Okra or bhindi as we call it, is a lot more then a delicious vegetable . In Pakistan we cook it in summers. I will share some of its health benefits before sharing my delicious recipe with you.
- Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially Colo-rectal cancer. *
- Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid is also present in a half cup of cooked okra. Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid.
The following numbers are from the University of Illinois Extension Okra Page. Please check there for more details.
Okra Nutrition (half-cup cooked okra)
* Calories = 25
* Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
* Protein = 1.5 grams
* Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
* Vitamin A = 460 IU
* Vitamin C = 13 mg
* Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
* Calcium = 50 mg
* Iron = 0.4 mg
* Potassium = 256 mg
* Magnesium = 46 mg *
*These numbers should be used as a guideline only, and if you are on a medically-restricted diet please consult your physician and/or dietician.
Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has very kindly provided the following thought-provoking comments on the many benefits of this versatile vegetable.
Benefits of Okra are worth reading
1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it
curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
2. Okra’s mucilage not only binds cholesterol but bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. But it doesn’t stop there…
3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all diseases begin in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation . Fiber in general is helpful for this but okra is one of the best, along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes , and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor.
In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems, if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the body. The veggie is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it), has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most.
4. Further contributing to the health of the intestinal tract, okra fiber(as
well as flax and psyllium) has no equal among fibers for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics).
5. To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.
A guy has been suffering from constipation for the past 20 years and
recently from acid reflux. He didn’t realize that the treatment could be so simple — OKRA! (or Lady’s Finger). He started eating okra within the last 2 months and since then have never taken medication again. All he did was consume 6 pieces of OKRA everyday.
He’s now regular and his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98, with his cholesterol and acid reflux also under control. Here are some facts on okra (from the research of Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D nutrition), University of
Recipe for cooking lady’s finger in the Pakistani way is as follows. Before cooking wash the vegetable and let it dry for half an hour. Cut both ends and cut the rest of okra in cubes.
I got the recipe from the khana khazana and it works well for me but mom in law likes it with almost double onions. She fries onions and bhindi separately before mixing them and cooking them on slow heat for 10 minutes. You can make it tastier by adding a little anar daana at the end too!!!
If you are a meat lover then cook meat and add bhindi to get bhindi-ghosht.