Monday, August 17, 2009

Okra And Its Health Benefits>>>Shape Up!

Okra. Bhendi. Bhindi. A much loved vegetable in India but looked upon with distaste in the US. I could not get just why for the longest time. Besides being low in calories it is aplenty with vitamins of the category A, Thiamin, B6, C, folic acid, riboflavin, calcium, zinc and dietary fiber. Eating okra is much recommended for pregnant woman besides other for it is rich in folic acid which is essential in the neural tube formation of the fetus during 4-12 weeks of gestation period in the mother’s womb.

Research revelations by nutritionists’ state::

• The mucilage and fiber found in okra helps adjust blood sugar by regulating its absorption in the small intestine.

• The fiber of okra has many superior qualities in maintaining the health of the gastro-intestinal tract.

• It helps reabsorb water and traps excess cholesterol, metabolic toxins and surplus bile in its mucilage and slips it out through the stool. Due to greater percentage of water in the bulk it thereby prevents constipation, gas and bloating in the abdomen.

• It is an ideal vegetable for weight loss and is storehouse of health benefits provided it is cooked over low flame to retain its properties. This also to ensure that the invaluable mucilage contained in it is not lost to high heat.

• Okra facilitates the propagation of good bacteria referred to as probiotics. These are similar to the ones proliferate by the yoghurt in the small intestine and helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex.

• For adding bounce your hair. Boil horizontally sliced okra till the brew become maximally slimy. Cool it and add a few droops of lemon and use this as the last rinse and see your hair spring back to youthfulness and jump.

• Okra is an excellent laxative treats irritable bowels, heals ulcers and sooths the gastrointestinal track.

• Protein and oil contained in the seeds of okra serves as the source of first-rate vegetable protein. It is enriched with amino acids on the likes of tryptophan, cystine and other sulfur amino acids.

Here is a recipe I made last week for Okra and Plantains::::
Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small onion
1 small tomato
about 1/3 cup of green pepper, diced
1-2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 large handful of okra, cut into little wheels
1 ripe (soft with several black spots) plantain, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each of pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, and paprika (according to your taste)


Saute garlic, onion, tomato, and green pepper in canola oil over medium heat until green pepper is soft. Be sure to push it around a bit, so it doesn't burn.

Add okra and plantain. Cook for about 7-10 minutes.

Add lemon juice and pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, and paprika to taste. Cook for another 3-5 minutes to let the flavors merge, then remove from heat.

Serve with a whole grain like rice or quinoa. Roasted corn is a good companion for this dish too.

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes

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