My friend, Nicholas, sent me an excited text not too long ago. “Hey – I have a great idea for your blog,” he said. Well obviously I wanted his great idea, because if it excited him, it was bound to interest others.
“You know how most people fry okra,” his text continued, “Well I made a healthier version.”
I was all over this. Do tell, I texted back. I was especially curious because, I have to admit, okra has never been my favorite vegetable. I like it in gumbo, but beyond that I don’t really cook with it.
However, it’s super mega healthy and has a lot of great benefits, including (according to nutritionandyou.com):
• Okra is just 30 calories per 100 g and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
• The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in okra pods help in smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieve constipation condition.
• The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
• Fresh pods are the good source of folates; provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in folates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.
• The okra pods are also an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, providing about 36% of daily-recommended levels. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.
• The veggies are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. The pods also contain good amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
• The pods are an also good source of many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
It didn’t take him long to text back, “I grilled it!”
Yum! What a great idea.
He sliced it in half lengthwise, then tossed it with a teeny bit of extra virgin olive oil, and slapped those babies on a grill over medium heat.
I can’t wait to try it myself.