Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin E, Biotin, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin A, Niacin, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium
What it heals:
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
A relative of the hibiscus, okra was brought to the Americas from Africa in the 1600s. The dark green pods are the main ingredient in spicy Creole stews or gumbos. In fact, okra is nicknamed “gumbo” in many parts of the world.
This starchy vegetable is low in calories – a 1/2 cup serving contains just 18 calories. It is also a source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium, an electrolyte that maintains proper fluid balance, helps to transmit nerve impulses, and is needed for proper muscle function and metabolism. It also contains thiamin and magnesium.
Okra’s gummy consistency may be off-putting some people. To minimize the gumminess, try steaming or blanching the pods until just tender. Don’t slice the okra before cooking – less juice will be released if the inner capsule remains intact. Prepare okra along with an acidic vegetable such as tomatoes, to reduce its gelatinous consistency. Some people prefer eating okra raw with dips, as part of a fresh vegetable tray, or in a salad.