Okra- Uses & Benefits
Okra, also known as ladyfinger & Bhindi in Hindi, is a staple vegetable found in every Indian kitchen. In addition to being wonderful in taste, small ladyfingers also have many medicinal properties. It is helpful in preventing many diseases which keep the body healthy. The okra plant is full of hairs. Its flowers are yellow in colour and the fruits are green. Inside the ladyfinger, there are many seeds containing white-coloured circular sticky matter. Rich in medicinal properties, ladyfinger is rich in important nutrients like vitamins, potassium, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber and unsaturated fatty acids (linolenic and oleic acids). It also contains polyphenolic compounds, carotene, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and amino acids. Along with this, it is also rich in cardioprotective, renal protective, neuroprotective, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-ulcer, anti-bacterial and antifatigue properties. All these medicinal properties and nutritious elements found in it are very beneficial for health.
Benefits of Bhindi
Diabetes is a common problem that occurs due to the increase in the level of glucose present in the blood. The use of okra reduces this problem to some extent. According to research published on the website of NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), okra has anti-diabetic and anti-hyperglycemic properties which help in reducing the level of glucose present in the blood. The glycemic index of okra is very low because of which the blood sugar level in the body does not increase rapidly due to its consumption. In addition, the fiber found in it is beneficial in controlling blood glucose. For this reason, okra is good food for people suffering from diabetes.
For Digestive Power-
The medicinal properties of okra help in improving the digestive system. A good amount of fiber is found in okra which is beneficial for the digestive system. Apart from improving the digestive system, the intake of fiber also proves to be helpful in removing the problem of indigestion associated with it.
Healthy for the heart-
Bhindi is also used to reduce the problem of heart disease. There have been much researches on this topic. According to this research, a good amount of fiber is found in okra. Fiber intake helps reduce serum cholesterol. This reduces the risk of cholesterol-related heart disease.
For cancer prevention-
The fiber present in okra helps in preventing the risk of colon cancer to some extent. Researches conducted on okra found that okra also has anti-tumour properties which are beneficial in stopping the cells that grow breast cancer.
Note: Consumption of okra only helps to some extent in avoiding cancer. It is not a cure for cancer.
Constipation is a problem in which there is difficulty in the passing of stool due to which problems related to the stomach also occur. Consumption of okra acts as a panacea for constipation. Bhindi is rich in fiber which helps to get rid of problems like constipation by digesting the diet. In such a situation, consuming fiber in the form of okra is good for constipation.
Along with good health, okra is also used for improving eyesight. Bhindi contains beta carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A in the body. It proves beneficial in increasing eyesight. Along with this, okra is also used to improve vision and cure many diseases related to the eyes.
Good for losing weight-
Bhindi is used to control weight. According to scientific research, okra contains nutrients like good carbs and fats which help in controlling weight. Apart from this, research has also been given that the fiber found in okra is also beneficial for reducing obesity and helps in reducing excess body weight.
Bhindi for skin-
Along with health and eyes, okra is also used for the skin. Vitamin C is found in okra which has antioxidant properties. It proves to be helpful in building and repairing the tissues of the body. Along with this, the consumption of okra is also helpful in making the skin look younger. It contains beta carotene, which is the main form of vitamin A beneficial for the body.
Bhindi for hair-
Bhindi is used as a hair conditioner. It also proves to be a good moisturizer for the scalp. Bhindi is also used to remove the problem of scalp itching, lice and dandruff. Its use helps in making the hair shiny. Vitamin-C found in lady finger regenerates the hair.
Rich in antioxidant properties-
Oxidative stress works to damage the body in many ways that include cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and heart disease. The use of okra proves to be effective in reducing oxidative stress to some extent because the powder of dried okra peel and seeds has antioxidant properties that is why it is said that okra should be used for its antioxidant properties.
Uses of Bhindi
- Bhindi pickle is made in many places.
- Bhindi is used as a delicious vegetable along with potatoes. Apart from this, Bhindi is also made with many other vegetables.
- Baked and crispy bhindi curry is also eaten with gusto at many places.
- As a hair pack, it is also used for hair and skin.
- Okra supplement is taken on the advice of a doctor.
Side effects of Okra
If okra is used in limited quantity, then the body can get the benefits of okra. However, the harm caused by consuming or using okra in large quantities can be as follows-
Exposure to an enzyme called proteolytic released from okra can cause sores on the skin. Therefore, do a patch test before using it on sensitive skin.
Cause of kidney stones-
Bhindi contains trace amounts of compounds called oxalates. Excess of it in the body can lead to kidney stones. Therefore, if someone is suffering from kidney stones, then definitely consult your doctor before consuming okra.
Eating too much okra can have an adverse effect on some people because it is rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, excessive consumption can cause problems like diarrhoea, gas, cramps and bloat in the intestines.
Blood may be too thick-
Vitamin-K is found in okra. It works by thickening the blood (coagulation) in the body so people who are taking blood-thinning drugs should consume okra in limited quantities.