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Health benefits and Side effects of Lady-finger – Okra Benefits
Okra vegetable, also known as lady finger or gumbo is a green vegetable. It is grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Okra is better known by its common name as lady’s finger or gumbo and popularly called ‘Bhindi‘ in Hindi, ‘Bendakaya‘ in Telugu, ‘Vendakkai‘ in Tamil, ‘Vendakai‘ in Malayalam, ‘Bende‘ in Kannada, ‘Bhinda‘ in Gujarati, ‘Bhendi‘ in Marathi and ‘Dherash‘ in Bengali.
This high fiber vegetable is known for its high soluble and insoluble fiber content. This high fiber vegetable is known for its high soluble and insoluble fiber content. This vegetable is usually used in many recipes and is also a part of many nutritional diets as it is highly beneficial. Let us quickly look at some of the amazing benefits of okra.
Lady’s finger belongs to the Malvaceae family. Lady’s finger is a rich source of Vitamin-C, Magnesium, Vitamin A and a soluble fiber called pectin. In this article, we will discuss various advantages and disadvantages of having a lady’s finger.
Okra Health Benefits and Side Effects – Okra Nutrition
Okra is rich in Vitamin A and flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene, xanthin, and lutein that help to protect us from lung and oral cavity cancers. The folates present in okra helps to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects in newborn babies. Consumption of okra helps to improve digestion, vision, skin health and also help to strengthen bones. It also takes care of your heart and the entire cardiovascular system by helping to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It further strengthens our immune system.
A single cup of raw okra has a little over 30 calories, about 3 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, 7.6 grams carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of fat, 21 milligrams of vitamin C, around 88 micrograms of folate, and 57 milligrams of magnesium. This makes okra a nutrition hero and very available food when it comes to our health.
Health Benefits Of Okra or Lady’s Finger
1.High Fiber Content
The dietary fiber content of okra/lady’s finger is known to be high, and hence, many health specialists recommend it for digestive benefits. The fibers aid the process of digestion in the body by facilitating proper bowel movement.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
Okra not only promotes good digestive health but also good cholesterol levels due to its high fiber content. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, which means that it breaks down in the digestive tract. There, it also binds to cholesterol in other foods so that it can be excreted along with other wastes. In turn, total cholesterol levels plummet, according to the Harvard Health Publications. Okra also helps to lower cholesterol by replacing all the foods you eat with high fat and cholesterol levels — okra contains no cholesterol and very little fat.
3. Ladyfinger / Okra For Diabetes
Ladyfinger can help to keep diabetes under control. Diabetes is an excess amount of sugar level in the blood. People who have very high diabetes level usually take insulin to keep it under control. However, lady finger can help you to keep your sugar levels under control.
Soluble fibers keep kidney healthy and help in digestion of carbohydrate, Okra is rich in soluble fibers and hence lowers sugar level in blood. The fiber absorbs the excess sugar from the blood. Cut both the ends of the okra and make a slit in between. Soak it in the water overnight and drink the water in the morning on empty stomach.
Soluble fiber can help diabetics because of its ability to keep blood glucose levels stable — it affects how sugar is absorbed in the intestines. In a 2011 study published in the journal ISRN Pharmaceutics, researchers soaked sliced okra pods in water and then gave rats the solution through a gastric feeding tube — a control group wasn’t fed this solution. The researchers found okra helped reduce the absorption rate of glucose and in turn reduced blood sugar levels in the treated rats.
4. Prevents Kidney Diseases
Kidney problems are a threat if you are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Almost half of the diseases related to kidneys are caused by diabetes. If you take okra regularly in your diet and okra water as well, it will help prevent kidney diseases.
Regularly eating okra can be helpful for preventing kidney disease. A 2005 study published in the Jilin Medical Journal found patients who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those who were on a diabetic diet. This is helpful since nearly half of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.
5. Alleviates Asthma
Consuming even small amounts of fruits or vegetables rich in vitamin C, like okra (21 milligrams per cup), can alleviate asthma symptoms. A 2000 study published in the journal Thorax found the intake of citrus or kiwi fruits conferred a highly protective effect against wheezing symptoms in childhood. The protective effect was seen even among children who ate fruit only one to two times per week. The researchers found this to be especially true among already susceptible patients.
Being rich in vitamin C it helps to eradicate respiratory or breathing problems also called asthma. It has been proved that vitamin C if taken in very little quantity, reduces a cough and wheezing in children.
6. Ladyfinger For Weight Loss/Okra For Weight Loss
Another health benefit of okra for weight loss. Okra has low-calorie content and is a good source of fiber. Fiber helps you to fill your stomach faster and creates a sense of satisfaction for longer. This helps you to weight loss.
So if you really think that you are putting on weight and you need to cut down somewhere, you can just make okra a part of your diet and keep yourself slim and fit.
7. Good Source Of Antioxidants
If you take foods rich in antioxidants, it helps prevent cancer, heart diseases, and premature aging. Okra contains a large number of antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidin, and rutin. So, it not only prevents and treats diabetes but a host of other health issues! No doubt it is called a superfood!
8. Boosts Immune System
Okra’s rich vitamin C content and antioxidant components also double as decent immune boosters against unsafe free radicals, while also supporting the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system to create more white blood cells, which can help battle other foreign pathogens and materials in the body.
9. Okra benefits Skin/Lady Finger For Skin
Lady-finger good for skin, lady finger detoxifies the skin and prevents breakouts. It also reduces pigmentation and prevents skin problems such as psoriasis. Vitamin C helps you to maintain flawless skin. The nutrients present in okra helps in skin replenishment.
Boil two chopped okra in two glasses of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes. Take the okra and make a paste of it. Apply it to your face and neck. Wash your face after 15 minutes. Repeat this for a week to get brighter and healthier skin.
10. Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
Okra’s high levels of vitamin A, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6), and vitamin C, and traces of zinc and calcium make it an ideal vegetable to eat during pregnancy. Okra also serves as a supplement for fiber and folic acid. This helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and can even stop constipation during pregnancy.
It contains high folate content which is beneficial for fetal development. It also prevents any defects in the fetal neural tube. Having okra also reduces the chances of miscarriage.
11. Okra Benefits For Men/Lady Finger For Men
Various experiments have shown that okra can help increase sexual drive in men. Having the appropriate amount of cooked or raw okra can help to increase the level of testosterone and improve sexual performance in men.
12. Helps to improve digestion
Okra contains mucilaginous fiber that helps to move food through the digestive tract as it adds bulk to the stool. This helps to prevent digestive issues like bloating, cramping, constipation and excess gas. It adds bulk to watery stools and even helps to prevent diarrhea. The fiber also helps us to regulate the absorption of sugar in our body as it clears out the excess cholesterol.
Side effects of Lady-finger
These were a few lady finger benefits. Now let us see if ladies’ finger have any side effects, after knowing all the benefits you might ask what can ladies’ finger disadvantages be or what are the disadvantages of eating ladyfinger.
Okra is safe in typical food amounts and at high doses in animals. However, it reduced sexual function in animal studies and resulted in increased body weight.
In male rats, okra increased hormones (testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone), and reduced male fertility [R]. Effects on sexual function in male animals included. Reduced testicle weight and function
- Reduced sperm count and movement.
- Men who are looking to have children should avoid okra.
- Okra may cause an allergic reaction during harvest (contact dermatitis)
Eating okra is not harmful to the body, however, excess consumption can be harmful. It is said that having too much of okra can increase the testes size and weight. Hence it is advisable for men to have less amount of okra in their diet. Overconsumption of okra can cause acidity.
In tropical countries, okra pods are one of the most widely used vegetables. They can be consumed in a variety of ways – chopped, sliced, stewed or fried. The pods of okra can be pickled and preserved. The leaves of this vegetable are also edible and they are often utilized raw in salads. When okra is boiled with water, a transparent mucilage is formed which can be used to moisturize your hair. It also helps your hair to gain bounce and shine.
How to make Bhindi Masala/ How to Cook Lady Finger
Half pound okra, 1 and half tablespoon of oil, half teaspoon cumin seed, pinch of Hing, 1 and half tablespoon of coriander powder, half teaspoon of turmeric, half teaspoon chili powder, half teaspoon salt, pepper and mango powder, 1 tablespoon of gram flour and 1 inch of red and yellow pepper finely chopped.
Cut the ends of the okra and cut it into slices. Add oil to the pan and after it’s hot add cumin seeds and Hing. Then add the okra and allow it to fry till it changes its color slightly.
Add coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and after two minutes add the salt and mango powder. Add gram flour and the red and yellow bell pepper. Stir it for some more time. Serve it with any Indian bread and enjoy.
Note- Before cooking makes sure the okras are completely dried, if not the dish might become extremely slimy.
How to make Okra Juice?
Cut 2 to 3 Okra into small pieces, add 2-3 slices of ginger, add some lemon juice, few pieces of cucumber, 1 tablespoon of honey and add water. Blend it into a juice. Serve with ice cubes and enjoy the healthy drink that will give you all the benefits of okra.
Now that you know the benefits of okra water and the way to cook it, what are you waiting for? Grab those green veggies and be healthy.
Cultivation of Okra
Okra plant is cultivated tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of the world but its origin is debatable. The Egyptians and Moors had known the use of this vegetable in the 12th and 13th century respectively. It spread to Egypt from the Arab states while it is believed to have come to Arab from Ethiopia. However, there are different voices from different parts of the world such as from South Asia, from Ethiopia and also from West Africa which all claim that this vegetable originated in their respective areas.
The pods of the okra are rich in nutrients. The okra plant is grown in the tropical and warm temperate regions all over the world due to its nutrient-rich pods. It requires a long warm growing season and it is highly sensitive to frost. A temperature of fewer than 20 degrees Celsius is harmful to the seeds. Although this plant can grow in a wide variety of soils, sandy loam and clay loam soils are best suited for its cultivation.