Do you like ladyfingers? No, not the delicious and light ones used in make mouth-watering Tiramisu. We’re talking about okra, the nightshade vegetable with the weird texture and finger-like appearance – but don’t judge a book by its cover! Not only is okra an excellent addition to your diet, but it’s also incredibly beneficial for your health in more ways than one. If you aren’t ready to start cooking with okra just yet, don’t worry, there’s something you should know about “okra water.”
Also known by its botanical name Abelmoschus esculentus, okra originated from tropical countries in the Eastern hemisphere. It’s a fuzzy pod plant that contains seeds and a gelatinous substance that makes okra perfect for thickening soups or adding an extra level of texture to dishes.
4 Health Benefits of Okra
Before we get into how to prepare okra water, here is a list of all the benefits your body may be able to get! On top of being full of vitamins B and C, potassium, calcium, and folic acid, studies suggest that okra can have four major health benefits.
1) Okra Is High in Fiber
Okra’s high fiber content makes it a welcome guest for your digestive system. Not only does help your digest more effectively, but it relieves hunger pangs by keeping you fuller for longer. Researchers have also found that sufficient dietary fiber helps keep blood sugar balanced.
2) Okra Fights Fatigue
A 2015 study published in Nutrients found that, in combination with daily physical activity, adding okra to your diet can enable you to exercise longer without tiring as quickly and recover faster.
3) Okra Helps Lower Stress Levels
In another study published in The Scientific World Journal, researchers found that an antioxidant found in okra seeds can have an anti-stress effect. While this was found to be true in the bloodstreams of mice, there is hope that humans might also be able to reap these anti-stress benefits.
4) Okra Can Help Reduce Blood Sugar
Although this study was conducted on lab mice, research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine found that okra lowered blood sugar levels in diabetic mice. This suggests that consuming antioxidant-rich foods that are high in fiber could be helpful for people with or at risk of diabetes.
How to Make Okra Water
Okra can be added to soups, stews, salads, and stir-fry to name some. But, if you don’t really like the taste of okra and still want a quick and effortless way to reap some of the benefits of this vegetable, try making okra water.
All you need are three to five okra pods and a glass of water. Soak the okra pods overnight and, in the morning, remove them and enjoy some okra water. You can also thinly slice the okra pods which will make the water taste slightly bitter. But, doing this will allow the water to extract even more of okra’s beneficial compounds.
We know, it’s a strange vegetable, but these are some health benefits you do not want to pass up… whether you’re getting it from delicious dishes or water recipes!
*Article originally appeared at The Hearty Soul.