Okra, better known as Ladies finger or gumbo and popularly called Bhindi in Hindi, Bendakaya in Telugu, Vendakkai in Tamil, is a flowering plant that belongs to the family of hibiscus and cotton.
Okra refers to the edible seedpods of the plant and has been the preferred choice of food, used in many recipes as a part of the nutritional diet for its highly beneficial nutrients.
It is loaded with a rich nutritional profile including vitamin B, C, folic acid, potassium and calcium. Being low in calories and high in both soluble and insoluble fibres, Okra has numerous proven health incentives, besides being beneficial in managing diabetes. Also Check Out: World Diabetes Day: 5 Natural Foods To Manage Diabetes-Infographic
Top Health Benefits Of Okra:
Controls Blood Sugar
The presence of high content of soluble and insoluble fibres and low glycaemic index of 20, makes okra or bhindi an ideal choice of vegetable to control blood sugar spikes. The fibre in Okra helps in stabilizing the blood sugars by delaying the gastric emptying of the sugars. It has been proven by studies conducted over the years, in vitro and in vivo, confirming okra has the potential to lower blood sugar.
Okra turns out to be the best vegetable that can prevent migraines. A key nutrient to cope with migraines is to increase the magnesium intake, which many people find it as a difficult task. A 100-gram serving of okra provides about 9% of your daily recommended intake of magnesium, makes it a simpler goal to meet. Adequate hydration is another factor that helps in preventing migraine which okra can help with too, as the mucus-forming fibre holds the water and keeps you hydrated throughout the day.
Promotes Gut Health
The richness of fibre in Okra is really appreciated factor that promotes gut health. The fibre adds bulk to the food and helps it to move smoothly through the intestine. This promotes the regularity of the bowel and reduces gastrointestinal issues like -bloating, cramping, constipation and flatulence. Also Read: Bloating: Try These Kitchen Wonders To Soothe Bloated Tummy
Okra the powerhouse of Vitamin A and antioxidants like beta carotenes, xanthein, and lutein are powerful compounds that destroy free radicals responsible for cell degradation and vision. A regular intake of Okra in your diet can protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.
Good For The Immune System
The goodness of antioxidants in Okra and the high Vitamin C content makes it very potent to ward off free radicals and boost the immunity. The vitamins can enhance the functioning of the immune system, to produce white blood cells and combat foreign pathogens that weaken the immune system.
Okra To Boost Memory
The goodness of essential nutrients in Okra that include phosphorus, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids helps to boost the memory. It is the best choice to improve memory and brain health. Soak 3 to 4 chopped okra in a cup of water, drink this okra water first thing in the morning to improve your memory.
Okra is indeed a nutrient storehouse with a spectrum of beneficial effects on health. It is very low in calories, easily available all-year-round, and can be prepared in many ways and added to a variety of Indian recipes like gravies, curries, crunchy fritters and sambar, in the form a tasty vegetable to relish.
Crispy Okra Masala
2 cups okra, washed and cut into even pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp sambar powder
1 tsp dhania/coriander powder
Salt, as per taste
1 tbsp curd
2 tbsp rice bran oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds/jeera
A pinch of hing
1 red chilli
In a deep cooking vessel, heat 2 tsp of oil, add mustard seeds.
Once they begin to sputter, add hing, jeera, red chilli and curry leaves, sauté for 2 minutes.
Transfer the remaining oil, along with the cut onions and cook until they turn translucent.
On high flame, add the cut okra, along with spices and salt and cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
Pour in the curd, to prevent the okra pieces from sticking to one another.
Fry the okra on a medium flame for 10 minutes, to allow all the flavours of the spice powders to soak and blend in.
Serve the crispy okra fry hot with rice or rotis.
Okra abounds in B vitamins and omega fatty acids, which enhance nervous system functioning and brainpower, by improving memory, concentration and intellect. Being inherently rich in the valuable antioxidant quercetin, onions prevent the risk of cancer, besides boosting immunity due to their high vitamin C content. Curry leaves have profuse amounts of vitamin A, which augments eyesight as well as antioxidants and minerals which help manage diabetes.