Okra: America's Next Favorite Vegetable!

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Okay people: I know that okra is slimy in the middle or usually comes fried, but I think we need to move it off the list of least favorite vegetables!

I'm not saying that we'll put it past potatoes (who are the top veggie mostly because they are the main ingredient in french fries!), but we can help it!

Nutritional Benefit of Okra

First off, okra is a great source of many cancer fighting and immune boosting nutrients. It's got 66% of the RDA for Vitamin K and is also high is calcium, fiber, folate, manganese and magnesium.

Okra is also a great source of those "cancer phyters" known as phytochemicals. In fact, it has 620mcg of the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants in the carotenoid family. Research shows food containing carotenoids probably protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx.

Also, the fiber in okra is great for bowel regularity and there is probably evidence that foods containing fiber can decrease risk for colorectal cancer.

Given all these great things about okra, why don't we like it?? We're BIASED by years of negative press!

Don't let other people talk you out of it. I didn't grow up eating it; do you know anyone from California who does? However, after living in NC for almost 15 years, I finally met someone who could give me a good recipe (Thanks, Amy!!). And it's not too hard either!

So here goes. Try your own version and see how you like it!

Spicy (or not) Stewed Okra with Tomatoes:

Ingredients:
  • 16 okra (the small ones are best)
  • 3 medium or several cherry tomatoes (you can use canned if you don't have fresh)
  • 1/2 onion -  chopped
  • olive or canola oil
  • 2-3 jalapeƱos (if you like it spicy)
  • salt (Cajun salt is GOOD on this!).
Instructions:
  1. Chop onions and tomato. If you have cherry tomatoes, you can leave them whole
  2. To avoid the slime, you can leave the okra whole, just cut off the edge where it was picked. You can also slice it, which is what I've done recently. You don't really notice any slime when it's stewed; the okra liquids act as a thickener.
  3. Pour some oil in a pan and heat. Add onions (and jalapeƱo if you choose) and cook for 2-3 minutes, until onion starts to turn transparent.
  4. Add okra and tomatoes, stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan and cover with a lid.
  6. Cook until okra is soft. Tomatoes should fall apart.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and serve in small dishes!
Let me know how you like it!! Maybe we can improve the fate of the okra!

- Julie

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2 Comments

What about fried okra, Julie. I love it!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN published on August 13, 2009 11:31 AM.

Tip #3: Cancer Prevention for Women and Recipe! was the previous entry in this blog.

Quinoa: Facts and Recipes Part I is the next entry in this blog.

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