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Okra

One of my favorite veggies is one that is hard to find in Colorado, unfortunately.  My grandmother, who lived in southern Oklahoma, used to fry up okra almost every time we came to visit, and okra still reminds me of those trips.  I don’t usually eat it fried anymore, but I still love to eat it when I can find it around here.  If you can find it, okra is a great vegetable to add to your diet, full of vitamins and minerals:

  • 1 cup of sliced okra contains only 36 calories, but packs an impressive 16% of our daily fiber requirements.
  • Okra is very high in Vitamin K – 80% per cup.  This vitamin is important in blood clotting and bone health.
  • Move over oranges, okra is also very high in Vitamin C and contains 44% per cup.  Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps prevent damage from free radicals.  It is also required to make collagen, and important in brain health.
  • Like most green vegetables, okra also contains a good amount of Folate – 18% per cup.  Folate helps prevent birth defects, inadequate amounts can cause anemia, and it is involved in healthy cell production.
  • Okra also contains 14% of our daily Thiamin (Vitamin B1) per cup.  Thiamin is important in energy production and also plays an important role in our brain.  Low Thiamin levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.  
  • Like Thiamin, Vitamin B6 is important in energy productionbrain health, and also liver detoxification.  Okra contains 14% of our daily Vitamin B6 per cup.  
  • Okra is also high in several minerals:  Manganese (24% per cup) – important for metabolism and in building bone and tissue, Magnesium (14% per cup) and Calcium (12% per cup) – both important in muscle health and calcium is important in bone health.
  • One of the most interesting things about okra is that the viscous fiber, that makes okra slimy, is being investigated for improving blood glucose levels in patients with high blood glucose levels as well as high triglyceride levels.  The bottom line is eating okra is good for controlling your blood sugar.  

My favorite way to cook okra lately is to halve it lengthwise and roast it in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  It doesn’t get slimy this way, and it is a little like having fried okra, but healthier!  

Lindsay has many other ideas over on her blog including garlic grilled okra (I can’t wait to try!), stir fry, and a hash.  Check them out here:  http://www.thetravelingzipperhead.com/?p=883

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24746837

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23894043 

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/22/eat-this-now-okra/

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-okra-4093.html

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2498/2

 

 

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