Monday, June 8, 2015

Roasted Okra a powerhouse of valuable nutrients

Okra or gumbo (the Swahili name for okra), is a flowering plant in the mallow family and every southern garden has a row. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. It is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable from the same family as hollyhock, rose of Sharon and hibiscus.

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber, which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer.  You might also be able to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by adding more fiber to your diet, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you need to shed a few pounds, eating more fiber might help too.

Most people don't get enough fiber.  The Mayo Clinic suggests you should try to consume between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Eating vegetables is a low-fat, low-calorie way to boost your intake, and okra is a great southern summertime vegetable. Okra has a bad reputation though, folks say it’s slimy, but don't believe that. Just cook your okra whole – the less surface area, the less slime. Okra’s delicious and so easy to cook, just steam it and eat. 

1 cup of okra has a mere 33 calories. While each cup has 299 mg of Potassium  and 7 grams of Carbohydrate, there is also 3.2 grams of dietary fiber and 1.5 grams of Sugar and 1.9 g Protein. This means that almost 25 percent of the calories come right from protein.

Try this tasty Roasted Okra recipe:

Preheat your an oven to 425 degrees F.
Arrange 18-20 young fresh okra pods in one layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
Drizzle with one tablespoon of good olive oil over the pods and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Then Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once during that time.

I am now on the hunt for some great family recipes using okra. 

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