Ladies Fingers; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Ladies Fingers








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Ladies Fingers is a flowering plant that is known in many parts of the world as ladies’ fingers or bhindi and is most highly prized because of its seed pods. [1] The scientific name of this interesting plant is Abelmoschus esculentus and its origin is still unclear. [2] Contrasting research says that it could have been South Asian, West African, or Ethiopian in origin, but the jury is still out.

Nutritional Value of Okra, Ladies Fingers

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 138 kJ (33 kcal)
Carbohydrates
7.45 g
Sugars 1.48 g
Dietary fiber 3.2 g
Fat
0.19 g
Protein
1.9 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
5%

36 μg

Thiamine (B1)
17%

0.2 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
5%

0.06 mg

Niacin (B3)
7%

1 mg

Folate (B9)
15%

60 μg

Vitamin C
28%

23 mg

Vitamin E
2%

0.27 mg

Vitamin K
30%

31.3 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
8%

82 mg

Iron
5%

0.62 mg

Magnesium
16%

57 mg

Phosphorus
9%

61 mg

Potassium
6%

299 mg

Zinc
6%

0.58 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 89.6 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Health Benefits of Ladies Fingers

Let us discuss the various health benefits of okra in detail below.

  • Good for Diabetes – Diabetes which is also called Blood Sugar or Diabetes Mellitus; is a disease in which the sugar level in the blood rises. Ladyfinger or Okra is a very effective remedy for this. Firstly, Okra being rich in fibers helps to normalize the blood sugar; it absorbs the excess sugar from the blood and balances the level. THere is a remedy which you can apply in case of diabetes which is given as follows.
  • Boosts Immunity – The various antioxidant components of okra make it very beneficial to fight off free radicals and the high vitamin C content also means that the body’s immunity is boosted. This vitamin can stimulate the immune system to create white blood cells, which can combat foreign pathogens and materials in the body that can weaken the immune system.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure – Okra is a good source of both vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which is an essential aspect of human health. Potassium is necessary to maintain proper fluid balance in the body because it balances sodium. Furthermore, potassium helps relax the blood vessels and arteries, which reduces blood pressure and lessens the strain on the cardiovascular system. [4]This means that the chances of clotting and atherosclerosis will be greatly reduced.
  • Good for Intestinal disorders – Most of the diseases occurs from the stomach and intestines. Many are even such which are really incurable. One should include Okras in their daily diet. It is like a nectar for them. Okras acts as a detoxifying agent. It binds up the cholesterol and other disorders which helps to keep our intestines safe.  The sticky thing present in Okras lubricates your intestines and keeps it safe and protected from infectious agents. It balances the pH level and also keeps away disorders like constipation, acidity, heart burning and many more.
  • Friendly for Good Bacteria – As we know, there are two types of bacteria present in the body; one results in good consequences whereas the other one is simply the harmful one. Okra is like the friend for good ones. It strengthens the number of good bacteria thus strengthens our immune system. It is very good for a build-up immunity thus it keeps your body safer from all kinds of hazards and ailments.
  • Good for Urinary tract – Many of us suffers from ailments and infections related to excretory system or urinary tract. One of the most common is burning sensation while urination. Many of us think about it as the normal one, but sometimes it can be the symptom of some fatal disease. To cure the burning sensation, one must opt for Okras. It avails frequent urination which simultaneously aids in this very problem. One suffering from this should avoid spicy and heavy foods.
  • Improves Digestion – Perhaps, the best part of adding okra to your diet is the significant increase it can have on your total fiber intake. [5] Mucilaginous fiber found in it can help move food through your digestive tract by adding bulk. Due to its soluble fiber content, okra helps accelerate the digestive system, improves blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart diseases. It is extremely good for the digestive system. This means that bowel movements are more regular and there is a reduction in gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, cramping, constipation, and excess gas. Oddly, it also helps prevent diarrhea, because it adds bulk to watery stools. Further, its fiber content can help clear out excess cholesterol in the body and controls the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the body.
  • Improves Vision – Okra contains a very high content of vitamin A, as well as antioxidant components like beta carotenes, xanthein, and lutein. [6]Antioxidants are powerful compounds that destroy or neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. Free radicals are responsible for cell degradation in the body, including those responsible for vision. By increasing the intake of this wonderful vegetable in your diet, you can protect your eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Skin Care – Vitamin A antioxidants are also able to protect skin health, by promoting quicker healing, reducing the appearance of scars and acne, and eliminating wrinkles. [7] This is because the antioxidants are able to neutralize the free radicals which may have damaged those skin cells.
  • Good Folate Content – The folates present in okra reduce the neural tube defects in a newborn baby. So, it is highly recommended for women during the preconception period or pregnancy.
  • Vitamin K Benefits – Vitamin K is a co-factor in the blood-clotting process. It also plays a major role in strengthening the bones in our body.
  • Controls Asthma – Asthma can also be treated by including okra/ lady’s fingers in your meals. People diagnosed with asthma are strongly suggested to consume okra.
  • Prevents Constipation – By facilitating the proper absorption of water, okra/ lady’s finger vegetable ensures free motion disposal by the body and, hence, prevents constipation.
  • Prevents Colon Cancer – It is believed that all diseases begin in the colon. Adding okra to your meals ensures the prevention of colon cancer and other related diseases to a great extent.
  • Controls Obesity – With the regular usage of okra, in either the raw or the cooked form, you can avoid obesity to a great extent. Obesity is not necessarily due to the consumption of fatty and calorific foods but also due to the lack of nutrients.
  • Controls Cholesterol Level – This vegetable ensures the lesser absorption of cholesterol, preventing heart diseases and ailments occurring due to cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a dominant factor in the body that triggers obesity and heart diseases.
  • Low GI (Glycemic Index) Food – If you are diabetic, your health practitioner will advise you to eat food with low GI value. Okra is one of the foods that come with a GI index of 20 and as per medical standards, the GI value of okra is considered to be very low.
  • 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.
  • 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 super food!
  • Dietary Fiber For Healthy Skin  – Okra is a rich source of dietary fiber. It also keeps the digestion problems away. Proper digestion reflects through a healthy-looking skin.
  • Vitamin C For Younger Skin – Vitamin C found in okra helps maintain a younger looking skin. It aids in repairing the body tissues. This, in turn, helps keep your skin younger and also makes it look more vibrant.
  • Prevents Skin Pigmentation – The nutrients found in okra actually help prevent skin pigmentation. It is useful for rejuvenating your skin and repairing damages.
  • Bouncy Hair – If you are tired of your distressed hair, try using okra to get that bounce back. Boil okra with some water and the transparent mucilage that you get can be used to get your bouncy hair back.
  • Hair Conditioner – The same mucilage can be used as a hair conditioner. Wash your hair and squeeze out the excess water. Massage the watery mucilage through your hair and rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Scalp Moisturiser – Okra is an excellent moisturizer for your dry and itchy scalp. It leaves your hair feeling soft and isn’t harmful like the other cosmetics available in the market. It is great for people with unruly, curly and lifeless hair.
  • Fights Dandruff – Okra improves the overall scalp condition and fights dandruff. It moisturizes your scalp and keeps dandruff away.
  • Shiny Hair – Okra, when used as a hair rinse, gives the great shine to your hair. You can give your regular conditioner a miss once in a while and take care of your hair the natural way.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okra
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926669097000563
  3. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11278?
  4. http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/92077
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24847548

Ladies Fingers

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