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Okra: Nutrition and Interesting Insights
of this Ancient Ethiopian Vegetable


Okra, the slimy but delicious-tasting green veggie that's popular in Southern, Creole and Cajun cooking, is actually a tropical herb that's related to cotton, hibiscus, and hollyhock.


Okra provides benefits to your digestive tract that are similar to yogurt's!

If you've never tasted it before, okra has a flavor similar to asparagus and eggplant, and it's popular in much of the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Turkey, India, the Caribbean, South America and the Southern United States.

Okra originated in Ethiopia and was cultivated in ancient Egypt. When it first came to the United States, it was largely used to thicken stews like gumbo, because the pods release a sticky juice when they're cut. Today, however, you can find okra sautéed, breaded and fried, pickled, boiled, stewed, steamed, baked, and even raw in salads.

Is Okra Nutritious?

Actually, yes. It's an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C and A, B vitamins, iron and calcium -- and it's very low in calories. Also:

  • Okra's slimy mucilage binds with and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, toxins and bile acids.

  • Okra nourishes the good bacteria (probiotics) in your intestines, just as yogurt does.

  • Okra can prevent constipation, treat irritable bowels, heal ulcers and soothe your gastrointestinal tract.

It's even said that rinsing your hair with a concoction of boiled, sliced okra and a few drops of lemon juice will add volume and shine to your hair!

okra salad

A popular way to eat okra is breaded and fried ... but a healthier way would be to try it raw on a salad.

Cooking With Okra

When you buy okra, look for tender, firm pods that snap easily in half. Store them in a paper bag in the warmest part of your refrigerator, and don't wash them until you're going to use them (this will make them slimy).

The thing about okra is, the more you cut it, the slimier it becomes, so if you don't like the stickiness, cut it sparingly. Also, don't cook it in aluminum, iron or copper pans, as this can discolor it. Remember, you can also try okra raw, and this may be the healthiest way, as all of its nutrients will be preserved.

For a tasty way to try okra tonight, sample this simple okra stir-fry ... it's fresh, nutritious, and, of course, delicious!

Stir-Fried Okra


2 cups fresh okra, washed, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and sliced into 8 thin wedges
1/4 cup green onions, sliced, white and green
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon leaf thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter


  1. Prepare all vegetables as indicated and have ready for cooking. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a wok or large skillet. Add vegetables and seasoning mixture all at once.
  3. Toss and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Serves 4

Recommended Reading

Nine Uncommon "Green Leafy Vegetables" Worth Trying

The Turnip: Nutrition, Uses and Some Interesting Lore of "One of the Most Important Vegetables"


The Hindu

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