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Posts Tagged ‘okra is alkaline’

Being that I currently reside in Dallas, Texas, I have recently become more aware of Okraa vegetable commonly used in Southern “Gumbo” recipes. Growing up on the east coast, with a “Southern” mother, who is neither a cook, or a foodie (apparently I got that from the other side of the family), I really did not have any interest in experimenting with these peculiar little green pods, not to mention that they were usually kept tucked away in some foreign corner of the grocery.

I can remember asking my produce man one day… “So… what can I do with this thing?”

He responded, “Fry it.”

I smiled, and I put it down.

Not only were Okras completely weird to me, but I was uneducated as to what on earth I could do with them.

Recently, however, while on my lunch break at Whole Foods, I decided to take the plunge and bite into one.  I cannot tell you what it was that I was expecting, but I was pleasantly intrigued by their light taste, and crunchy, but gummy texture. “New snack?” I thought to myself…

I dislike not knowing what I am biting into, so I did a little google search.  I was shocked at the number of pages dedicated to Okra.  It turns out that these shy and awkward, raw, green pods are intriguingly beneficial to the digestive system (a favorite subject of mine).

Health Benefits of Raw Okra.

  • Okra is high in fiber. This fiber can help aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels in the body.  It is thought to curb the rate at which the body absorbs sugar from the intestinal tract.
  • Okra has an undeniably “slippery” film that may aid in detoxifying the liver, by binding to unwanted toxins, and carrying them out of the body.
  • Because of Okras binding capabilities (and fiber content), it is thought to be helpful in reducing cholesterol.
  • The combination of fiber, and the slippery, mucilage substance creates a powerful but gentle laxative. The fiber adds bulk to stools, and the slippery properties sooth the intestinal tract.
  • Most laxatives can be extremely irritating to the intestinal tract.  The fiber one finds in “bran” products is not only irritating, but actually pulls nutrients from the body. Bran can actually create deficiencies and cause constipation (this happens in much of the elderly population).  While I am not saying that Okra cannot cause constipation in large amounts, because it is raw, and untreated (like bran), it contains plant enzymes, which aid in the digestion and cleansing process.  Okra is also soothing, not irritating.
  • Unlike bran products, Okra contains a great deal of naturally occurring nutrients.  Okra is a good source of Vitamins A, and C, in addition to supplying healthy amounts of iron and calcium.
  • This is what NutritionData.com has to say about it:  Okra is “low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.” Surprisingly, Okra is a whopping 2 grams of protein per cup.  That is pretty impressive for a strange looking green pod. Read More: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2497/2#ixzz0y1s9PmsK
  • Okra facilitates in the proliferation of good bacteria, a.k.a. probiotics.  For this reason, in addition to its detoxifying and laxative qualities, that it is wonderful for those concerned about Candida.  It is also very low in sugar.
  • Okra is an anti-inflammatory food.  It can help with inflammatory problems (arthritis, asthma, skin problems, etc.), in conjunction with a healthy diet.
  • Okra is very alkaline, which is helpful in maintaining a healthy immunity and a balanced internal pH.

While I will be the first to scoff at the idea of one food being a “healer,” or “magical Superfood,” I will admit that I am impressed with this unusual pod.

In conjunction with a healthy diet, I would not consider any of the above to be inaccurate qualities of Okra.  I would suggest a few things, however.

  • I would not go overboard with Okra.  Yes, Okra can have a laxative affect, but because Okra is also very fibrous, in addition to being “gummy”, I would suggest taking it slow— Okra can be temporarily constipating, as it is somewhat of a “bulking agent.”  One never wants too much bulk in their intestinal tract.
  • Okras are very starchy.  It is for this reason that I would suggest they be treated as so.  If you practice food combining, or are interested in optimal digestion, and weight loss, etc., I would only combine Okras with your easily digestible foods like: vegetables, avocados, and greens.  I would suggest avoiding nuts, seeds, and animal proteins.  While digestible starches like, yams, and sweet potatoes are healthy, I would be weary of consuming them with okra if you are interested in Okras “healing” properties… but hey… that is just me. :)

Works Cited (I read a bunch of articles before compiling everything here).

  1. The Ethnic Vegetable that is OKRA
  2. Okra Health Benefits
  3. Health Benefits of Okra
  4. Okra
  5. Health Benefits of Okra
  6. Health Benefits of Okra
  7. All About Okra

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I threw Okra in a salad, but sometimes I eat them as I would a carrot stick ( prefer it that way).  What do you do with your okra?  Do you eat it raw?  Cook it?  Have you noticed anything “special” about Okra?  What do you think it tastes like?

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