Lady's Finger : Major Health Benefits
By Refadoc, Posted on : Friday, 03 July 2015 - 6:52 am IST
Okra is quite a well known mucilaginous vegetable in Asia and other parts of the world. The plant hails from a tropical family of vegetables. Okra is an edible pea pod and contains white soft seeds giving it an angled appearance from outside.
Okra ranks quite low in calories and is densely filled with nutrients. It is also high in fiber, Vitamin A, C and Folate. It is also a great source of Vitamins, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc and Magnesium and Manganese. Okra is one of the few known vegetables which are known to be loaded with Phytonutrients and Antioxidants such as Beta Carotene, Xanthin and Lutein.
Major Health Benefits of Okra:
Okra is one of the best available medicinal vegetables, though it is not everyone’s favorite.
- Tackles Anemia: Okra helps in the production of the red blood cells in the body and thereby prevents Anemia.
- Works against Cancer: The high content of antioxidants in Okra is known to help protect the immune system against harmful free radicals and therefore prevents the mutation of the cells.
- Tackles Asthma: The high amount of antioxidants and Vitamin C content in Okra make it quite beneficial against asthmatic attacks.
- Builds Bone Density: The Folate found in Okra is known to help build strong bones and increases the density of the bones, thereby preventing Osteoporosis.
- Prevents Constipation: The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in Okra helps to increase the bulk and therefore binds to the toxins in the body, ensuring an easy bowel movement with it’s natural laxative like properties. Regular intake of Okra is also known to reduce the risk of Colon Cancer.
- Prevents Diabetes: The insulin like properties found in Okra are known to help reduce the blood sugar level in the body.
- Boosts the Immune System: The high amount of antioxidants and Vitamin C found in Okra are known to boost your immune system and therefore, reduce the chances of catching cough and cold.
- Prevents Peptic Ulcers: The slimy content of Okra provides a temporary coating for the digestive tract and the stomach lining, thereby healing peptic ulcers.
- Great for Pregnant Women: The rich folate content present in Okra is known to help decrease the incidence of Neural Tube Defects in babies. Therefore, it is quite beneficial and safe for pregnant women.
- Increases Skin Health: Along with an active and good bowel movement, the skin health is also bound to improve. Okra helps to reduce the incidence of acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Selecting Premium Quality of Lady’s Finger:
A lot of people believe in the topical use of Okra, but we cannot ignore the goodness of this vegetable for our body. It is easily available in the market, but often people are unsure as to how they can select a good quality of this vegetable. So, here are some quick tips which can help you to choose from the very best:
- Select Smaller Pods: It is always recommended to choose the smaller pods because they are tender. Also, the smaller pods tend to taste better as compared to the large ones which could be tough and stringy sometimes.
- The brighter the colors, the better: Look out and choose the ones which come with bright green colored pods as compared to the dark ones. You will also be surprised to know that Okra comes in a burgundy and a deep red hue.
- Without Blemishes: While choosing the vegetable, look for the ones which are unblemished and unspotted. These are often fresh and are not rotten from the inside.
- Firm Ones are better: You also need to check the freshness of the vegetable before buying it. The smaller pods are going to be tender. However, make sure that they are not very soft.
Storing Lady’s Finger:
It is recommended to store the Okra in an unwashed manner. You can either store it in a simple brown paper bag or you could even wrap it in a newspaper. In case you don’t have either, you can even use a simple plastic bag in order to store the vegetables in. Make sure that you store them in the warmest part of the refrigerator though. Keeping it away from extreme cold makes it edible for up to three days. When kept in extremely cold conditions, it is prone to decay sooner. Therefore, store it in the warmer part of your refrigerator.
Quick Tips to Consume Okra:
There are many different ways in which you can consume Lady’s Finger. Here are some quick and amazing ways for you to prepare them before enjoying them:
- Prior to cooking them, it is recommended to wash them and rinse them with water.
- After washing them, pat dry them completely and dry them with the help of a towel.
- In case you plan to use them later on, it is recommended to store them in a zip lock bag and to leave it overnight before using it the next day. This is going to make them less slimy and will enhance the taste of the vegetable as well.
- Before preparing it, take it out from the refrigerator and add it to the dish of your choice. You can either cook them whole or could chop them.
- Trim the ends of the vegetable before using it.
- It is recommended to prevent thawing the vegetable otherwise it would be slimy in taste.
Tips for Cooking Okra – What to do and what not to do:
While cooking Okra, make sure you follow the below mentioned tips:
- In order to prevent sliming, make sure to fry the Okra in some oil before you add the salt and the spices. This is going to cut down the slime rate considerably. Also, remove the okra from the pan after it is done into a side dish.
- It is recommended to soak Okra in either vinegar or lemon juice before using it. One of the other options is to add lemon or vinegar while you are preparing the dish in order to cut the down the slime rate.
- It is also recommended to blanch the Okra for about 3-4 minutes in order to cut down the slime rate and add it to the dish when it is going to be cooked.
Popular Okra Recipe:
There are many different ways to cook Okra. You can either add it to Pecans or could add lemon juice in order to enhance the flavor of the vegetable. But here, we present you with one of the most popular Okra recipes for you to try at your home:
Okra or Lady’s Finger
Grape seed oil or Olive Oil
- Wash, cleanse and cut down the end stems of the Okra.
- Put Oil in a wok and bring it to a high temperature.
- Now toss the Okra into the oil and cover it with oil completely.
- Place it in a wok and then cover it with a lid.
- Let the Okra remain the pan for a long time until its ends start appearing as charred.
- Turn it time and again in the grill and keep it moving on.
- When it is done, remove it from the pan and sprinkle some lemon juice and salt over it in order to enhance the flavor of the dish.
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