Okra – originated in Ethiopia and scientifically known as Abelmoschus esculentus. From Ethiopia, okra had journeyed to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Arabia and India all by the 12th century.
A hardy plant, okra can be cultivated almost anywhere. This vegetable is known as gumbo in America, lady’s finger in England, guino-gombo in Spanish, guibeiro in Portuguese and bhindi in India, to name a few.
In its original home of Ethiopia it is also called Kenkase, Andeha, and Bamia.
According to MedicalNewsToday, one cup of okra weighing approximately 100 grams contains a whopping 20 vitamins and minerals. Sounds like a superfood to me. I have been eating this vegetable all my life. I did not always appreciate its gifts.
Now at this time in my life I truly appreciate its versatile culinary preparations, this was not always the case.
What I did not know back then was that okra was chock full of most of what our bodies requires in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting compounds.
We are all well aware that our bodies work at its optimum when we consume a diet rich in the recommended amounts of the various food groups.
Some of the benefits of okra:
- Diabetes by lowering blood sugar, it regulates the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
- Reduces kidney damage.
- Toxin removal – utilizing the mucilage found in okra
- Cancer – contains a compound lectin that can kill cancer cells.
- Cardiovascular – its high fiber content aids cholesterol expulsion from the body.
- Osteoporosis – its vitamin K content helps keep bones healthy and strong.
- Gastrointestinal – prevents constipation and more.
- Seeds contain oil and proteins.
- Kidney stones – okra is high in oxalates
- Gastrointestinal upset – contains fructans a type of carbohydrate that can cause gas, bloating etc.
- Joint pain – contains solanine a compound that may trigger joint pain.
- Blood-thinning properties – due to the presence of vitamin K.
Okra seemingly has numerous health benefits. It is great for helping to keep your liver and kidneys healthy. It reduces oxidative stress, promotes healthy skin and blood and from personal is great for hair as well.
Check with your healthcare provider if you are taking blood thinners due to the presence of vitamin K a known blood thinner.
Below are some pictures of okra in cultivation from my mother’s kitchen garden.
My mother is the primary gardener, these are the fruits of her hands.
The rest of us are “the helpers”. My mother is blessed to grow things, anything grows that she plants. She planted these okra from seeds and they have been doing what they do. For myself I derive so much pleasure from helping and just observing things growing under the heavens.
I talk to the plants and I am always the first one to see their fruits … a gift of mine my mother says, lol.
The babies are thriving and flourishing. It is a thing of beauty.
Growing and looking so nice and healthy.
Flower bud in progress above.
Same day these images taken from different angle (below).
The view from another angle. They are so healthy. I love it!
This morning this flower decided to open up to see the sun. The first fruits of the labor of love. My favorite time of the growing cycle. Soon we will be consuming these babies.
Dated 06/04/2020 – for some reason, I could not get this image any clearer, the day is over and the flower has done its work, by tomorrow it will wither and reveal the new okra.
In picture above, the okra tree is doing what nature has designed it to do, grow and produce.
This is my mother proudly displaying the fruits from the works of her hands (July 2020). The long one is a variety from South America.
The smaller ones below are the regular variety found here.