Most of the people who do not like okra have reached the conclusion after two probable encounters.
Either they have never tried okra or they have tried cooking it, the end result turned out to be horrible enough to repulse them for a long time.
Wonders Of Okra; More Than One Reason To Love The Humble Vegetable
However, it is better not to send okra to exile yet, as it can offer some health benefits if given a chance.
Knowing more about the humble ingredient:
This vegetable is the seed pod belonging to the okra plant and is native to Africa.
It first reached South Asia and the Middle East via the trade routes, courtesy of the tradesmen, from where it might have landed to the US by virtue of the enslaved population.
The presence of okra across all cuisines, be it the tempura in Japanese food or in Gumbo, in the southern US, can be attributed to its migratory history.
Okra has a subtle and grassy taste that resembles that of asparagus and green beans to a large extent.
The neutrality in its flavor makes it a suitable candidate to add any other ingredient to it and transform it according to one’s liking.
Okra is high in fiber:
Okra does not contain any fat, and cholesterol, rather one cup of Okra provides 3 gm of fiber approximately.
Such a level of fiber is more than what is present in an equal amount of brown rice and cauliflower.
One serving of okra can render 3 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 4 grams of sugar.
Okra also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and folate and it is low in carbohydrate content.
Some other benefits of okra:
Okra helps in maintaining brain and heart health. Polyphenols resent in okra reduce the chance of heart diseases and stroke by minimizing the probability of blood clot formation.
The antioxidants present in okra help in maintaining brain health by reducing free radical damage and inflammation.
Some old studies show that it can help in managing blood sugar thus having some beneficial impact on diabetes.
This is caused as okra can prevent the absorption of sugar in the blood during digestion, however, those with type II diabetes should be cautious before adding high amounts of okra to their diet.
A high amount of okra in the diet can interfere with metformin activity, a drug used to treat type II diabetes.
The presence of Vitamin A, C, and antioxidants provide protection against health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Okra can make up for the 15% of daily folate intake, that is suggested for pregnant women.
Folate can cut down the probability of neural tube defect, which affects the brain and the spinal cord of the growing fetus.
It is more convenient when cooked whole:
The slime factor of okra, no matter how repulsive, can be managed by cooking the vegetable whole.
On being cut, it releases a sugar protein compound called the mucilage that can thicken when exposed to heat. This mucilage is extremely beneficial for the reduction of cholesterol in the blood.
During digestion, it binds with the cholesterol molecule and excretes them with bowel movement.
The mucilage is kept inside the vegetable when it is cooked whole thus preventing the slime factor from emerging while maintaining its nutritional value.
The Vitamin C present in okra helps in enhancing the immune system while the presence of Vitamin K ensures that the blood clotting mechanism in the body is properly maintained.
One more way to deal with the gooey interior:
It is not always necessary to cook them whole, once someone masters the art of cooking them, they can be cut and cooked.
For that, it has to be ensured that the okra is dry as any moisture and water increases the slime factor.