First of all it is a low calorie food (i.e. 30 cal per 100 g). Or, half a cup of cooked okra has just 18 calories. Also, okra does not contain any kind of saturated fats and cholesterol.
Half a cup of raw okra has about two grams of fibre.
Okra is a good source of minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It also contains protein, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid or folate.
Fresh pods are good source of folates; provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in folates, especially during pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.
It contains Vitamin B6 as well. According to the experts okra is a very good food for the pregnant women as it prevents birth defects.
According to USDA, okra contains high levels of Vitamin K. Vitamin K rich foods helps in blood clotting, protects heart from coronary disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Vitamin K is very good for bone structure as well.
Okra is great at being able to reabsorb water. By being able to absorb so much water, okra can trap excess cholesterol, excess bile, and certain toxins. By trapping these substances, it makes it easier to eliminate them from the body through the stool.
Because okra is a great source for water absorb, eating this vegetable can prevent constipation, bloating, and gas.
Most people who have eaten or have cooked okra, know about the okra slime. Some recipes call for the whole okra, but how do you deal with the okra slime?
There are few ways to minimize the slime:
- Simply trim the off the ends and avoid puncturing the okra capsule.
- You can also minimize the slime factor by avoiding the tendency to overcook okra.
- Adding a spoonful of yogurt or buttermilk also helps dry out the slime when using okra in stir-fries.
While many dislike this slime, this mucilage provides some important health benefits.
The slimy mucilage binds and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, bile acids, and toxins. The mucilage in okra also helps alleviate the irritation, swelling, and pain in the throat associated with the common cold and cough.
Culinarily speaking, okra is often used in gumbos and soups. It has the unique ability to help thicken soups with its mucilage.
Okra can be eaten raw but that is based on your preference. Okra’s flavor is somewhere between asparagus and eggplant, so it pairs easily with most other foods.
Okra is a sensitive vegetable and should not be cooked in pans made of iron, copper or brass since the chemical properties turns okra black.
When cooked in an acidic sauce, okra loses its slippery texture and can be cooked to a pleasing tender-crispness. Tomato and okra is also a natural flavor combination.
* Okra Recipe: Okra in Spicy Tomato Sauce.
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 dried hot peppers, seeded and finely chopped, or 1/2 tsp/2 mL hot pepper flakes
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
Pinch black pepper
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped parsley
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
8 oz (250 g) okra
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, garlic, hot peppers, cumin, salt and pepper. Fry, stirring, until onion is soft. Stir in tomatoes, parsley and oregano; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim brown tips off okra stems (do not cut okra open). Stir in lemon juice. Add okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
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Yours truly for great health, mind and body,
Michelle, natural healthy foods advocate
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