We are continuing this week with another of the common vegetables that are easily available to us here in Kuwait. The vegetable that we are going to talk about this week is the okra. Where I’m from, we don’t even have okra (upstate NY, USA).
This is a vegetable that is eaten more in the south where it was initially introduced. In fact, I had never eaten okra until I came to Kuwait. The fact is that okra is a delicious vegetable. Here in Kuwait people use it particularly in a wonderful curry-like dish called “marag bamia” which is made with okra and meat in a tomato based sauce for eating over rice. It is also fried or sautÈed in other dishes and is found both fresh and frozen.
Okra is called “bamia” in Arabic, and some people call it “ladies’ fingers” in other places. In fact, okra actually comes from this part of the word and nearby and was taken to the Americas and other places later.
Okra being quite a slimy vegetable doesn’t appeal to the tastes of everyone. There are some people who can’t stand the sight of okra. Yet others adore it. But, if we are going to work on a purely medicinal point of view, okra is going to be a vegetable that you don’t want to pass up. In fact, some of the benefits of okra come from its sliminess.
Okra is a mucilaginous vegetable (meaning slimy) which makes it extremely good for the digestive system, and in fact, all the mucous membranous tissue it comes into contact with. So, just the act of eating okra is going to be helpful to your body, without even trying.
People who suffer from a variety of digestive problems, including some diseases that are serious (such as colitis, diverticulitis, and more), and other diseases that are extremely uncomfortable but not as dangerous (which as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, etc) will benefit from eating okra. (Just make a note of the fact that eating okra raw is the best way to have it, or having it cooked very slightly (not the way that many people around here do it, cooked to death in curries).
Scientific research on the benefits of certain vegetables has been ongoing, and researchers are discovering many very interesting things. Okra has been one of the vegetables that have been included in a number of studies, with some absolutely incredible results.
Apparently eating okra on a daily basis is good for you if you are suffering from diabetes. There are properties in okra that actually help your body to metabolize glucose, thus making you less dependent on insulin substitute medications. In fact there are many people who have documented complete cure from diabetes with the use of okra! One of the ways that it is recommended to take okra for the purpose of helping diabetes is to soak 2 medium sized raw pieces of okra in a glass of water overnight.
First you cut off the two ends, and slice the okra down the middle, then just keep in the room temperature water until morning (making sure that it stays covered), when you will remove the okra and drink the water. Just wait for around 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else, preferably. Do this daily, and, according to the proponents of this “cure” your diabetes will soon be much better, if not completely cured.
Okra is a very detoxifying vegetable. This is partly due to the extremely mucilaginous nature of okra. Okra helps the liver to do its job. This is beneficial to people suffering from a number of diseases, and in fact, okra is so detoxifying that some people call it “natural kidney dialysis”. It actually helps to reduce the poisons in the blood.
Research has found that okra has many important health benefits, such as its ability to help reduce cholesterol in the body (particularly the “bad” kind), its heart disease reducing qualities, and even cancer prevention qualities!
Also, as a vegetable, okra is loaded with tons of natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Okra has tons of two types of fiber that are very important to our health: soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are needed by all human bodies. In fact, okra has one of the highest rates of these types of fiber of all vegetables — 2 + grams of fiber in each serving.
That is a huge amount. Pectin is probably one of the most important of these. (There are people who go to the pharmacy and buy pectin in capsules to take on a daily basis to help with their health or to lose weight). Okra is loaded with: protein, Vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and a lot more. Okra has important antioxidant constituents (which is one of the reasons for its cancer reducing abilities). Okra is also great for people on restricted diets, since it has hardly any calories, and hardly any carbohydrates (meaning the bad ones). Rather than buy artificial forms of these things (or even naturally based ones), eat okra! Not only are you getting all the health benefits mentioned above, but there are certain to be a lot more that haven’t even been discovered yet.
Don’t miss out on a great way to get healthier through a common vegetable. Okra is inexpensive and easy to prepare. Go for it!
And for more cool okra stuff… maybe you would like okra chips!!!! They look really interesting to me!