Okra that is also known as bamia or lady finger is one of the popular and nutritious vegetables. The pods are usually gathered while they are tender, green and at immature stage. It grows best in well drained and manure rich soil. Okra pods are very low caloric, containing no saturated fats and cholesterol, along with the rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals; it is good for weight reduction too. It is also rich in mucilage substance which helps in smooth peristalsis of digested food and also eases constipation conditions. They contain healthy amounts of vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants including beta carotene, xanthin, and lutein. These antioxidants are essential for vision; vitamin A helps to maintain healthy mucus membrane and skin. Consumption of natural fruits and vegetables having rich flavonoids aids in protection of lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh okra pods are good source of folate and vitamin K along with some important minerals such as calcium, iron magnesium and manganese, and a rich source of B complex group of vitamins like vitamin B6 i.e. pyridoxine, thiamine, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting enzymes and also for strengthening of bones.
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