Available year round, lady finger (Aka Okra) better known by Pakistanis as bhindi- can be consumed for its many health benefits. This green, longitudinal ooey-gooey vegetable is used in multiple ways such as, to thicken soups, it can also be eaten sautéed, cooked in typical southern gravy, or even in pickled form. Lady finger is known as a nutritional power and has myriad health benefits because of the plethora of nutrients it contains including minerals, vitamins, fiber and carbohydrates. Check out some of the amazing health benefits of bhindi.
Helps you Lose Weight
Bhindi is low in calorie and is suitable for weight loss purpose. One cup of lady finger contains less than 30 calories along with 2 g of protein, 7.6 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g of fat, 21 mg of vitamin C, around 88 micrograms of folate, 57 mg of magnesium and 3.2 g of fiber. It’s high fiber content helps you keep full for longer avoiding you to over-eat at the table.
Alleviates Symptoms of Asthma
Okra is also rich in Vitamin C, known to alleviate symptoms of asthma. 1 cup of Bhindi contains 23 mg of Vitamin C. A study conducted in 2000 in the journal thorax found that intake of fruits rich in vitamin C is a significant protective factor against wheezing especially in children and susceptible adults. This effect was seen even if the fruit was eaten one to two times a week.
Improves Digestion and Lowers Cholesterol
Rich in fiber, bhindi helps with two very common problems faced by people worldwide. One of them is Indigestion. Fiber helps increase bulk of stool by dissolving in water present in the gut. This helps with constipation and straining and makes excretion easy. Second problem that fiber can help with is High Cholesterol. Soluble fiber in gut absorbs cholesterol from food, prevents its absorption and eliminates it from the body. Another way cholesterol is reduced in the body by consuming bhindi is that it replaces any other fatty and high cholesterol food that you might eat. This was found by Harvard Health publications.
Helps Regulate Blood Glucose Level
Soluble fiber present in bhindi also helps regulate blood glucose level which is specifically beneficial for diabetic patients. In a study published in ISRN journal Pharmaceutics, researchers found that bhindi helped reduce the absorption rate of glucose from the intestines. This resulted in reduced glucose in blood. They immersed sliced bhindi pods in water and fed rats the solution and found the results stated.
Bhindi also contains antioxidants along with vitamin C. These constituents of bhindi act as immune boosters against harmful free radicals and also support the immune system. Vitamin C content further stimulates immune system to produce more white blood cells which basically help you keep healthy and fight any bacteria that has entered your body and prevent it from causing further harm and diseases. It also neutralizes free radicals that may cause certain cancers, acne and affect your general well being.
Prevent Kidney Disease with Lady Finger
A lot of kidney diseases develop from diabetes. Bhindi prevents kidney disease in two ways. First, in an indirect way by reducing blood glucose level; second by reducing kidney damage directly. In a study conducted in 2005 published in Jilin medical journal, researchers found that diabetics who consumed bhindi daily had reduced clinical signs of kidney damage as compared to those on diabetic diet.
Conception and pregnancy
Rich in vitamin A, B (1, 2, and 6) and C along with traces of zinc and calcium, bhindi is absolutely essential food for ladies who are trying to conceive. It is both beneficial for the mother and the fetus. It helps with indigestion during pregnancy, keeps the mother’s skin healthy and reduce fatigue. Bhindi can also be considered a supplement for folic acid which is crucial for brain and spinal cord development of the fetus in the uterus. However, lack of folic acid may cause severe birth defects.
Helps Get Rid of Dandruff
Apart from eating, lady finger is also used as home remedy for hair conditions. Transparent mucilage made from bhindi and water can be applied on hair. It brings back dull and dry hair to life by bringing its moisture back and makes it bouncy. It also helps with certain scalp conditions including dandruff.
Lady finger (Okra) has been a part of Pakistani cuisine for ages. You can enjoy it fried, boiled, curried or pickled. Dense in healthy nutrients, bhindi can be a great addition to any diet.