Health Benefits of Okra (Ladies Fingers)
According to research done by Ms. Sylvia Zook (Ph.D, nutrition, University of Illinois), Okra contains valuable nutrients, with almost half of which is soluble fiber in the form of pectins and gums. Soluble fiber aids to reduce serum cholesterol, thereby lowering the risk of heart diseases.
The other half is in the form of insoluble fiber which helps to maintain the intestinal tract healthy, thus decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, such as colon cancer. Colon Cancer is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world.
Okra is rich in many nutrients, such as vitamins A, B6, C, calcium and iron. The superior fiber found in okra helps to prevent medical problems such as diabetes and constipation.
Okra seeds can be used as a form of substitute for coffee and is often used in Indian curries. To retain most of okra's nutrients, it should be cooked whole as little as possible, with low heat or steamed. It can also be stir-fried, stewed, deep fried or eaten raw but may be a bit tough to chew. Pickled okra is also a popular food to some people in America.
The seeds of the ladies fingers contains a high amount of oil which is rich in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid which is a healthy source of fat. Oleic acid, found in almonds, cashews, avocados and olive oil, helps to lower the level of cholesterol and reduce blood pressure in the body.
Another important nutrient of okra is glutathione, a protein molecule that is naturally produced in the body. Glutathione is a very important molecule that helps the immune system to work properly to prevent diseases. A deficiency of glutathione could lead to a variety of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. In short, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant critical for your body to get rid of toxins and stay healthy. As we age, the levels of glutathione in the body gradually decrease due to toxins, pollution, infections and poor diets.
Ladies fingers is also reported to be beneficial to those suffering from diabetes as it helps to stabilize the blood sugar. There are people who claimed to have been cured of their diabetes or their medical condition greatly improved with the daily consumption of water that has been soaked with okra.
Since okra has so many health benefits and if you are conscious of your well being, you should start eating okra regularly in your diet. It can be easily fried and steamed. There are many okra recipes that you can find online to suit your taste. In Indian recipes, they are often used as an ingredient of curry dishes, together with potatoes and tomatoes. It is often used as a stew in the eastern Mediterranean and Arab countries. It is also tasty pickled or grilled.
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