Okra, bhindi, or, vendakkai, the names could be many but the popularity that lady’s finger enjoys, in the different states of India, is just the same.
It is the go-to vegetable for dinner for almost every homemaker when faced with the challenge to appease varied palates within a family.
Almost everyone’s favorite, in some form or the other, lady’s finger enjoys unparalleled love from all age-groups.
In this short article, we will find out the health benefits of Lady’s finger and its nutritional profile.
Lady’s finger is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, protein, and minerals.
It has a low amount of carbs and calories. Therefore, it can be added to keto and weight loss diets.
100 grams of lady’s finger provides the following nutrients (1).
- Energy: 33 kcal
- Protein:1.93 g
- Dietary Fiber:3.2 g
- Fat: 0.19 g
- Calcium: 82 mg
- Iron: 0.62 mg
- Magnesium: 57 mg
- Phosphorus: 61 mg
- Potassium: 299 mg
- Sodium: 7 mg
- Vitamin C: 23 mg
- Thiamin: 0.2 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.06 mg
- Vitamin: B-6 0.215 mg
- Folate: 60 µg
- Vitamin B: 36 µg
- Beta-carotene: 416 µg
Health benefits of Lady’s finger:
1. Maintains Healthy Cholesterol Level
This powerhouse of nutrition contains soluble fiber. One of these is pectin which modifies the creation of bile in the intestine and helps reduce high blood cholesterol.
Lady’s finger is thus a somewhat inexpensive alternative towards cholesterol management using natural food items (2).
2. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
As the fiber in the lady’s finger helps reduce serum cholesterol and promotes a healthy blood cholesterol level, it has a positive impact on heart health (3).
It thus promotes cardiovascular health.
3. Promotes Good Eyesight
The veggie is loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A in the human body.
As a result, it makes for a great option if you are looking forward to maintaining a healthy vision.
However, beta-carotene and vitamin A are fat-soluble. They are best absorbed into the human body in the presence of fats.
It is therefore advisable to cook and consume the lady’s finger with small proportions of oil to ensure better absorption of these nutrients (4).
4. Type-2 Diabetes Management
The fibers are again at play here. Being soluble, these fibers not only help reduce cholesterol levels but also help in better management of type-2 diabetes.
As fibers slow down the assimilation of sugar in the intestines, they help in keeping the blood sugar levels low (5).
5. Prevents Harmful Bacteria in the Digestive System
The young pods of lady’s finger have anti-adhesive properties. This means that it disrupts the adhesion (sticking) between bacteria and the stomach lining thus preventing the spread of the bacteria culture across the digestive system (6, 7).
Including this vegetable in your diet can, therefore, help to maintain a clean stomach and create a digestive environment that prevents harmful bacterial cultures from spreading.
6. Maintains a Healthy Gut
Now, don’t curse us for bringing forth the role of fibers again.
But, the fact is that this green vegetable has fibers that have multiple functions in the human body. And this time, it is about their role in maintaining a healthy colon.
The fiber in the pods helps to cleanse the intestinal system. This allows the colon to operate with enhanced effectiveness.
Additionally, the vitamin A content of the veggie supports healthy mucous membranes that further assist the digestive system to function at an optimal level (8).
7. Builds Immunity
The pods of lady’s fingers contain good amounts of Vitamin C – an antioxidant that builds immunity and supports growth and repair of body tissue besides many other roles across the human system.
Every hundred grams of the pods contain nearly 27% of the Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin C thus helping the body shield itself against numerous diseases and promote cell growth.
8. May Prevent Blood Thinning
Besides being a storehouse of vitamin C, the pods of lady’s finger are rich in vitamin K. This fat-soluble vitamin is pivotal in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels (9).
If you are someone who suffers from frequent bleeding of the gums, nose or, experience heavy menstrual bleeding, including more vitamin K in the diet from foods such as lady’s fingers, might help.
9. Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
The role of folate or, Vitamin B9 in maintaining a healthy pregnancy and supporting optimal fetal growth is no secret.
But, the fact that this humble vegetable is high in foliate is a little known fact (10, 11).
The veggie provides a copious amount of folic acid that plays a major role in the neural tube formation of the fetus from the fourth to the 12th week of pregnancy.
10. For the Beautiful You
And, finally, something that may give more reasons for women to look for a lady’s finger!
This veggie with its reserves of vitamins and anti-oxidants holds the key to the lustrous hair and healthy, glowing skin that all cosmetics promise.
While the vegetable vendor may not tell you this but, this vegetable could be that quintessential beauty ingredient that your make-up kit is missing.
So, What’s for Dinner Tonight?
Well…. we think after having rattled out so many health benefits of this veggie, the ancient origins of which are still disputed, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you make a beeline to the stores looking for it.