7 Reasons You Should Be Eating More Okra

If you ever get tired of cooking with the same ingredients, maybe it’s time to explore and see what else is out there for you. I am sure there are some things you haven’t tried. And those natural things are also good for you. Take for instance: the health benefits of okra are something you want on your plate.

My experience on holiday in Greece had a very strong culinary component. You know what that’s like: being on holiday, feeling more relaxed and open to the new. That’s what happened to me too when I saw a merchant at the farmer’s market with a beautiful stack of okra in front of him. I wanted to get to know that ingredient, even though I had steered clear of it until then. But the health benefits of okra are not to be ignored. Neither is its pleasant, surprising texture when cooked.

My friend who lives in Greece cooked it later that night in the form of a wonderful shakshuka. One I will never forget.

You could try this great okra bean stew for starters if you want to get in on the health benefits.

7 health benefits of okra 

1. Source of calcium for vegetarians

Are you a vegetarian in desperate need of some calcium and magnesium? Then okra might be your new friend, and it might help prevent calcium deficiency and magnesium deficiency. You also need calcium to regulate your heart rhythms, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It supports your muscles and your nerve-signaling functions.

So, if you’re also lactose intolerant, you can safely get some of your calcium from this veggie. But just remember that you need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, so a serving of okra isn’t really enough. One serving has 51 milligrams of calcium.

2. Makes your eyesight better

Those nice green pods are loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, both vital for sustaining your eyes in watching movies, reading, and also gazing at your significant other.  Also, your skin will feel a bit better too with all of those nutrients. And eye-associated illnesses might be tougher to catch.

Explore Ingredients: The Health Benefits of Okra
The vitamin A and beta-carotene in okra help keep your eyesight at optimum functioning levels.

3. Protein and fiber galore

Okra is loaded with amino acids like lysine and tryptophan which basically means you can get plenty of protein from this food – comparable to soybean, in fact. The okra seed is rich in high-quality protein and you want the best if you plan on cutting down on meat, right?

It is also rich in insoluble fiber, which really does good things for your digestion. Okra does that by lubricating the large intestines, easing your body into processing food. It keeps your intestinal tract healthier and decreases the risk of colorectal cancer. Plus: you have a lower chance of feeling constipated, and that’s always a win.

4. Protects your heart

There’s also plenty of soluble fiber in okra, which means that it improves the health of your heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nearly half of the contents of the okra pod is made up of soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins, according to research from the Pakistan Journal of Food Science.

It helps your heart thanks to its pectin content, which can help reduce cholesterol by modifying the creation of bile within the intestines. It does that by binding excess cholesterol and toxins in the bile acids, making them easier to eliminate.

You know that mucilage thing that can be quite annoying when having okra? It serves a pretty cool purpose in your body. It helps the waste pass from the body carrying with it toxins dumped into it by the liver.

Explore Ingredients: The Health Benefits of Okra
Okra helps your heart thanks to its pectin content, which can help reduce cholesterol.

5. Stabilizes your blood sugar

Okra helps regulate the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract. And some of the compounds in okra seed help normalize glucose and might end up helping researchers trying to find a cure for diabetes. Indian researchers who published a study in 2011 in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences found that when their subjects ate dried and ground okra peels and seeds they had a reduction in their blood glucose levels. A 10-day regime based on okra extract showed significant improvements.

And in Turkey, people have been using roasted okra seeds as a traditional diabetes medicine for generations. So the health benefits of okra are apparent even to simple consumers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should replace your insulin with okra because it really doesn’t work like that. Okra doesn’t make your diabetes go away. It’s just some extra help for your body that doesn’t substitute actual medical care.

Now that you know you should cook with okra, how about you learn how to make the most of this veggie?

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Why Eating Turmeric Should Be A Part Of Your Diet

You’d probably be able to place turmeric if we told you it was the stuff in curry powder that makes it yellow, but turmeric in its raw form is a root that looks fairly similar to ginger. The root has a ton of health benefits and deserves to be incorporated in your life way more than solely in the form of a miscellaneous golden powder. Here are just some of the reasons you should be eating more turmeric.

Turmeric is so good for reducing inflammation that it can be just as effective as actual anti-inflammatory medicine.

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You read that right. The root is very high in a chemical called “curcumin,” which is a natural anti-inflammatory. While certain low and short-term levels of inflammation are natural for the body, long-term inflammation is really bad for your body tissue. Studies have shown that turmeric can sometimes be just as effective as your run-of-the-mill anti-inflammatory, so it’s time to throw away the Ibuprofen and stock up on turmeric. Try this tea on for size. .

turmeric is loaded with antioxidants

If you’ve ever fallen victim to the many trendy beverages on the shelves marketed as having tons of antioxidants (we’re looking at you, Bai), then you know antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. These little buggers can be pretty harmful to the body. Luckily, turmeric is a pretty potent antioxidant. Try incorporating it into your next snack. We promise it’s not that hard. Just take a look at this turmeric popcorn.

Turmeric is known to improve brain function

If you’re feeling a little sluggish mentally and all those Lumosity games aren’t working for you, turn to turmeric. Curcumin, which we mentioned earlier, has been found to increase levels of this thing in your brain called BDNF, which stands for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. Basically, BDNF is a type of growth hormone that lives in the brain and contributes to healthy brain function. Some people even think this aspect of turmeric can improve your memory, or even combat several genetic or age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. Adding turmeric to your diet is much easier than you think. Just throw some turmeric in the pot the next time you make rice. Your brain will thank you.

Turmeric is a natural way to keep your brain happy

Certain studies have shown that turmeric can even improve your mood, and protect against depression. This has to do with that BDNF stuff we mentioned earlier. Depression is oftentimes linked to a shortage of BDNF, which as you know affects brain health. Since turmeric boosts BDNF, it can contribute to a healthy, happy brain.

Some people think turmeric can even help prevent cancer

Obviously, cancer is it’s own demon and there isn’t 100% proof that turmeric can cure it at all, but integrating turmeric into your diet definitely can’t hurt. There are a few reasons scientists think this way. First of all, the antioxidant boost found in turmeric protects the cells in your body from free radicals. These free radicals can be pretty harmful to the point where they have the ability to attack your DNA. So by boosting the antioxidants and nipping those free radicals in the bud, ideally there will be less room for that DNA to be mutated into cancer cells. Next time you’re fixing up a midnight milkshake, throw in some turmeric. We promise your milkshake will still taste like a milkshake.

Turmeric can help you undo the damage you did to your liver last weekend

Don’t tell PETA, but we have rats to thank for this discovery. There is a study that had one set of rats consuming turmeric, and the other was exposed to the control drug. The rats that were fed turmeric had increased levels of two essential liver detox enzymes. Honestly we’re not entirely sure how to pronounce these so we’ll leave it to the scientists, but we do know this is good. If you had a particularly exciting weekend, whip up a batch of this turmeric drank. You’ll be good as new by Monday.

Turmeric can lower your risk of heart disease

Alright, we’re about to get scientific with you again. So that curcumin stuff is really good, can’t you tell? In this case, we’re talking about it because curcumin is known to positively affect the endothelium, which is a fancy term for the lining of your blood vessels. Heart disease is highly driven by a dysfunctional endothelium, therefore, by making it better suited to do it’s thang like regulate your blood pressure and help with clotting, your risk of heart disease can be significantly decreased. If you have a sweet tooth, you really need to whip up this turmeric-filled dessert. Just look at it.

Turmeric can tame heartburn and an upset stomach

Similar to it’s cousin ginger, turmeric works wonders against heartburn. It’s also pretty good at relieving any distress you might be feeling in your tum tum. Next time you eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, boil some hot water and throw in some chopped turmeric. The hot water will release the flavors of turmeric and you’ll have yourself a nice, makeshift tea. You’ll be pain-free before you know it.

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U.S.’s First Sugar Tax Is Making Communities Healthier Without Losing Money

In 2014, Berkeley, California voted in Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sugary beverages that was aimed at cutting soda and sweetened drinks’ sales down drastically. The aim was that it would improve health and nutrition in the area.

In a pleasant surprise, the sugar tax did way more than just that, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine. Researchers analyzed over fifteen million checkout transactions across grocery stores in Berkeley and the surrounding areas to find that not only did sugary drink consumption fall by nearly 10%, but the sales of healthier beverages, like milk and tea, have increased in response. Bottled water sales shot up an impressive 15% in that time span.

The tax also raised over $1.4 million for local child nutrition and community health programs and decreased the demand for diet and energy drinks by 9%, meaning consumers in the city have become a lot more health conscious as a result of the sugar tax. Meanwhile, small business owners were not affected by the tax, as no measurable decrease in sales was detected.

The one downside to the tax is that sweetened soft drink sales in the surrounding sales did increase by seven percent, implying that some Berkeley residents who did want their Coke and Pepsi traveled outside of the city to avoid the tax.

Still, overall, the Berkeley tax has been extremely beneficial to the city. It’s made the city more health-conscious while keeping small businesses thriving and putting more money into city health and nutrition programs.

Sugar taxes have begun to pop up in several other cities too, and while not all of the effects in those areas have been measured, there’s clear evidence to show what works and what doesn’t. In Philadelphia, for example, sugar taxes of 1.5 cents per ounce have led to the loss of over 300 jobs after retailers reported a whopping 50 percent loss in soft beverage sales with nowhere near enough recovery in other areas to maintain jobs.

To detail, it could be that 1.5 cents per ounce is too high of a tax for a community to function. Many other Bay Area cities, including San Francisco and Albany, along with Cook County in Illinois have passed 1-cent-per-ounce taxes in recent months similar to those of Berkeley and haven’t reported any negative repercussions as of now.

Boulder, Colorado passed a much higher tax at 2 cents per ounce, but it’s still unclear as to whether that tax will be successful. Based on what happened in Philly and Berkeley, however, Boulder’s tax may be more harmful than helpful to the local community, while the other U.S. cities that followed Berkeley’s model are likely to have more success.

Based on the findings of the study, Berkeley’s sugar tax could be the blueprint model the rest of the nation follows when it comes to taxing sugar and cutting sweetened soft beverage sales since they’ve been able to do so without small businesses or the local community losing money. Considering sugar has been shown to be a leading cause factor of obesity (no matter what Coca-Cola says), that’s critical for a nation fighting a massive obesity crisis.


The Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

Beer is literally the most perfect creation of all time. Our favorite golden beverage actually dates all the way back to Ancient Mesopotamia, so it’s clear everyone unanimously loves the stuff for it to be around this long. But besides tasting great and being the main ingredient of a fun time, beer actually has more health benefits than you would think, many of which are listed here. Just note that most of these results are based on the consumption of one to two beers per day, and no more. If you’re a bar owner, we suggest printing this out and tacking it to the wall of your establishment.

1. Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Beer improves heart function in many ways. First, the drink can lower your chances of having a heart attack by 40-60%. Beer also contains Vitamin B6, which is known to reduce the compilation of this stuff called homocysteine, a known exaggerator of heart disease. Beer also thins the blood and aids in the prevention of blood clots and lowers inflammation. Many of the studies involving beer’s effect on the cardiovascular system were run at the Fondazion di Ricerca e Cura in Italy. Thank you, Italians, for all the noble work you have done for us.

2. Improves Kidney Health

If you’re a guy, apparently the number of beers you drink has a direct impact on your chances for developing kidney stones. This is seriously wild. According to a group of scientists in Finland, each beer can reduce the risk of kidney stones up to 40%! When asked why this could be the case, there were a few hypotheses, but no clear answers. They say it could be the increased trips to the bathroom or the the fact that the hops from beer has an effect on the speed of the release of calcium in the body, but whatever it is, we’ll take it.

3. Reduces the Risk of Cataracts

While this one is pretty impressive, there is a catch. Researchers in Canada carried out experiments that led to the conclusion that one beer per day, especially if it’s a darker beer, can boost your body’s production of antioxidants in a way that could reduce your risk of developing cataracts, or even stop them from forming in general. Here’s where it gets bad. Apparently if you have three or more drinks per day, the effect is actually the opposite, meaning your chance of forming cataracts is more likely. Dang.

4. Prevents Diabetes

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In 2011, Harvard conducted a study on the effect of moderate beer consumption and its correlation to Type 2 Diabetes. The study showed that drinking up to two beers per day can reduce your risk for this disease by 25%. This occurs because the alcohol in beer helps your body regulate your insulin production, which is one of the main concerns of diabetes. Drink up me hearties, yo ho!

5. Contributes Towards Post-Workout Hydration

We honestly thought this one was a rumor and we couldn’t be happier to know it’s true. Apparently beer is just as effective, if not more effective than water at hydrating you after a big workout. This study was executed in Spain, where researchers had their subjects exercise until their body reached the control temperature. Then, half of the subjects drank water, and the other half were lucky enough to be treated to a nice, cold brewski. Shockingly enough, the people who had the beer were more hydrated than the others. To be honest, it was by a slim margin, but we’ll take what we can get.

6. Helps Develop Anti-Cancer Properties

Beer can aid the body in exhibiting anti-cancer properties, and we have a little antioxidant named xanthohumol to thank. This compound is found in hops, which are an essential ingredient for beer-making, and it has been known to take cancer-causing enzymes head-on, specifically, the ones that can lead to prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

7. Boosts Your Memory

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You would think the opposite, but beer actually improves your memory. As a matter of fact, those who drink beer are 23% less likely to develop certain memory-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Over the years, it has been revealed that one of the possible causes of Alzheimer’s is an an increased amount of aluminum in the body. Beer contains silicon, which scientists believe aid in the prevention of increased aluminum levels, therefore lowering your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

8. Improves Bone Density

According to a study supervised by Tufts University in 2009, moderate beer drinkers have an average of up to 4.5% greater bone density that those who don’t indulge in a daily brew. This also has to do with the silicon content in beer, which is an important part of healthy bones, in addition to brain health, as we established above. Having stronger bones means your chances of bone fractures and getting osteoporosis is much lower. Granted, silicon can’t protect you from being dumb and falling down the stairs, so keep that in mind.

9. Aids in a Healthy Digestive System

Beer contains a healthy amount of fiber which is an important aspect of a healthy digestive system. It can also improve production of other necessary digestive components like pancreatic enzymes, gastrin, gastric acid, and, wait for it, cholecystokinin. This fact holds especially true the darker the beer, so don’t be afraid to sip on a Guinness every now and then. And if you’ve ever had too rough of a Friday night, you can attest that beer definitely prevents you from intestinal maladies like constipation.

10. Acts as a Cold Remedy

You might gag a little bit with this one, but drinking a warm beer can serve as a cold remedy. No one likes a warm beer, but if it’ll get rid of your sniffles, it’s worth a try. Apparently when barley, a common grain used in brewing beer, is heated, it can reduce congestion and get your blood flowing. Barley can also boost your immunity and attend to any joint pain you might have. If you’re daring enough to try this, be careful when heating up your beer. The most efficient way to do this is to warm the beer in a double boiler, so it’s not in direct contact with the heat.

11. Can Treat Dandruff

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If you have dandruff, throw out the Head & Shoulders and get yourself a beer instead. By rinsing your hair with beer a few times a week, you can eliminate dandruff and improve the quality of your hair in general. This can be attributed to the high amount of yeast in beer, which can help balance everything out on your scalp. Beer is also high in Vitamin B, which is why your locks will end up shiny and soft after this. Plus, you’ll get to smell like beer, which is probably every man’s dream.