Okra is a very popular warm-season vegetable around the world. It is also referred to as ladies’ finger and sometimes is called gumbo by some people. It contains a sticky juice that many people use to thicken sauces. Okra is a very good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers. This crop has a mild taste and a unique texture, with a peach-like fuzz on the outside. The pod contains small, edible seeds.
Okra is a very useful vegetable due to its high nutritional value, and it has become an essential crop in many countries as many of the parts of the plant are useful, including the fresh leaves, buds, flowers, pod, stems, and seeds. It can be eaten fried, cooked, raw, or however, you most enjoy your vegetable. It is also very popular in the Southern United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.
Is Okra Keto?
Okra is a great example of a low-carb non-starchy vegetable, which makes it ideal to be added to your ketogenic diet and it also goes well with just about anything you deserve to serve it with, depending on your preparation. There are several ways to incorporate okra into your ketogenic diet to enhance your fiber and nutrient intake without getting kicked out of ketosis. It is full of vitamins and minerals which makes it great for keeping deficiencies away. And it also has a high water content to help you stay hydrated. It also is a good source of electrolytes to help you out of the keto flu.
Furthermore, okra contains phytonutrients and antioxidants that you need to stay healthy while in ketosis by combating free radical damage and reducing inflammation.
Forms Of Okra
- Wet okra: these are the fresh okra that releases a slimy juice that increases the thickness of soups and stews when it is cut and cooked.
- Dried okra: dried okra can also thicken a sauce, some people use it as an egg white substitute.
- Okra seeds: you can roast and grind the seed inside of dried okra to make a non-caffeinated coffee substitute.
Nutritional Contents Of Okra
One cup of okra weighing 100 grams contains the following nutrient:
- 33 calories
- 1.9 g of protein
- 0.2 g of fat
- 7.5 g of carbohydrates
- 3.2 g of fiber
- 1.5 g of sugar
- 31.3 milligrams (mg) of vitamin K
- 299 mg of potassium
- 7 mg of sodium
- 25 mg of vitamin C
- 0.2 mg of thiamin
- 57 mg of magnesium
- 82 mg of calcium
- 0.215 mg of Vitamin B6
- 60 micrograms (mcg) of folate
- 36 mcg of vitamin A
Okra also provides some amount of iron, niacin, phosphorus, and calcium.
Health Benefits Of Okra
- Treatment of chronic diseases: Okro is obviously a green vegetable, this is because of the presence of Chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives green vegetables their colour, and okra contains a good amount of it. This Chlorophyll has been shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to prevent or treat chronic diseases.
- Protects the Liver: Research has also that Okra contains hepatoprotective activity, which helps to keep the liver healthy.
- Treats digestive ailment and improves overall health: Dietary fiber helps prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. The high fiber content of okra and mucilage content makes it available to be used to treat digestive ailments and can also be used to keep your sugar level stable, as fiber slows down the color clottinglation of glucose in the intestine. It also keeps you feeling full for longer so you eat fewer calories and lose weight as a result. This fiber present in okra also improves the overall health of your gut bacteria, which houses almost all your entire immune system and controls the production and secretion of several neurotransmitters, such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. In Asian medicine, people add okra extract to foods to protect against irritation and inflammatory diseases.
- Helps promote a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding: The presence of a high level of folate in okra has been established to help prevent birth defects and congenital heart defects. Low folate can lead to pregnancy loss and other problems for the child, including conditions such as spina bifida.
- Helps with bone health and Osteoporosis: The high level of calcium can help you improve bone mineral density. especially when coupled with vitamin D, which can actually be found in lots of ketogenic food like egg yolks. Vitamin K also plays a role in bone formation and blood clothing and consuming foods that are good sources of vitamin K may help strengthen bones and prevent fractures. Asides Okra, Swiss chard, arugula, and spinach are also excellent sources of Vitamin K and Calcium.
- It improves heart health: American Heart Association established that eating food that is high in fiber can reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the blood. High fiber foods lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Fiber can also slow heart disease in people who already have it.
- It may lower blood sugar: Okra and its extract may help in the management and treatment of diabetes. Study shows that compounds found in nokra may help lower body weight, blood sugar levels, and total cholesterol levels.
- Improve vision and promote skin health: In addition to keeping you healthy throughout the flu season, the antioxidants in okra can help improve your vision and even keep your skin healthy. This is because antioxidants heal the body from the inside out. They even protect against overexposure to the sun, which contributes to skin aging and wrinkles.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease prevention: Research has also shown that the high antioxidant content found in okra can help protect the brain by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s diseases and other neurodegenerative diseases that are related to oxidative stress.
- Boosting of energy: Okra has been proven to contain anti-fatigue properties. and this has been traced to its antioxidant flavonoid and polyphenol content. It can give you a boost when you need a little energy. Adding it to your diet several times a week can help propel you through your long days. Research shows that okra’s mechanism of anti-fatigue action includes reducing the levels of blood lactic acid and urea nitrogen, increasing superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase levels, enhancing hepatic glycogen storage, and promoting antioxidant capabilities by lowering malondialdehyde levels.
Buying And Using Okra
Okra is a very popular vegetable that can easily be found in abundance at the local market, especially during this season. You can also buy okra at any major grocery store.
Okra can be added to Salad, soups, and stews. It can be eaten fresh or dried, pickled, fried, sauteed, roasted, or boiled. For people who do not enjoy the gummy texture of okra, cooking the whole pods quickly can avoid this, you can also cook it with acidic food such as lemon juice, vinegar, or even tomatoes to cut down on the slime factors. Keep in mind that poorly cooked okra tends to turn out slimy due to the water content, so try to make sure it is thoroughly cooked before eating and try not to overcook it as well.
Tips For Storing Okra
- Buy okra that is taut and firm to the touch
- Avoid pods that are shriveled, soft, or dark on the ends
- Keep your okra dry and store it in the crisper drawer in a paper or plastic bag to stop it from becoming slimy or moldy.
- Avoid washing it until you are ready to use it.
- Use within 3-4 days.
Keto-Friendly Okra Recipes
- Easy roasted okra
- Roasted Corn, okra, and tomato salsa
- Sweet potato gumbo with cornbread muffins
- Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo
- Chicken and Sausage gumbo
- Rainbow vegetable soup
- Thai Coconut curry chicken
While okra is a keto-friendly food item, it is also an item you can find in the closest grocery store regardless of your location in the world. It has been proven to offer multiple benefits to our health and is pretty much affordable. Do well to mix it in with your other ketogenic meal in your keto-friendly meal plan.