submerged in water for 15 minutes and store them in a cool dry place for at least three weeks before eating

Bbq Grilled okra is a fun and tasty backyard BBQ alternative.  Keep the pods whole, toss them in some fresh lemon juice, drizzle them with some quality EVOO, sprinkle them with a gentle amount of sea salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper and coriander to taste and place them right on the outside grill (or inside grill pan) for about five minutes each side.  The charred flavor well compliments that okra’s natural grassy goodness

For a healthy spin on a traditional Louisiana comfort food, concoct this easy, lean but still hearty and satisfying Chicken and Sausage GumboIn a Dutch oven, combine 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp. canola oil over medium-high heat for three minutes.  Add 1 chopped onion, 1 cup sliced okra, 1 cup chopped celery, 4 minced garlic cloves, a ½ teaspoon (or more depending on how spicy you like it) Cajun seasoning, a ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 cups lean chicken breast, 1 cup light Italian turkey sausage, ½ cup sliced red bell pepper, ½ cup sliced green bell pepper, 2 cups diced tomatoes and one 1 cup of chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for 6-10 minutes and serve over brown rice

My Favorite Tempura Okra  in a crisp light batter with smoke paprika and tatziki

Fun Fact about Okra:  The seeds in okra are sometimes roasted in a skillet until browned and then cooled and ground as a coffee substitute!

Okra fruits

Okra fruits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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One thought on “Okra, helps produce probiotics, ease irritable bowel syndrome and reduce asthma suffering read on for more

  1. Pingback: 10 Healthest Foods On Earth « Keitochan Says:

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