Okra is a common green vegetable used throughout the world. It is mostly known because of its mucilaginous nature. Also referred to as lady's fingers or gumbo, it is mostly cultivated in tropical climatic regions of Africa and the Americas.
Okra is a rich source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is important in improving vision and maintaining a healthy immune system. It is believed to reduce the occurrence of cataracts. Vitamin A is mostly supplied by vegetables and fruits. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that helps protect the body against infections and quicken the repair of wounds. It also helps in lowering the blood pressure. It is rich in fiber and calcium, and therefore helps reduce blood sugar levels and keep them at a stable level. This assists persons with diabetes and high blood pressure maintain healthy bodies.
Okra can be cooked in a variety of ways, from steaming to stir frying and inclusion in stews. Cooking them whole reduces the sliminess compared to cooking in cut pieces. They can be used to cook fritters while whole or added to rice to cook main dishes.
Okra should be eaten while still green and fresh. They should be bought while firm and not soft or flaccid. They should also be stored like other vegetables in a refrigerator or a cool place away from direct sunlight.