Wonders of okra

Well-Being

Wonders of okra

Abelmoschus esculentus is quite a performer as it comes with innumerable benefits. It can work wonders from strengthening our muscles to improving cardiac health; helping in weight loss to keeping the blood insulin levels under check; as an effective liniment for burns and getting rid of head lice.

We definitely want to grab this magic ingredient, don’t we? Where do we get it? Right in our neighbourhood! This is no exotic herb from a far off land, but a humble vegetable, easily available (and in plenty) on your vegetable vendor’s cart. It is none other than the lady’s finger or okra, popularly known as bhindi or bendekai!

This seed-filled pod is widely consumed as a vegetable across the world. The immature fruit is nearly 90% water, low in calories (approximately 0.3 calories per gram), high in fibre (typically 100g have 3.2g of fibre) and a good source of vitamins.

However, bhindi has a divided fan following. While one-half simply love them, the other detests them primarily because of their slimy texture. But these sticky elements, called mucilaginous compounds, are beneficial, especially in treating dysentery and stomach distress.

Bhindi aids digestion by preventing constipation, and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The mucilage softens the stools and improves the peristaltic movement in the large intestine. Ayurveda suggests a soup made with raw bhindi to control dysentery. To keep fasting blood sugar at an optimum level, one or two mature pods can be ground with a little water and taken in the morning.

The high water content and anti-inflammatory compounds act as a diuretic, as it improves the bladder output, and flushes out toxins. In fact, bhindi is often administered in cases of dysuria or painful urination. As a salve for burns, the vegetable extract is mixed with lime water (calcium carbonate), filtered and applied to the wound. The list of advantages of this wonder vegetable is a long one; so, don’t shy away from it!

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