Lady finger, or Okra as commonly known and called by people, is a popular health food due to its great nutritional value. It acquired its name because its edible part resembles a finger of a lady. Being among the most heat and drought-tolerant vegetable species in the world, lady finger can be grown throughout the tropical regions as well as other parts of the world with warm temperature.
The edible fruit of the plant has high fiber content making it an excellent part of people-who-want-to-lose-weight's diet plan. Okra's fiber content helps in losing weight by binding with excess cholesterol and cleansing the colon. Its gelatinous substances also aids in constipation by absorbing water and adding bulk to our stool thus improving our colon's movement. Moreover, Okra is fat-free and cholesterol-free.
Okra is also high in Vitamin C which helps in decreasing free radicals in our body and increases our immune system. It also has high anti-oxidant content and a good source of calcium and potassium.
The seeds of ripe Okra may also be used as coffee substitute. It can be achieved by roasting the seeds and grinding them. This is a good alternative if you want a caffeine-free coffee. The leaves may also be eaten raw in salads and may be cooked too.
The other nutrients present in Okra are Vitamins K, E, A, and B complex, as well as sodium, selenium, iron, copper, magnesium, phyto-nutrients, manganese and zinc.
There are a lot of ways to prepare Okra such as cooking it whole or incorporating in soup and other dishes. Most people won't eat this vegetable due to its "slimy feel" in the mouth. Stir-frying can help in minimizing sliminess or by cooking it with acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or tomatoes.