Okra, also known as “lady’s finger” or “bamya,” is a perennial flowering plant of the Malvaceae family. This popular and very nutritional veggie originated in Egypt, and has been cultivated in tropical or warm temperature regions of the world ever since the 12th century. Just short of reaching maturity, the dark green colored pods are handpicked for consumption.
Although okra has demonstrated surprising health benefits and can be cooked in a variety of ways, some people find it difficult to cope with its “slimy” texture and prefer to avoid it altogether. If this is true in your case, preparing and drinking your own okra water will deliver the same results in a tastier fashion.
The many health benefits of okra
The nutritional profile of the okra veggie is quite impressive. For every 100 grams of okra you eat, your body receives only 30 calories, but 21mg of Vitamin C, 3g of dietary fiber, 7.6g of carbohydrates, 2g of protein, as well as decent amounts of folate and magnesium. As one of the very low calorie vegetables, okra is not only extremely nutritious, but also friendly for a slim figure.
The health benefits of okra are just as impressive. For instance, this green veggie showed promising results in treating and preventing kidney disease, while its rich antioxidant nature is known to protect against liver disease and damage. Okra has also been found to be a great blood glucose-lowering food that offers protection against diabetes. While preliminary lab tests indicate that a new type of lectin found in okra can kill off human breast cancer cells, other studies demonstrate that it can also fight depression and act as a strong agent for elevating mood. It even helps with some asthma symptoms.
Convinced? Great! Here’s how you can give it a try at home.
You can easily do it yourself!
Whether you own an outdoor garden or have a few spare pots in the house, you can easily grow your own healthy okra. Three or four weeks before the last spring frost date, it’s time to start your okra seeds indoors. Make sure the soil is well-drained and the pot receives sufficient sunlight, because okra absolutely loves warm weather. When the soil outside is warm enough, feel free to move your okra plants to the garden. Soon enough, you’ll admire the beautiful white and yellow flowers and, after only two months from planting, the first harvest will be ready.
If you store your okra pods in the freezer, you’ll be able to enjoy them all year long. Don’t feel like cooking your okra or simply don’t like the taste? Make your own super healthy okra water. You’ll need two fresh okras that you can prepare by cutting off the heads and tails. Then, chop them into even pieces and put two to three pieces in a glass of water. Set the glass aside overnight and drink up in the morning, half an hour before breakfast.