Saturday, May 6, 2017

POWERFUL OKRA: 9 HEALTH BENEFITS AND HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN

Okra is a rich shuck, which is rich in fiber that is essential for maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood. It is believed that it possesses a lot of healthy benefits. It contains minerals and vitamins, especially B vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B1, B2 and B6. Okra contains polysaccharides that improve the blood circulation. It is full with antioxidants, and the most important among the antioxidants is the routine. It provides hardness of the small blood vessels. Beside the health benefits, the okra is great for preparing various sauces and meals.

9 Healthy benefits of eating okra:

1. It has low level of calories- okra contains only 30 calories in 100 grams and it is often recommended to be part of a weight loss program.

2. Do not contain saturated fat and cholesterol

3. Can help in the process of stabilization of the blood sugar by slowing its absorption by the intestine.

4. It contains a lot of fiber and acts as a natural laxative that can help you to free from the hard stool. Okra is rich in the substance mucilage, which is thick, sticky substance that lubricates the colon and helps in elimination. The fiber in the okra feeds the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and also helps to maintain the pH balance.

5. It is rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants including beta – carotene, which help in maintaining the skin fresh and healthy. Okra is associated with the prevention of cataracts and is used for preventing acne.

6. Because it is rich in antioxidants and fiber, the okra is used for the prevention of cancer.

7. It contains vitamin which helps the immunity of the body. It is connected with the prevention of the cough and cold. Vitamin C has anti- inflammatory capacity; the okra can be used to reduce the symptoms of asthma.

8. It is rich in folate. Folate is important in the period before pregnancy and during early pregnancy. It also helps in the cleansing lungs.

9. It contains vitamin K that is important for bone health and also plays a key role in blood clotting.

The nutritional value from okra varies based on whether it’s consumed in grams, pounds, etc., but the basic substances in this vegetable remain the same. Some of the well-known components are: vitamins, minerals, but there are other nutrients found in okra that deserve some spotlight. Each figure is based on 1 cup (100g) of okra.

Fiber – 2.5 grams (recommended daily value)
Vitamin C – 16.3 milligrams
Folate – 46 micrograms
Vitamin A – 283 international units
Vitamin K – 40 micrograms. The vitamin K found in okra is known as vitamin K1, one of two beneficial forms. The other beneficial form is K2; K3 is synthetic and should be avoided.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 0.9 mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) – 0.1 mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg
Magnesium – 36 mg
Manganese – 0.3 mg
Beta carotene – 225 mcg
Lutein, Zeaxanthin – 516 mcg
Check out the USDA Nutrient Database for a full nutritional profile of okra.

GROWING OKRA

Okra is a flowering plant, member of the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of West African, Ethiopian, and South Asian origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. The plant itself is coarse, tall (3 to 6 feet or more in height), and grows in warm seasons, throughout the year in areas that are more topical. The pods produced by okra are used primarily for soups, stews, and are fried or boiled as a vegetable.

Are interested in growing okra yourself and experiencing its health benefits? Follow the steps below:

Step #1: Begin by planting seeds about 3-4 weeks after the last frost of the season. Plant 3-4 seeds together about 0.5-1 inch deep and separate each planting by about 6 inches. Make sure you separate each row of plants by about 2 feet if you plan on growing a large amount.
Step #2: After you do the planting, pour gently some water on each area. Don’t water to the point of puddles forming.
Step #3: As the plants break the surface, thin them out and space them about a foot apart as they will widen quite a bit as they mature.
Step #4: Once the seed grow to 3-4 inches in length, you can start collecting them.
Step #5: Okra requires well-drained and fertilized soil (or at least with this kind of soil you will get best results). It will take 45-60 days to get harvestable fruits.

COOKING AND PREPARING OKRA

Okra is mostly known as the main ingredient of Gumbo, a culinary dish, but it is used in various other recipes. Okra pods can be eaten raw, steamed, cooked, or fried. Okras’ pods can be used for stew and soups, as well.
Here are some preparation ideas and serving tips:

– It is important to thoroughly wash and wipe okras before slicing and preparing because nowadays they are sprayed with pesticides and insecticides. You can exclude this issue if you buy organic products.
– Using a paring knife, trim the top stem end then cut or slice the pod as you want.
– Chop or slice pods for stewing or frying under low heat oil to soften mucilaginous content.
– You can pickle and preserve pods if you want.
– Okra leaves may be cooked or eaten raw in salads.
– You can team or blanch okras for 3-4 minutes, then drain and dry before slicing it. Add the okra to the dish at the end to minimize moisture contact.
– You can also shallow dry okra (this is a method used for many Indian dishes).

We encourage you to experience okra health benefits today!

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