Tag: folic acid

Facts on OKRA (Bhendi) and its many Benefits

Facts on OKRA (Bhendi) and its many Benefits

Bhendi or Okra

The very name of this vegetable is more or less irritating and jarring to the ear, but it has another soft name called “Bhendi” and also in english a sweet name as “Ladies finger“. It can be one of your best companions if you make use of it daily. Here is a copy an e-mail I received from a friend of mine some time back from abroad which is self-explanatory.

A friend of mine has been suffering from irregular and insufficient movement of bowels for the last many years, All the medical treatments he took were of no avail.

He didn’t realize that the treatment for his problem could be so simple, till one of his friends suggested to him to eat OKRA ( Bendi ) daily. Lady’s finger is the other name by which okra is called.

He started eating Okra for about 2 months and since then has never taken medication again. All he did was to consume 6 pieces of OKRA everyday. He’s now regular and even his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98, with his cholesterol and acid reflux also brought under control.

Here are some facts on okra (from the research of Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D /nutrition, University of Illinois .

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colo-rectal cancer.

Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B 6 and folic acid is also present in a half cup of cooked okra.

Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B 6 and folic acid. He got the following numbers from the University of Illinois Extension.

Okra Nutrition (half-cup cooked okra)

* Calories                 = 25

* Dietary Fiber      = 2 grams

* Protein                  = 1.5 grams

* Carbohydrates   = 5.8 grams

* Vitamin A            = 460 IU

* Vitamin C             = 13 mg

* Folic acid             = 36.5 micrograms

* Calcium                 = 50 mg

* Iron                        = 0.4 mg

* Potassium            = 256 mg

* Magnesium          = 46 mg

These numbers should be used as a guideline only, and if you are on a medically-restricted diet,  please do consult your physician and /or dietitian.

Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has very kindly provided the following thought-provoking comments on the many benefits of this versatile vegetable. They are well worth reading:- :

  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra’s mucilage not only binds cholesterol but also bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. But it doesn’t stop there…
  3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation. Fiber in general is helpful for this, but okra is one of the best,  along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor. In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems, if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the  body.  The veggie is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it), has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most.
  4. Further contributing to the health of the intestinal tract, okra fiber (as well as flax and psyllium) has no equal among fibers for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics).
  5. To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.

So try and see if you can make OKRA as a daily companion of yours for a comfortable day.

13 Foods that stop ageing

13 Foods that stop ageing


These are not super foods they are part of the same healthy diet we have understood for years. It is how much we understand about them that have changed. Researchers are looking at health benefits of chemicals from plant foods. These foods are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that help combat degenerative diseases. Even though it is unclear how most phytochemicals work, their beneficial effects are apparent. So for now, variety is the key and the more the better.
Apple / grapes / cherries / straw berries: The soluble fibre in apples lowers the blood sugar. These fruits contain ellagic acid though to fight cancer by blocking an enzyme used by cancer cells.

Cabbage family: There is strong evidence that member of the brassica family (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) can stand guard against disease. The beta-carotene, indolesglucoinnolates and isothiocyanates (found particularly in broccoli) in these vegetables may prevent certain cancers.

Chilies/peppers: It was presumed that chilies could damage your stomach. But experts now believe that the mild irritant effect of chilies may stimulate the stomach’s defenses; they may protect the stomach from alcohol and other irritants, helping to prevent ulcers and cell damage. & Also they are good source of vitamin C & anti oxidants. Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chilies their fire, is antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals.
Citrus fruits: orange, sweet lime, grape fruit, lemon etc. are packed with vitamin C, bioflavonoids and limonene which is being studied for its effects on breaking down carcinogens (cancer causing substances) and stimulating cancer fighting cells

Garlic and onion family: the allicin in garlic lowers the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raises the good HDL cholesterol in blood. It drops blood pressure levels, boosts immunity and has antibiotic properties. Allium compounds are also found in onions, spring onion, leeks, chives and shallots. as also helps in heart & liver disease.

Green tea: research indicates that green tea may have anti cancer effect. It seems that polyphenols (a class of antioxidant) should take the credit, and in particular, catechins. This food has also shown promising results for heart and liver disease.

Leafy greens: like spinach, fenugreek, amaranth, lettuce, parsley, celery, are an excellent source of beta-carotene. Besides some of them also provide calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin C and nutrients. Glutathione, active ingredient in spinach safeguards against cancer.

Oats: an excellent heart medicine. About ½ cup of dry oat bran or a cup of dry oatmeal puts a dent in your blood cholesterol and regulates blood sugar level.

Oily fish: such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, lake, trout contain omega-3-fatty acids. These help protect against heart attacks by making clot formation less likely. Omega-3-fatty acids also protect against diabetes, cancers, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases like arthritis, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

Olive/ rapeseed oil: too much of any fat is bad, but replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated (MUFA), is beneficial. Olive and rapeseed oil are both rich in MUFA.

Papaya/ carrots: these, like all other yellow/ orange fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, sweet potatoes, squash are full of beta carotene & vit-C. papaya is rich in enzymes which aid digestion.

Soya products: Soya beans, Soya flour, Soya milk and tofu are low fat & calcium rich. Soya products rich in genistein have been linked to lower rates of certain cancers.

Tomatoes: contain lycopene, a caritenoid, which has cancer resistance effects. They also contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which flush out carcinogens.

Yogurt: studies have shown that yogurt containing live bacteria is good for digestion. Being a good source of calcium, it is helpful against osteoporosis later on in life.

So go ahead, include these in your diet & look young.