Fruit Of The Week: Okraby Sherese Ijewere on May 16, 2012
Nutrition Question: Is Okra a fruit or vegetable? The definition of a fruit is anything containing seeds. Okra has seeds and is therefore a fruit.
Okra is the fruit of a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same family as the hibiscus and cotton plants. It is green and pod-shaped. Okra is often used in cooking. When cut, okra releases a sticky substance with thickening properties, useful for soups and stews. Gumbos, Brunswick stew, and pilaus are some well-known dishes, which commonly use okra. Okra is often served in salads, stews, breaded and fried, or raw.
Okra is great for cooking and also possesses important nutritional value. It contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber and is a good source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and magnesium. Okra has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and homocysteine-lowering abilities, and has also been used for asthma, bruising, and cataracts. Okra enhances the immune system.
Health Benefits of Okra
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 fruit for weight loss and is storehouse of health benefits provided it is cooked over low flame to retain its properties. Also, this ensures 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 proliferated by yoghurt in the small intestine and helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex.
- It is also 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, the likes of tryptophan, cystine and other sulfur amino acids
- The fiber in Okra is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
- It is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
- Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
- It treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
- It is good for summer heat treatment.
- The fruit is good for constipation.
- It is very effective in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
- Okra is good for asthma. Its vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
- Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
- It is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
- Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
- Some information shows that eating the fruit lowers the risk of cataracts.
- Great for preventing diabetes.
- It protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.
- For adding bounce to your hair. Boil horizontally sliced okra till the brew become maximally slimy. Cool it and add a few drops of lemon and use this as the last rinse and see your hair spring back to youthfulness and jump.
With this important information please not only read it, but also make use of it. Okra is year round in Nigeria. I advise you have it at least three times a week in your meals.