Indeed, Mother Nature has bestowed upon people a plethora of lush green vegetables, which not only boost physical fitness, mental wellness, but are also a boon for those suffering from diabetes, a chronic condition involving high blood sugar. And while spinach, green beans, broccoli are all ideal low-carb, high-fiber veggies for diabetics, one verdant wholesome bounty that is much-loved by desis from every region of India, which also prevents sudden spikes in blood glucose levels, is Okra.
Also known as Ladies Finger in English, Okra is referred to by different names in the various local languages of India - “Bhindi” in Hindi, “Bendekaya” in Telugu, “Vendakkai” in Malayalam, Tamil, “Bhinda” in Gujarati, “Bende” in Kannada. It is a flowering plant scientifically termed Abelmoschus esculentus and belongs to the Malvaceae botanical family, being related to hibiscus, cocoa, cotton. The edible portion is the medium to long and slightly thick seed pod. Possessing an outer green skin with a slimy mucilage-filled interior containing seeds, the okra seed pod showcases an impressive nutritional profile, free from fats, low on calories and packed with fibers, proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Proven Health Benefits Of Okra For Diabetes:
While okra supplies ample essential nutrients of vitamin A, B, C, folate, calcium, magnesium, for augmenting vision, bolstering metabolism, immunity, improving blood circulation, fortifying bones, it is also bestowed with beneficial nutrients and antihyperglycemic compounds that alleviate diabetes symptoms. Foremost among these are copious quantities of dietary fibers and proteins in okra, which satisfy the appetite, control untimely food cravings, enhance digestion and improve energy metabolism. Moreover, they also enhance insulin functions, thus avoiding a huge elevation in blood sugar post meals.
Numerous research studies have even identified the presence of a potent polyphenol/flavonoid antioxidant in okra called myricetin. This component promotes glucose uptake by the muscles, thereby effectively lowering blood sugar levels. Generally, people with diabetes are advised by doctors to follow a balanced meal plan and restrict the intake of carbs in the form of starch, simple sugars. In this regard, okra, being fiber-rich, protein-packed and laden with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, is a perfect choice for the diabetic diet.
Nourishing Delightful Desi Okra Recipes For The Diabetic Diet:
A popular wellness trend is okra water, prepared by soaking raw okra in water with a pinch of salt overnight. Consuming the okra water the next morning, which contains the advantageous compounds from the skin and seed pods of okra, is considered by many health experts to be an excellent home remedy to manage diabetes.
However, if you are a true-blue desi with diabetes, chances are you’re not too fond of bland food and drink such as okra water and prefer zesty tasty meals. Worry not, for okra has an inherently subtly sweet and grassy taste, besides a soft texture that effortlessly absorbs various flavours, making it easy to cook and ideal to incorporate into umpteen customary desi dishes of curries, sambar, dals. What’s more, it can be easily steamed, fried, grilled or boiled with an array of spices and condiments from the Indian kitchen and relished as delectable desi cuisine.
Here are two appetising desi okra recipes of Dahi Bhindi – a tangy gravy of okra in yoghurt and Bharwa Bhindi – spicy crispy dry stuffed okra. These staple Indian okra dishes are packed with fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and are low on carbs, fats, that make for a delicious, nutritious meal for healthy individuals and diabetics alike.
9 – 11 bhindi i.e. okra, cut into long pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-inch ginger piece, cut
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
A bunch of curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt, as needed
1 cup yoghurt i.e. thickened curd
Sauté the onions, along with ginger and garlic in a kadai with a bit of oil on medium flame.
Let it cool down, then blend in a mixer adding required water, to obtain a smooth paste.
Shallow fry the cut bhindis in the kadai adding a little oil, so they turn dark green, then switch off the flame and transfer to a bowl.
Add some oil in the kadai, put in the mustard seeds, once they begin to crackle, transfer the cumin seeds, curry leaves, onion paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, required amount of salt and cook for 2 minutes on low flame.
Pour in some water, add the yoghurt and stir well for a minute.
Add the mildly fried bhindi to the kadai and mix well, then turn off the stovetop, close the kadai with a lid and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes.
This delectable dahi bhindi can be served warm with roti, phulka, poori for lunch or dinner.
Bhindi or okra is laden with dietary fibers, that regulate the appetite, control hunger pangs, ease digestion and ameliorate diabetes symptoms. Onions are rich in potassium, that prevent blood pressure fluctuations, hypertension and also contain quercetin – a powerful antioxidant that averts the risk of cancer. Yoghurt is a wonderful natural probiotic, that balances gut flora and enriches digestive health, besides supplying ample proteins for strengthening muscles.
11 – 13 bhindi i.e. ladies finger, cut into medium-length pieces
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt, as per taste
2 tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder i.e. dhania powder
1 tsp dry mango powder i.e. amchur powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
A pinch of asafoetida i.e. hing
In a bowl, mix all the spice powders together, along with ginger garlic paste.
Slit the cut bhindi pieces vertically, stuff the spice mixture in them and place it in the bowl.
Heat sesame oil in a pan on medium flame, add the cumin seeds and once they splutter, transfer the stuffed bhindi pieces.
Put in the remaining spice mix, stir well, shallow fry for 3 minutes and then switch off the stove.
Relish this mouth-watering hot crunchy bharwa bhindi along with warm rice, dal and ghee for lunch or dinner.
Bhindi, also called ladies finger, okra is imbued with myricetin, a strong flavonoid antioxidant that holds significant anti-diabetic properties, to control blood sugar spikes following intake of meals, besides vitamin B6 that boosts brain power, nervous system activity. Black pepper powder comprises tremendous decongestant traits, to clear the nasal tract, remedy cough, cold, sore throat and augment breathing, lung capacity and respiratory functions. Cumin seeds contain great quantities of carminative compounds, that relieve flatulence, bloating and soothe the tummy of gastrointestinal problems.