Health Benefits of Okra – That veggie people either love or hate

Health Benefits of Okra
Most okra you find in stores is green, but we often find this dark red variety at the market.

Okra! Do you know the health benefits of okra? That long, usually green, vegetable that people either love or hate! It can have a bit of a slimy aspect to it, depending on how it is cooked, but it turns out even that is a part of what makes it healthy!

We happen to love okra at our house. And it seems that okra really likes South Texas weather. It is definitely a summer crop. Where we live it starts showing up at the farmers market in May or June. This year it was June because we had an exceptionally cool Spring for South Texas. (Side note: We’re currently trying to make up for that mild Spring with a hotter-than-heck Summer. As I write this the temperature outside is 106!) Once okra shows up, you can be assured that it will be available for a while. Locally grown okra is often still available into October.

Interesting Points About Okra

I was researching okra and I started with my favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking. Okra was not mentioned. It’s definitely a Southern vegetable since it likes to grow in the heat, so perhaps it was too regional? I had to resort to the internet for my research. Along the way I learned a few things about okra.

What do okra and hibiscus have in common? #WhatsCookingWithBarbara Click To Tweet

Moy Grande HibiscusOkra is also known as Lady’s Fingers, something I had never heard. You can see it, a bit, in the shape of the pods. It is also in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. That got me wondering what the plant and its flower looked like. I found a gardening site that has pictures of the plant and flower. You can see the images here. I’ve also included a picture of a Moy Grande Hibiscus from a plant we once had. The flowers look a bit similar, though the Moy Grande had gigantic flowers!

Health Benefits of Okra

Okra has many health benefits:

  • Rich in mucilaginous fiber which aids in digestion.
  • High vitamin A content making it good for your eyes and skin.
  • Rich in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals and decrease inflammation.
  • Good source of vitamin C which aids in immunity.
  • Overall good source of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium.

How to Cook Okra

Sometimes, the only vegetable available at our farmers market is okra. I really like to eat local and seasonal so we continue to eat okra. Yes, I know there are other vegetables available at the grocery, but we’re just that way.

When you buy the same vegetable for weeks or months in a row, you start looking for different ways to cook it. I’m still trying to find the perfect recipe for Pan Fried Okra, and I’m getting closer! Occasionally, I’ll make this Spicy Okra with Tomatoes, when I have the tiem. And the easiest method is my Baked Okra.

Which side of the okra debate are you on? Love it or hate it? If you love it, share in the comments your favorite way to eat it.

Also, if you love okra, you should know that okra recipes will be included in my cookbook, Veggies 101. Are you on my mailing list? It’s the best way to keep informed about the progress on Veggies 101. By the way, do you want to be on the list that gets news about this site first? Sign up here.

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