Okra or Lady’s finger as commonly called dates back 3500 years and may have come from Ethopia. The ancient Egyptians started cultivating it in the 12th century B.C., which eventually spread to the Middle East and North Africa. It was probably during the slave trade from West Africa that Okra reached the U.S. and the Caribbean in the 1700s.
At present, okra is widely held in many countries like Turkey, Greece, India, and South America. Okra belongs to the Mallow family and is related to hibiscus and cotton. It is a tropical herb that is grown for its edible seed pods. A hardy plant that can thrive in hot conditions with even less water. This Plant can reach a height of 6ft and produces a large yellow flower and heart shaped leaves. Its seed pod is 3 to 10 inches long, tapering down its length. The unripe seed pods are tender and has a very unique texture. When sliced, the pod oozes a slimy like juice often time used as thickener. Its taste is a cross between eggplant and asparagus.
This superfood is well recognized for its high nutritional value and numerous health benefits. It is jam packed with dietary fibers, a healthy amounts of vitamins such as vitamin A to keep a healthy skin and mucus membrane; vitamin B3 like niacin that converts food into energy and vitamin B6 that lowers homocysteine level to reduce risk of heart disease; and vitamin C that builds up immunity against harmful free radical. Okra is also an abundant source of essential minerals that includes, calcium for strong bones and regulate pressure in arteries; manganese to develop metabolic process; and iron to sustain healthy hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the body. To add to that, Okra has a very low calorie level, with just 30 calories per 100grms. It contains no cholesterol and saturated fats.
In terms of health benefits, check this out … Its mucilage helps easy passage of waste in the intestinal tract due to its mucilage that acts as lubricant and this mucilage also binds bile acids and cholesterol which are expelled through stool. It’s effective against diarrhea due to its fiber rich content. Okra can radically lower the level of blood sugar and a potential substitute for type 2 diabetes treatment. Eating okra on a regular basis can also help prevent kidney disease.
Okra is safe for consumption both for young children and pregnant women. Eating too much of this vegetable may affect male fertility.
Did you know… That there is a red variety of okra?... And they turn green when cooked? I bet you did not know that. Did you?
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