Okra is a favorite vegetable eaten in the South in the dish called gumbo and is frequently eaten as a favorite vegetable. You either love okra or you hate it. It may be hard, slimy, or have an unusual sour taste. Perhaps that is why it is hidden inside this aromatic dish.
Okra’s reputation is about to change. In a study from Emory University in Atlanta, researchers found that okra contains a powerful compound that shows promise in fighting cancer and heart disease. Okra has additional benefits with a variety of healthy nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. And best of all, it is very low in calories.
how it protects
The key ingredient in gumbo contains a compound that researchers say holds promise for treating cancer. This compound is known as glutathione. It attacks cancer in two ways. First, as an antioxidant, it prevents the effects of free radicals, unstable oxygen that can damage healthy cells and cause them to become cancerous. Second, glutathione prevents other cancer-causing chemical carcinogens from damaging DNA, the chemical blueprint that gives cells information about how to function. It does this by escorting the chemicals away from the cells into the urine that eventually leaves the body.
The researchers studied more than 1,800 people and found that those with the highest glutathione intake were 50 percent less likely to develop oral and throat cancer than those with low levels of the compound. Other foods that have glutathione like okra are watermelons, avocados, and grapefruit. Okra isn’t the highest source of glutathione, but it’s not the lowest either. When measured, it fell in the mid-range.
Researchers aren’t sure how much glutathione we should take in to stay healthy. But this much they know, “it’s better to have more than less. If you keep your glutathione level at a high level, you reduce your risk of serious illness,” says Dr. Lang.
An important multi-nutrient pod
Okra contains many additional nutrients. At the top of the list is vitamin C. Half a cup of cooked okra contains more than 13 milligrams, or 22 percent of the daily value (DV).
As you know, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It has been shown to help fight cancer, prevent heart disease, and even help with the common cold.
Okra also provides a good amount of magnesium. A half cup of cooked okra has about 46 milligrams, or 11 percent of the DV. This mineral can help you stave off heart disease, combat chronic fatigue syndrome, lower blood pressure, keep diabetes at bay, and slow bone loss.
Another good benefit of eating okra is that it is a high source of fiber. Whether frozen or cooked, a half-cup serving of okra has about 2 grams of fiber, or 8 percent of the DV. That’s the same amount as a half cup of raw carrots or apples.
The two types of fiber in okra help in different ways. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and helps control diabetes symptoms. Plus, it can help with weight control because it bulks up your stomach, making you feel full. Insoluble fiber (formerly called roughage) has been shown to help prevent colon cancer and digestive disorders such as constipation.
Tips On How You Can Earn With Okra
In my household we love okra. Here are some tips to master its goodness and enjoy its goodness.
cook it fast. Steaming will prevent the juices from thickening and will reduce the amount of slime.
Do not overcook the okra. When overcooked, the juices become sticky. So, cook it long enough until tender but a little al dente. Keep away from heat. Serve immediately. (If you are going to use it in a recipe, at this stage, place it in a colander and rinse it under cold water with a few ice cubes to cool it down.)
cut it. When making gumbo, soup, or stew that contains okra, trim the stems or cut the pod into pieces to thicken the dish. To reduce thickening, place the whole pod during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Buy it fresh. Old okra is tough and stringy, look for okra that has a slight shine to it and test it with your fingernails by pushing on the outside of the pod to see if it makes a dent in the outer shell. If you meet resistance when piercing the pod, it may be too tough to eat.
When to buy: Fresh okra is available in the South throughout the year. However, for the rest of the country the best time to buy it is from May to October.
Evidence-based scientific information is before you on how eating okra can affect your health in positive ways, such as helping prevent cancer, heart disease, and managing your weight. It even helps soothe the common cold as well as the other added nutrients it has. The question for you is this, would you reconsider choosing okra as one of the vegetables to add to your list? Does this information help change and clarify (in your mind) the importance of eating a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables and fruits? As you think about it, remember that we become what we eat. So let’s make our food choices count by eating a variety of healthy, natural, nutrient-dense foods to prevent disease, stay fit, and maintain lifelong good health.
For recipes on how to prepare okra, visit my website: http://www.hopenutriservices.com