Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Health Benefits of Ladies Fingers (Okra)

Whenever we go to pasars (markets) in Brunei, we'll see this large chili shaped green vegetable that has tapering ridged pods infused with double row of seeds and slimy texture when cut open.

Sometimes we eat it raw with sambal belacan - some people store it in vinegar in jars to make great pickled veggies (nyum!),

some people stuffed it with fish paste (yong tau fu)

and some stir fry it like normal veggies. It's very versatile and it's actually very good for our health! Ladies and gentleman... I give to you ... the Okra (Ladies fingers). In fact, we had a recipe for Deep Fried Okra earlier in the blog.

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.

Here are some extra nutritional benefits according to nutritionists.

• 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.

• 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.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and cook up a batch of those healthy Okras! In fact, I just stir fried some! Yum~~

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