Okra, known in many English-speaking countries as ladies' fingers, ochro, bamia and gumbo. The plant is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperature regions for their 'pods' or fibrous fruit. It grows best in well-drained and manure rich soil. It will take for about 45-60 days to be harvested. The scientific name for okra is Abelmoschus Esculentus, it is believed to be helpful in promoting health benefits.
There are medical researches going on for it's increasing number of diabetic victims. Okra helps in managing your blood sugar. So, let's find out whether it can directly cure diabetes or not.
10 Health Benefits of Eating Okra
It’s low on calories – bamia pods contain only 30 calories per 100 grams. That's why it is advised as a part of a weight-loss program.
It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
It can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing its absorption from the intestines.
It contains lots of dietary fiber and acts as a natural laxative which can help you to naturally get rid of constipation. The pods are rich in mucilage substance, which is a thick, gluey substance that lubricates the large intestine and helps with elimination. Okra’s fiber also feeds the gut’s beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and helps maintain the pH balance of your digestive tract.
It’s rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants – the green pods contain beta-carotene, lutein and xanthine, which together with vitamin A help preserve good vision and keep your skin fresh and healthy. Okra has been connected to cataract prevention and is praised for preventing spots and pimples.
Due to the abundance of antioxidants and fiber, some also connect okra with cancer prevention, especially the prevention of colorectal cancer.
It’s a rich source of vitamin C, which helps with the body’s immunity – okra has been linked to cough and cold prevention. Since vitamin C also act as an anti-inflammatory, okra might be good for reducing the symptoms of asthma.
It contains folates – 100 grams of okra provides about 22% of the recommended daily amount. Folates (folic acid) are particularly important in the pre-conception period and during early gestation and help prevent birth defects. Foods with folate are can also help to cleanse your lungs.
It’s a good source of minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and manganese.
It contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health and plays a major role in blood clotting.
According to research, okra might improve glycemic control but try to avoid taking metformin hydrochloride for it reduces the drugs absorption. Metformin is helpful in controlling sugar levels hence it is advised to diabetic people. So, if you have diabeted and are taking metformin, eating numerous okra might increase your sugar level and not the other way around. So, discussed it to your physician for remedies.
Okra can be planted to your backyard or can be purchased from the market so when purchasing, it must be attractively rich green-color, look for crispy immature pods. Avoid buying those over ripen, sunken appearance, discolored spots, cuts and mushy. Some okras are treated with insecticide/pesticide sprays so wash the pods with cold water to remove the dirt, soil and any chemical sprays. Remember this is your health we are talking about.
The pods are great for thickening dishes, as they become gooey when cooked. They are delicious cooked in soups with some fish, which is a Caribbean take on okra.
For a bit of an Egyptian touch, prepare okra in a thick stew of lamb or beef. This delicacy is actually known as bamia or bamiya.
If you want to reduce the vegetable’s mucilage and use it in drier dishes, add some lemon juice (which can be used as a natural medicine).
Chopped or sliced pods can be fried as fritters and then mixed with other vegetables or meat.
For a healthy version, simply steam the pods (whole or cut) and enjoy them as a side dish with rice and vegetables or meat. Steaming is one of the best cooking methods to keep the vitamins in food.
The pods can also be pickled and preserved in the same way you pickle your other vegetables.
If you happen to come across bamia’s leaves, you can eat those as well. They can be consumed raw in salads or cooked in soups and stews.
Each one of us responds to medication differently. You may say it is effective but others can't see the aftermath. But, remember okra is not an insulin replacement. However, okra has many health benefits that can help our health in improving, so it may be worth giving a shot. You won't loose a thing but you will gain a long and healthy life instead.