Okra is one of the oldest foods, and according to some sources is used in the diet 3,500 years ago, especially by Egyptians which adored it. Today is used all around the world because of the unique taste, wide-mode application and because of its medical properties.
Ancient records show that the okra was cultivated in the Nile valley for centuries before Christ. Because of its aphrodisiac qualities it was a favorite food to beys, which is best evidenced by the famous bey’s soup and bairam’s okra. Abelmoschus esculentus, one of the oldest of healthy groceries, is coming back in a big way in the menus of many cuisines. However, there is still very shy talk about it, because most of the people do not even know what it looks like, what it tastes like, and what are its features. Okra, maintain normal blood cholesterol level, establish a good digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels, rejuvenates the skin and stimulates the regeneration of its tissues.
Okra’s nutritive value
Dried okra contains 70% unsaturated fatty acids and 18-27% protein. Young immature fruits in 100 g have 36 calories. Contain: 2.4% protein, 7.6% carbohydrates, 0.3% fat (unsaturated fatty acid), minerals (250 mg% kalium, 92 mg% calcium, 50 mg% of phosphorus, 3 mg% of sodium, 0,6 mg% iron, then copper, cobalt, zinc, sulfur, silicon, vanadium), vitamins (provitamin A, group of B vitamins and C), mucus, essential oils, cellulose, pectin. Young okras are dried threaded in strings that are used throughout the winter. Young fruits are used for soups, as a condiment to the food, as a supplement to stew, goulash, moussaka, than for puree, for pulp as well as combined with vegetables and meat. It can be cooked with aubergine, tomatoes, sweet corn … Despite as a addition to cooked dishes, okra is also used in a pickle. To prepare okra you can use following spices: black pepper, chili peppers fruit, hot and sweet peppers, ginger, garlic, onion, lemon juice, coriander, wine vinegar. When the pods of older fruit fully grown, they look like long green pepper similar to pepperoni. They have a skin, stubbly crust and are not suitable for consumption because they have seeds and are stiffed. So when buying okra, check its hardness by jewelry thrusting in the crust. Okra is not good neither too small nor too big. The seeds are used as a substitute for coffee, and give and cooking oil.
The healing properties of okra
This plant is in the first place rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamins from group B, (mostly B1 and B2 and B6) and folates. Also contains an impressive quantity of fiber, lots of antioxidants, such as rutin which is particularly important because its contribute to the firmness routines of small blood vessels, as well as quercetin that keeps the respiratory,because it helps to eliminate the mucus.
Young okra has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Stimulates digestion, effects on peristaltic, cleans toxic and waste products from the metabolism, strengthens the immune system, recover the lining of the digestive organs, affects on gastritis, ulcer and bowels inflammation. Okra’s tea is used against diarrhea and to decrease the blood sugar.
Matured and dried seeds, roasted or minced, can be used as an additive to coffee. They are the healthiest when are used fresh and unprocessed. People suffering from constipation should use them regularly. Okra acts as a “lubricant” in the colon. Its fibrous ingredients absorb water and when swollen, press the other intestinal contents. Also ejects excess fat (cholesterol) from the body. The fruit of fresh okra has only about 30 calories and is excellent for children. They are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, iron, kalium and magnesium, and contains a lot of dietary fiber.
Because it is very rich in minerals and vitamins that are essential to the overall health of the organism, okra can fight certain diseases and prevent its occurrence. Here are some usages of the okra:
- For a safe and healthy pregnancy – Vitamin B which is responsible for the production of new cells and folate is very important for a healthy pregnancy. This vitamin prevents birth defects in babies and helps the fetus growth and develop. Despite the folate, great importance and vitamin C, by which okra is very rich
- For the prevention of diabetes – Thanks to the fiber and other nutrients, okra is very effective considering the normalization of blood sugar level, and helps the reduction of the symptoms of diabetes.
- It promotes the health of the kidneys – Official studies have confirmed that regular consumption of okra reduces the risk of kidney disease, especially those caused by diabetes.
- It promotes the health of the colon – Okra is rich with dietary fibers that are important for the health of the colon and the whole digestive tract. Vitamin A contributes to the health of the lining and allows the digestive tract to function normally.
- Can help with respiratory problems such as asthma – Okra contains vitamin C, which help in respiratory diseases such as asthma is proven. One study has shown that regular consumption of food rich in vitamin C, even in small quantities leads to a reduction in asthma symptoms in children.
- For healthy skin – Vitamin C affects the health and youthful appearance of the skin, stimulates the growth and regeneration of tissue which affects the enhanced production of collagen. You can make a great facial mask from okra by cooking it in water until tender in full, then mash and apply to the face. After five minutes rinse your face and the results will be visible immediately.
Preparation okra in cooking
Okra can be eaten raw, can be cooked as roasted or steamed, and is commonly used is in the preparation of stews, broths and soups. If it is used in dried form it will require longer thermal treatment.
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