Lady finger or Okra or bhindi -- 7 surprising benefits of this superfood

Containing vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibre, eating lady's finger benefits your body in more ways than one.

Lady s finger is a non-leafy, green, fruit vegetable that is widely consumed in India and abroad. Popularly called bhindi in Indian households, this vegetable is tender, mucilaginous and dense in nutritional content. Whether you eat them raw or you cook them as you like, you'll surely benefit in more than one ways. Here are some surprising benefits of this green wonder.

1# Helps control diabetes: Okra is packed with dietary fibre that helps stabilisation of blood sugar levels by regulation of the rate of absorption of sugar from the digestive tract. The anti-diabetic property of okra is also attributed to its ability of inhibition of enzymes metabolising carbohydrates, enhancement of production of insulin, regeneration of beta cell of the pancreas and increased secretion of insulin [1].

2# It prevents heart disease: People are often affected with heart disease due to high levels of cholesterol in their blood. Pectin, a soluble fibre present in lady s finger helps lower this cholesterol and thus is helpful in preventing heart disease. Okra is also fairly rich in antioxidant compounds like polyphenols. These compounds, especially quercetin, helps prevent oxidation of cholesterol and blocking of arteries, preventing heart disease development [2].

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3# It helps you lose weight: People who aspire to lose weight can eat lady s finger to facilitate weight loss. The vegetable is extremely low in calories, with a 100g serving containing just 33 calories. Here are some other foods that can help you lose weight.

4# It improves your immunity: Lady s finger is rich in vitamin C with a 100g serving meeting approximately 38% of your daily requirement of the nutrient. Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that helps improves your immunity and protects you from several diseases and infections. Alternatively, you could also eat orange and amla to boost your vitamin C intake as both of them are extremely rich sources of the nutrient.

5# It improves your mental function: Folate or Vitamin B9 is another critical nutrient present in lady s finger. This nutrient is required by your brain to function properly as it aids in the production of several important compounds.

6# It is good for pregnant women: Women who are pregnant will benefit from the consumption of lady s finger as it contains Vitamin B9 or folic acid which can help prevent neurological birth defects in their newborn. Here are 5 recipes that pregnant women.

7# It prevents cancer: According to a research published in Nutrition Journal, lady s finger has a higher concentration of antioxidants than most vegetables. These antioxidants prevent damage to your cells from free radicals, and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in your body. Additionally, it contains some amount of insoluble fibre which promotes a healthy digestive tract and lowers your risk of colorectal cancer. Pectin present in the vegetable has been shown to prevent proliferation of melanoma cells in vitro [3].

Here is a healthy lady's finger recipe that you can try:

Image source: Getty images

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  1. Sabitha V, Ramachandran S, Naveen KR, Panneerselvam K. Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences2011;3(3):397-402. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.84447.
  2. Atawodi SE, Atawodi JC, Idakwo GA, Pfundstein B, Haubner R, Wurtele G, Spiegelhalder B, Bartsch H, Owen RW. Polyphenol composition and antioxidant potential of Hibiscus esculentus L. fruit cultivated in Nigeria. J Med Food. 2009 Dec;12(6):1316-20. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0211. PubMed PMID: 20041787.
  3. Vayssade M, Sengkhamparn N, Verhoef R, Delaigue C, Goundiam O, Vigneron P, Voragen AG, Schols HA, Nagel MD. Antiproliferative and proapoptotic actions of okra pectin on B16F10 melanoma cells. Phytother Res. 2010 Jul;24(7):982-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3040. PubMed PMID: 20013817.

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