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.


9 Awesome Foods from Black Cultures You Need to Know

Yes, black cultures. The only universally shared experience of being black is the oppression associated with it. A multitude of diverse cultures thrive in spite of the obstacles thrown their way and in no place is this more evident than in their cuisines.

Here are some foods either originally cultivated by black people or that emerged from slave trades to embed themselves in these specific cultures.



OK, let’s get this out of the way. Although watermelon has been stitched into negative narratives about black people, the fruit is rooted in African heritage. Originating in southern Africa, watermelons became domesticated farther north on the continent when extreme desertification hit Saharan Africa. Often used as a canteen of sorts in tropical regions, watermelons have been given many uses from jam to meal made of ground seeds.

Soupikandia & Okra


Deeply embedded in southern American Creole culture is the spicy goodness that is gumbo. Many of the dish’s great qualities are attributed to French influences despite the majority of the cuisine stemming from African and Native American dishes. Gombo is the French word for okra, derived from the Luba (a Congo tribe) word ngombo. Slaves brought the vegetable to America and it acts as thickening agent in most versions of gumbo (if you’re not using okra, I have no idea why you’re calling it gumbo) and its African predecessor soupikandia.

Soupikandia has an earthier taste than the piquant gumbo and is still consumed in West African nations.

Yams (Not Sweet Potatoes)


Unless you live in West Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, or frequent grocery stores serving those communities, you’ve probably never had a yam. When African slaves were exposed to sweet potatoes on farms and plantations, they just called the similar-looking tubers yams. Naturally, this was also exploited for financial gain in the American South and is still a marketing tool (and an example of the USDA’s laziness) used to differentiate sweet potatoes.

Real yams tend to be sweeter than sweet potatoes and can’t survive in most of the US. Depending on the variety, they can achieve a dessert-like sweetness, but are more often used to make porridge and to enhance fish stews.


loved import coffee beans

The coffee plant has always grown wild in Ethiopia. Although there’s some beef between the nation and Yemen over the discovery and cultivation of coffee, most signs point to Ethiopia, while Yemen gets the distinction of the mocha birthplace. Origin myths from both countries involve animals getting over-caffeinated and people dramatically throwing beans into fires (Disney probably already has the movie rights).

Coffee cultivation began in Ethiopia around the 9th century and remains a major part of the country’s economy. It accounts for about 25 percent of the nation’s export earnings while supplying 15 million people with jobs.

Macadamia Nuts


Macadamia nuts are so special that some people lose their minds (and jobs) over simply plating them. The Bauple tree that bears the magical nut was discovered by the Kabi tribe, an Australian Aboriginal sect, around 30,000 years ago.

The macadamia nut was so treasured by the Kabi that they settled throughout the area of the rainforest where they naturally grew and traded with other tribes for high quality goods and tools.

Australian Aborigines lived largely off of bush foods until British colonizers introduced various modern cooking methods. Domestication of the macadamia nut is largely a white man’s tale, but its difficult-to-reach location and many similar, inedible sister tree nuts would make its cultivation difficult without the assistance of local Aborigines.


sorrel drink

Jamaican Sorrel was actually taken over from West Africa and both regions often use the hibiscus plant to make a tea-like beverage. Often combined with ginger for an added kick, sorrel is popularly drunk throughout the Caribbean during Christmas festivals.

The rich red color of the drink, along with its easy pairing with alcohol, make it a go-to beverage for celebrating on cooler winter nights.



The farther south you travel in the West Indies, the more you start feeling like you’re in the East Indies.

Brief history lesson: when European traders and conquerors first interacted with the Indian sub-continent, they attributed races to the people currying favor toward the lighter northerners and associating the southerners (labeled Dravidians) with blackness and inferiority.

This kind of thinking made it pretty easy for the British Empire to swoop in later and stop treating Indians like people, but I digress.

Islands like Trinidad and Grenada are mostly comprised of African or Indian descendants, oftentimes a combination of the two. This, along with their close proximity to South America, results in a unique intersection of cuisines called the “roti.”

There are several types of roti, which really refers to the flatbread used to make it, but what you’ll usually get if you don’t specify is essentially a curry burrito. Chickpeas, potatoes, meat and sometimes other vegetables are wrapped in soft white flour flatbread and cooked on a tava for a subtle crispness. The flatbread itself is more pliable and flaky than most tortillas, which also makes it a popular choice for breakfast rotis.



I couldn’t possibly end this list without an Afro-Brazilian dish. As one of the most well-known cultural melting pots in the world, Brazil is certainly a mecca for fusion cuisine enthusiasts.

In the Bahia region of Brazil, which produces the most African-influenced dishes in the nation, this spicy, pungent peanut sauce is traditionally served with meat or fish. Its creation is very closely related to several ground nut stews and sauces popular in West and Central Africa.


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This is What the World’s Grossest Ramen Looks Like

I love ramen. I love free things. So when I heard that a food reviewer over at Rocketnews24 had consumed a bowl of the world’s most disgusting ramen in under six minutes and thirty seconds to win a bowl of free tasty ramen, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. Then I read that the ramen itself contains tofu, okra, and a whole mackerel along with its side of pig ear and foot, and I got a little nervous. Then I saw the pictures and read the part of the review where the author says that even the waiter who carried out the food had his face “firmly locked in a grimace.” I’m not sure that even a free bowl of delicious ramen could get me to eat a bowl of something that tasted “like a dead elephant’s a**.”

Especially when it looks like this.


And is coated with a mysterious “spongy, gel-like ingredient” on top.


And did we mention the pig parts that smell like “a sanitation worker’s boot”?


To be fair, the adventurous reviewer did mention that the restaurant in question does not list this stomach-curdling dish on the menu, probably to avoid accidentally killing someone. If a customer wants to try to finish it and win the bowl of free (good) ramen, they have to specifically ask for “The Ramen That’s too Disgusting to Eat.” And then they’ll have to sit in a special part of the restaurant so the offensive smell doesn’t bother the other customers.

There are a lot of things I’d do for a free bowl of delicious ramen, but this. . . this is too far. I bow to anyone who manages to complete this hideous challenge with their stomach (and their sanity) intact.

H/T + PicThnx to Rocketnews24