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Facts about Okra – Nutritional Benefits of Bhindi

by dassana amit updated August 5, 2013

Nutritional Benefits of Okra

I googled and found some interesting facts about Okra. Although some of it I already knew, but was worth reading the other unknown facts that I did not know. I hope this is of interest to you.

Okra is a plant that produces an edible pod that is eaten as a vegetable. Okra also known as bhindi, bendi, lady’s finger, gumbo is a member of the cotton – mallow family (Malvaceae). These are a group of plants that exude a gelatinous substance when sliced. This substance is called mucilage.It is the mucilage which contributes to the slime factor in okra.

What is this mucilage in Okra:

Mucilages are not pathological products. They are formed in normal plant growth within the plant by mucilage-secreting hairs, sacs, and canals; However, they are not found on the surface as exudates as a result of bacterial or fungal action after mechanical injury, as are gums. Mucilages occur in nearly all classes of plants in various parts of the plant, usually in relatively small percentages, and are not infrequently associated with other substances, such as tannins. The most common sources are the root, bark, and seed, but they are also found in the flower, leaf, and cell wall. Any biological functions within the plant are unknown, but they may be considered to aid in water storage, decrease diffusion in aquatic plants, aid in seed dispersal and germination, and act as a membrane thickener and food reserve.

How to minimize the sliminess in Okra while cooking:

Basically, its the interaction with liquid that makes the stuff inside turn slimy, so the trick is to minimize the okras contact with water and other liquids. There are a couple of ways to do this.

  • Wash and wipe dry the okras thoroughly before slicing it.
  • You can also team or blanch the okras for 3-4 minutes and drain and dry the okra thoroughly before slicing it. After slicing the okras don’t add it to the dish until the very end, so as to minimize moisture contact. For example, you could stew some tomatoes, onion and eggplant until done and then add the blanched, dried and sliced okra just before serving.
  • Another way is to saute or shallow fry it, which sort of cauterizes the okra. This is the method used in Indian dishes. Wash the okra, dry thoroughly and then slice and fry in a small amount of very hot oil. Remove it from the oil and set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish. Add the okra to the recipe at the very end.
  • Don’t cut the okras in very small pieces.
  • Use of sour ingredients cuts down the slime. In India, sour ingredients like tamarind paste, dried mango powder, curds, lemon juice, kokum(a fruit found in India) are used.

Health and Nutritional Benefits of Okra:

Okra contains a unique combination of valuable nutrients. It’s high in vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, and folic acid, which helps prevent neural tube defects in developing fetuses. A serving of okra contains only 25 calories. So if it’s prepared in a low-fat recipe, it’s an incredibly healthy addition to any meal.

A half-cup cooked okra contains:

* Calories = 25
* Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
* Protein = 1.5 grams
* Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
* Vitamin A = 460 IU
* Vitamin C = 13.04 mg
* Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
* Calcium = 50.4 mg
* Iron = 0.4 mg
* Potassium = 256.6 mg
* Magnesium = 46 mg

The also other many benefits of this versatile vegetable on our health. They are well worth reading.

1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.

2. Okra’s mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.

3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent and improve constipation. Fiber in general is helpful for this but okra is one of the best, along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor. In other words, the incredibly valuable okra not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems if not evacuated, but also assures easy passage out of the body of same.

4: Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it), has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most unlike some prescription and over-the-counter drugs for this.

5: Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.

6: To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw. However, if one is going to fry it only extra virgin olive oil, or unrefined coconut butter is recommended. Organic ghee used by gourmet chefs, has the oil and flavor of butter without the solids, is also excellent for frying okra (does not burn like butter), and may be obtained from the health food store.

7: Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.

8: 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.

9: Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.

10: Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.

11: Okra is good for summer heat treatment.

12: Okra is good for constipation.

13: Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.

14: Okra is good for asthma. Okra’s vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.

15:Okra is good for atherosclerosis.

16:Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.

17: Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.

18: Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.

19:Okra is good for preventing diabetes.

20: Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.

So the next time when you make okra, you very well know its health and nutritional benefits.

In case, you are looking for bhindi recipes then do check bhindi bhajibhindi do pyazabharwan bhindialoo bhindi recipebhindi masala and kurkuri bhindi recipe.


Leave a Comment

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

fatma March 21, 2014 1

hi dassana,thank u so much for this valuable info.okra is very cheap here.will include in my diet.

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dassana amit March 21, 2014 2

welcome fatma

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faseyitan Funmi March 16, 2014 3

Is good to knw the work of okra

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Mary Ann Petersen March 5, 2014 4

I am diabetic and want to try okra..do i leave the water in the fridge overnight if i soak it or room temperature

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dassana amit March 6, 2014 5

some readers have mentioned that they keep the water at room temperature.

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Samuel October 17, 2013 6

In my country, Zambia, soda is added to okra. Some say that this has effects like the protein in soda being destroyed. But still that just how okra is prepared in Zambia; soda is added. What I want to know is if their are complications resulting form doing that.

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dassana October 17, 2013 7

when baking soda is added to any green vegetables, it depletes some of its nutrients. so the dish looses some nutrients. hence in indian cooking, we generally don’t add baking soda in a vegetable dish. but some cooks do add to preserve the green color. baking soda does preserve the green color in vegetables but the nutrient density is lost.

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shann October 3, 2013 8

okra benefit for blood pressure, swear back pain .

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ADOM GH August 28, 2013 9

WOOW I NEVER KNEW THESE

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Bhupen patel August 17, 2013 10

Thank for the tips about advantage of okra. I am a diabetic, I have been eating raw okra every day. I dip 3 okra in a luke warm water over night and first thing in the morning i drink the water and then eat the okra. I would say i feel much better as my bowels have improved a lot.

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dassana August 17, 2013 11

thanks bhupen for sharing your tip about okra. it will help other readers too.

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K.VIMALAMUTHURAJ July 12, 2013 12

beautiful tips.

peoples do no much about internet usage in good things.

please see good things and avoid bad things.

use net for developement and sharing good things like this.

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dassana July 13, 2013 13

thanks K.VIMALAMUTHURAJ
i agree. whatever we share increases. so better to share good things.

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joel ebo tawiah July 7, 2013 14

What is the difference between okra and okro?

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dassana July 11, 2013 15

okro or okra is one and the same. thats what i found out after checking on the web.

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shabina June 26, 2013 16

Take two pieces of Lady’s Finger (Okra) or known as Bhindi in South Asia and remove/cut both ends of each piece. Also put a small cut in the middle and put these two pieces in glass of water. Cover the glass and keep it at room temperature during night. Early morning, before breakfast simply remove two pieces of Lady’s Finger (Okra) from the glass and drink that water.

Keep doing it on daily basis. Within two weeks, you will see remarkable results in reduction of your SUGAR.

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dassana June 26, 2013 17

thanks shabina for this info. this is helpful for the readers who have asked me queries regarding the same. i shall also pass it on my family members, some of who are diabetics.

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sunny June 12, 2013 18

Thanks for the information about okra.please how can one use it for diabetes?.

Also I want to know if okra is good for some one who just suffer from stroke;please reply me via my e-mail

Thanks ,SUNNY

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dassana June 14, 2013 19

sunny, i am not an ayurveda expert so cannot comment on this. may be you should check in google.

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Ed Gardiner May 1, 2013 20

I am drinking Okra juice in the morning to help my blood sugar,I am wondering if I could let it sit all day & drink it at night.Would the juice work as it does drinking it first thing in the morning.

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dassana May 1, 2013 21

if you allow it to sit all day, there would be fermentation in it. not sure whether it would be good or not good for health.

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Ed Gardiner May 3, 2013 22

Just wondering if I prepare the Okra at night & leave it until morning as I was told to do would there be fermentation ? If it is safe to leave for 8 hours at night would it not be safe to leave during the day. Thank you for your reply

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dassana May 4, 2013 23

i would not suggest you to leave the okra preparation whether day or night. if you keep at room temperature, fermentation would happen, but the okra will also get spoiled.

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Shabbir April 25, 2013 24

Hi, Dassana
It’s very important information for me, m very thankful to you for this kind efforts.

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Janet Saldanha February 2, 2012 25

Hi Dasana,

This was really interesting… now i will make sure that me and my family eats Okra once a week…

Also pls do share such interesting about vegggies in short

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dassana February 2, 2012 26

yes janet, to share nutritional info about veggies, herbs, nuts, seeds and spices was something i wanted to do when i started this website. but just could not do this…. i plan to write about the nutritional info soon.

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subrata paul August 24, 2013 27

Hi, Dasana,
My aunty suffering from high cholestrol & rheumatoid arthrities being a long period, is okra/ lady fingers water is helpful for high cholestrol & rheumatoid arthrities patient.

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dassana August 24, 2013 28

thanks for the info.

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