Known to have been first discovered in Ethiopia, Lady finger ‘Bhindi’, has been part of Indian kitchen for around last 300 years, possibly introduced by the British navigators and slaves.
Okra or lady finger also known as ‘Bhindi’ in Hindi is quite a versatile vegetable. Often fried, boiled, steamed or added to soups, this vegetable has a tapering end and the pod contains edible seeds. Okra is available in two colours — red and green. The taste of both the varieties is the same. On cooking, the red variety turns green. Okra has a slimy texture.
Nutritional facts of Bhindi
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of raw lady finger, weighing approximately 100 gm contains 33 cal, 1.9 gm of proteins, 3.2 gm of fiber, 7.5 gm of carbohydrates, 0.2 gm of fats, 1.5 gm of sugar, 299 mg of potassium, 7 mg of sodium, 82 mg of calcium, 57 mg of magnesium, 0.2 mg of thiamine, 23 mg of vitamin C, 60 mcg of folate, 36 mcg of vitamin A, 31.3 mcg of vitamin K, and 0.2 mg of vitamin B6.
Lady finger also contains some amount of niacin, iron, copper, and phosphorus.
Potential Health Benefits of Okra
1/4. Controls blood sugar
1. The low glycemic index of bhindi helps in maintaining optimum glucose levels in the blood. Bhindi contains myricetin, which aids in enhancing sugar absorption by muscles thus, helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
2. Also, Eugenol, a type of fibre present in lady finger helps in stabilising the blood sugars by slowing down the gastric emptying of the sugars.
2/4. Possesses anti-cancer properties
1. Lectin, a type of protein present in bhindi prevents the growth of cancer cells.
2. The insoluble fibre present in bhindi promotes digestive tract health and lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
3. The antioxidants present in okra keeps the body safe from damage caused by free radicals thus, lowering the risk of cancer.
3/4. Promotes healthy heart
1. Pectin, a soluble fibre present in bhindi helps in modifying the production of bile juice thus, reducing the bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
2. The polyphenols compound present in okra helps in inhibiting oxidation of cholesterol and artery blockage thus, lowering the risk of heart diseases.
3. The thick gel-like substance, mucilage present in bhindi binds to cholesterol during digestion, leading to excretion with stools.
4/4. Other possible benefits…
Bhindi produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as prevents and improves constipation, aids weight loss, offersbeautiful skin, boosts digestion,beneficial for pregnant women,improves immunity,prevents migraines, promotes gut health, promotes vision, good for the immune system, boost, memory, treats dandruff and lice, treats anaemia, and improves eyesight.
Rich in magnesium, a natural relaxant, okra is also beneficial for keeping sexual health optimised. Being fiber and anti oxidant ‘myricetin’ rich, people who suffer from diabetes, should include okra ‘bhindi’ as a must eat food in they diet.
How to add Bhindi to the Diet?
Ladies finger can be consumed after cooking. Smooth and tender green pods, without dried ends or brown spots should be taken for cooking. It can be easily added to the diet. Some of the ways by which it can be added to the diet are as follows…
- Used in stews and soups.
- Used to prepare stir fry.
- Used in preparing dishes.
How to prepare Crispy Okra Masala?
Take 2 cups of bhindi, wash it and cut them into small pieces.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a deep cooking vessel. Add mustard seeds.
Once they begin to sputter, add pinch of jeera, hing, curry leaves and red chilli, sauté for 2 minutes.
Take one medium onion and chop it. Add the onions in the oil and cook them till they turn translucent.
Add the cut okra along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp sambhar powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, and salt and allow it to cook for approximately 3 – 4 minutes.
To prevent the okra pieces from sticking to one another, add little curd to it.
Fry the okra for approximately 8-10 minutes, allowing all the flavours of the spice powders to soak and blend in.
Serve the crispy okra fry.