Okra

11/12/2011

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(transferred from previous "Health" tab...originally posted 2011/08/13)
_      We planted okra this year in our garden because Dan loves it, but I always thought it was rather....bitter...but it was delicious.  This was a WeightWatchers recipe and I promise, next time I make it...and I will....I'll put photos in to the cooking category (which I know has nothing in it yet...but I'm just getting warmed up with this blogging thing, don't yah know?!)  Here's the recipe and all the details about okra are under it!  Fabulous!

Roasted Okra
Points value: 1
Prep: 4 minutes - Cook: 10-15minutes

Purchase firm and brightly coloured okra pods that are less than 4 inches long; they will be more tender than the larger ones.

1-1/2 lbs okra pods
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine okra and next five ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well to coat.  Spread okra in a single layer on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until okra is crisp-tender.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size about 1 cup)
per serving: Cal 61 (35% from fat); Fat 2.4g (sat 0.3g); Pro 2.4g; Carb 9.1g; Fib 3.7g; Chol 0mg; Iron; 1mg; Sod 305mg; Calc 96mg.
(From WeightWatchers "five ingredient 15 minute cookbook"

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The world's most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to the history record.

Cleopatra of Egypt Yang Guifei of China When we visited the world's most productive land of okra in a rural area in Kami, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, the young and old all look very healthy. When we asked their secret in having good health in that area, they graciously answer “okra”.

Okra has a long history, with its beginnings in Egypt where it is cultivated before the time of Cleopatra. The okra plant spread to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. During World War II, the shortage of coffee beans made them use okra seeds as a substitute for coffee. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra's popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.

Nutritional Information Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties.

Health Benefits of Okra
  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra's mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
  4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  10. Okra is good for constipation.
  11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.

I myself planted about 25 stems of okra in my backyard garden throughout the year for over 20 years now. I can pick up about 20 pieces of okra pod every morning. All okra pods are consumed by my family. There are hundreds of recipes that can be done. You can either: cut it raw and mix with vinegar and pepper; cut it raw and mix with mayonnaise; steam, cut, with mayonnaise dressing; or, cook with stew or soup.

Okra is easy to grow anywhere during summer season in cold countries and throughout the year in tropical areas. You can even plant it in a container garden at the terrace in condominium buildings.


For 1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra For 1 cup raw okra Calories – 25
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates – 5.76 grams
Vitamin A – 460 IU
Vitamin C – 13.04 mg
Folic acid – 36.5 micrograms
Calcium – 50.4 mg
Iron – 0.4 mg
Potassium – 256.6 mg
Magnesium – 46 mg Calories – 33
Fiber – 3.2g
Total Fat – 0.1g
Protein – 2.0g
Carbohydrate – 7.6g
Vitamin A – 660 IU
Vitamin C – 21mg
Folate – 87.8mcg
Magnesium – 57mg

Inventor of PYRO-ENERGEN, the author, Mr. Takano himself picks up Okra in his backyard garden

To tell you the truth, I did not know that okra seed was used as a substitute for coffee beans during World War II. I have about 500 grams of okra seeds, so I roasted one-half of it using an iron cast pan, and pulverized it. I made okra coffee with it, and it tasted like real coffee although it was darker in color. When I offered the okra coffee to my staffs and visitors who did not know the real thing, they replied "Oh, you got a new blend of coffee, taste is good". I blended it with real coffee, too. It tastes all right. We do not know, however, what nutrients okra coffee gives.


About the Author: Junji Takano is a Japanese health researcher involved in investigating the cause of many dreadful diseases. In 1968, he invented PYRO-ENERGEN, the first electrostatic therapy device for electromedicine that effectively eradicates viral diseases, cancer, and diseases of unknown cause.
Click here to find out more: http://www.pyroenergen.com/about.htm
Free health newsletter: http://www.pyroenergen.com/newsletter.htm

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Picture
_             Approximately three summers ago, I was in The Cook's Cupboard in Southampton, Ontario.  It's a glorious kitchen store and sells pre-packaged gourmet meals as well!  While I was in there this one day, a gentleman had a table set up inside and was praising the virtues of Paltita Avocado Oil.  He was a representative of the company and had a lovely dip prepared for customers to taste, which I've since made several times.   This little known oil is quite amazing for cooking with and for cosmetics.  

             Nutrionists put it on a par with olive oil and in fact, alot of olive oil producers revert to making avocado oil in the off-seasons.  It's high in mono-unsaturated fats (to help lower bad LDL's in people with high cholestrol) and Vitamin E.  The Paltita Avocado Oil brags that it is 100% cholestrol free, and free of additives.  Put through a cold extraction process, it's made as an extra virgin avocado oil.  Most importantly, it has an unusually high smoke point of 520F...that's higher than most cooking oils, especially ones that are good for you!

            This excerpt from Wikipedia about smoke points in oils should pretty much explain why I believe Avocado Oil is a healthy alternative to any oil you can buy!

Smoke point From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 The smoke point generally refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids, and produce bluish smoke. The glycerol is then further broken down to acrolein which is a component of the smoke. It is the presence of the acrolein that causes the smoke to be extremely irritating to the eyes and throat. The smoke point also marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation. Therefore, it is a key consideration when selecting a fat for frying, with the smoke point of the specific oil dictating its maximum usable temperature and therefore its possible applications. For instance, since deep frying is a very high temperature process, it requires a fat with a high smoke point.

Robert Wolke argues that smoke point for an oil varies widely depending on origin and refinement.[1] The smoke point of an oil does tend to increase as free fatty acid content decreases and degree of refinement increases.[2][3] Wolke argues that heating oil produces free fatty acid and as heating time increases, more free fatty acids are produced, thereby decreasing smoke point. It is one reason not to use the same oil to deep fry more than twice.[1] Intermittent frying has remarkably greater effect on oil deterioration than continuous frying.[4]

Considerably above the temperature of the smoke point is the flash point, the point at which the vapors from the oil can first ignite when mixed with air.
(Click on "Smoke Point from Wikipedia" to see a chart of all the oils)

            As a topical oil, Avocado Oil is high in sterolins which are said to reduce age spots, help heal sun damage and scars.  It relieves dryness and itchiness  caused by psoriasis or eczema as it's so easily absorbed into deep tissues of the skin.  And ladies....studies have found that avocado oil significantly increases the amount of collagen in the skin...which of course is great for us "older" girls.

            The only drawback I find with this oil is it's colour...it's a fairly bright green colour which sometimes...you don't want your food to look green, but I still use it all the time.  I use it when I make rice, instead of the requested bit of butter and my rice is always perfectly wonderful!  I don't find that it has a strong flavour at all and I quite like it better than olive oil, because I find olive oil can change the whole flavour of a food.  I would say, even though it's a bit pricey (around $16-22.00/bottle), to buy the Paltita, because you get what you pay for.

            Please check out In the Kitchen for a delicious appetizer recipe from Paltita...it was the one I tasted that day in the Cook's Cupboard!

            Try it out!  Your body will thank you....