Okra has powerful nutrients to prevent Diabetes and Cardiovascular disorders
Okra or Lady Finger is a tropical crop rich in essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. It has both medicinal and therapeutic properties owing to its nutritional profile and bioactive compounds. It is popularly known as Bhindi in India. The immature fruits of the plant are consumed as a vegetable by stir-frying, as a salad, pickled, put in soups and stews, fried, or dried format. The whole plant including the flowers, pods, fruits, and leaves are considered edible.
It is referred in Ayurveda for its positive effect on gastrointestinal and inflammatory disorders. It has been observed that consistent and substantial intake of the pods can remove chronic cardiovascular disorders and also help prevent ulcers and cancer.
Nutritional Value of Okra
Okra is rich in dietary fiber, proteins, and Vitamins with very low fat and cholesterol content.
- Its seeds are a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential nutrient that makes up polyunsaturated fats. Its seeds are also a rich source of protein that has high availability of essential amino acids for our body.
- It is a good source of Vitamins as Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, and Folate.
- It is a very good source of Minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Manganese and contains Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Copper.
- It has a high concentration of antioxidants such as bioactive phenolic compounds, catechin, and flavonoids. The antioxidants present in Okra helps to scavenge free radicals from both water and fat based cells in the body, hence acting in synergy and efficiency.
- The mucilage from Okra is a rich source of polysaccharides that act as a prebiotic and support gut flora.
Health Benefits of Okra
- Heart-friendly. Its mucilage, the thick and slimy fluid has the capability to bind and remove cholesterol and toxins from the blood.
- It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels due to its high fiber content, hence highly recommended for Diabetics.
- Its rich antioxidant profile protects against inflammatory disorders and also acts as a chemopreventive agent, hence recommended for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
- It flushes toxins from the blood and body organs, hence acting as a cleansing agent. This reduces the load and prevents disorders of our excretory organs kidneys and liver in specific.
- Supports the digestive system, boosts up metabolism and flushes toxins out. This speeds weightloss and tones the body.
- Supports healthy skin and blood, hence regular consumption makes the skin clear, soft, and supple.
- A high amount of Vitamin K present in it supports the thickening of the blood. Hence, it is recommended for people suffering from easy bruising, nosebleed, heavy menstrual bleeding, and bleeding gums.
- Supports healthy pregnancy by nourishing both mother and fetus due to a high concentration of proteins, antioxidants, Vitamin C, and folate. Supports brain growth, cell growth, and neural tune connection in babies. Supports mothers weakened digestive system as well.
- Supports eye-sight and due to high concentrations of beta-carotene.
- Polysaccharides present in the skin prevent adhesion and growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut and provide ample fiber to cleanse the colon.
- Prevents and heals neurogenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Okra stir-fry Indian style recipe – Bhindi Aloo Fry
This is a fairly common Indian breakfast that goes very well with Chapati – Indian bread. It can also work as a side with rice for lunch or over dinner. It is a one-pot recipe, requiring little preparation, and fast turnaround. It is kids friendly and wonderful meal option for health conditions, for pregnancy, and for new mothers. We prepared the dish in a cast iron wok, which adds more iron content to the food.
Ingredients – Okra stir-fry recipe – (Serves 4-5 persons)
- 1 Kg fresh Okra
- 2 Medium sized potatoes
- 2 Medium sized Onions
- 2 Teaspoons of Panchforan – an equal proportional mix of 5 seeds – mustard, fennel, fenugreek, cumin, and Nigella
- 2-3 Tablespoons mustard oil
- 4-5 Cloves of garlic
- 1 green chili
- 1 Teaspoon Amchur powder (dried and powdered raw mango) or 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 2 Teaspoons Turmeric powder
- 2 Teaspoons Coriander Powder
- Salt to taste
- Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
Method of Preparation – Okra stir-fry recipe – (30 mins)
- Wash and keep the Okra. Keep aside in a strainer so that it becomes dry or dry it with a towel. If we cut it wet it becomes gooey due to high mucilage content.
- Cut the dried okra into small pieces as shown in the picture.
- Cut the potatoes into small pieces of half inch cubes.
- Cut the onions long and thin. Finely chop the garlic.
- Heat a pan and put mustard oil.
- Once the oil is a little hot, put the panchforan seed mix and let the seeds splutter.
- Add onions and garlic and mix till they turn golden brown.
- Add turmeric, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well for few seconds.
- Add cut potato, mix and let it cook for 5-7 mins.
- Add Okra, mix well and cover on low heat for 10 mins.
- Add yogurt or Amchur powder to remove the mucilage from the vegetable. It will also add a slightly tangy taste to the vegetable, which is delicious!
- Mix and cover for another 10 mins on low heat till the okra and potatoes are soft.
- Serve with chapati or as a side dish with rice/porridge.
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