Also known as Lady Finger, Historically No data that where did actually it come from? Some historians believe that it is a product of the tropical and arid regions of Asia, some associate it with West Africa and some with the eastern African country of Ethiopia. When Spanish writers travelled through Egypt in the twelfth century, they mentioned the fruit and wrote that young Egyptians cooked and ate it. It is the best growing plant in dry temperate and arid hot region so it is possible that it reached from Ethiopia to West Asian countries (Middle East) via Red Sea and from there it reached Indo-Pakistan through Arab traders.When African slaves were transported to the United States in the 16th century, this plant was also introduced from Africa.
Okra is a member of the Cocoa family of cotton and chocolate plants. Yes! And the name of this family is Malvaceae. Apart from these fruits, many other fruits are also members of this family and in total there are about 4225 generations of this family. There are also two types of okra, Green the most common which you eat and the other one is red okra. There is no significant difference between the two species of okra except the color and the red one turns green when ripe. Okra’s top producers are India, Sudan and Nigeria.
Benefits of Okra:
- Okra is scientifically a fruit but its main use is as a vegetable. Like all other fruits, it contains the highest amount of water (83%) and contains adequate amount of potassium. The presence of both of them strengthens the heart by eliminating dehydration in the body.
- Slimy or Gooey stuff comes out from inside the pot. It is called mucilage and is actually full of fiber. Okra contains a good amount of fiber which satisfies hunger, not only cleanses the blood vessels but also cleanses the bad cholesterol, absorbs the waste products in the stomach and expels them out of the body.
It contains Vitamin C and Magnesium, Vitamin C strengthens the body’s immune system, while Magnesium improves the human reproductive system by regulating blood flow in the body.
- Okra contains a good amount of folate which is actually very beneficial for women during pregnancy and is essential for the health of the baby.
It contains two antioxidants, catechin and quercitin. Antioxidants are chemicals that control and stop the growth of free radicals (cancer-causing cells) in the body.
- Its seeds contain a special type of protein called lectin which is believed to protect against breast cancer. However, further research is still ongoing.
During a laboratory test in 2011, diabetic rats were given powdered okra seeds, which yielded surprising results, and the sugar levels in the rats dropped drastically. However, regular tests on humans have not yet been performed.
- The seed doesn’t end there. In the 18th century, when the civil war raged in the United States and the states were at war with each other, the coffee-making states cut off the supply of coffee to the state of Texas. In such a situation, the government there ordered to try different seeds and extract coffee-like seeds. Seeds of Okra were chosen which were made into coffee. There are some areas in the world where the seeds are still use to make coffee. The ripe dried seeds are roasted for a while and then grinded like powders and boiled in hot water to make coffee. The special thing about this coffee is that it is Caffein Free. So people who do not drink caffeine can use this coffee or tea.
- Even if you cook Okra very simply, it is still a perfectly balanced diet. Cook with meat, it is also good. The amount of protein will increase. Such cooking is good for those who go to the gym.
Okra mucilage is great for health because it contains fiber, but if you need to eliminate or reduce it, cook it with acidic vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, etc., which contain Citric Acid and Sulfonic Acid, respectively. It is usually cooked this way, but steamed Okra is better than roasted one and have better nutritional value.
- Okra also contains adequate amount of Vitamin K which thickens the blood to help blood clot in the skin if it is cut in any place. However, those who take Blood Thinner tablets should eat okra after consulting a doctor.
How to grow Okra?
It can easily grow anywhere except in glacial areas. It is a hardy and heat tolerant plant. It can withstand a lot of hardy soil and can stay without water for many days. Peel the dry okras, take the dry seeds out and deposit into soil. common soil is fine but the use of proper fertilizer improves yield. Its characteristic is that you take off the fruit and it will bear fruit continuously till the end of summer. Okra plant starts to bear fruit in two months. Apply it at least one to one and half inch of water once a week.
Even if you have no intention to grow fruit, you can plant it as decoration, then so many beautiful flowers grow on it which are worth seeing.
This is a very low calorie fiber light food. Include it in the regular diet. It will keep the body active and eliminate obesity. Okra Vitamins are found in the United States and Europe, and fresh juices are made in many African countries. Lady Finger is undoubtedly an excellent food.