Ladies finger is a vegetable crop which can be basicallygrown in tropical and sub tropical areas. The origin place of okra is tropical and sub tropical Africa. Okra is grown for its young tender vegetable, used in curry and soups after cooking in Asia. Okra is also known as “Lady’s finger”. This vegetable is called ‘Bhindi’in India.
Okra has nutritional values and health benefits. Fiber can be extracted from the stem of this plant. Okra farming is a moneyproviding crop and can be cultivated through out the year. Okra is member of “Malvaceae” family and its genus is “Abelmoschus”. The texture of this vegetable is quite sticky and tastes very delicious specially when made them fried.India is no. one producer of okra in Asia as well as in the world. Not only in India it is also used for vegetable in Brazil, West Africa and many other countries. In India major okra growing states are basically Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
Health benefits and uses of Okra-
The health benefits and uses of Okra include the following-
- Okra has high fibre content.
- Okra is good source of folic acid.
- Okra is an excellent source of vitamin ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘K’ and ‘C’.
- It is good source of iodine which cures goiter.
- Okra is beneficial for smooth hair and shining skin.
- Okra is beneficial in diabetes.
- Okra restricts colon cancer.
- Okra helps in maintaining cholesterol level.
- Okra is good remedy for prevention of skin pigmentation.
- Okra may helpful in controlling asthma.
- Okra prevents constipation.
- Okra may restrict sunstroke.
- It is helpful in obesity and help in weight loss.
- Okra make immune system and eye power stronger.
- Dried fruits of okra contain 12-22% edible oil which is used for refined edible oil.
- Thedry fruit skin and fibers are used in processing of paper, cardboard and fibers.
Production- Okra is grown best in warm season and will die with frost. Its flowering occurs as soon as 45 days after seeding, generally depend on the variety, and pods are ready for harvest 4-5 days after flowering. Tenderness decreases as pod’s size increases. Most varieties will loose their tenderness, when they exceeded 3 inches in length desired by market. So for avoiding this, okra plant must be picked almost every other day. Before planting into the field, it should be grown for 4-6 weeks in the greenhouse. Most varieties have tiny hairs on all parts of the plant which is the reason for skin irritation, so one should wear gloves and long sleeves are recommended for harvest.
Post –Harvest and packing-High respiration rate is found in okra and okra is very sensitive to staining and rapid dehydration, so it’s wholesale marketing difficult. The quality of okra can be maintained by cooling it to 500F after harvesting.Medicinal values of okra has been become well known recently as a super food for diabetic patients. Okra can be a boosting food on feeling unexpected mood, it have great nutritional quality and stabilize blood sugar. In recent studies it has been found that okra seeds contain a powerful anti depressant material and this effecthasbeen demonstrated on mice. Basically depression is specially found indiabetic patients due partly to blood sugar fluctuations related with diabetes.
Medicinal properties of okra-
1-Okra as antioxidants-okra is as powerful antioxidant as blue berries and black berries. It has been seen some times that people with healthy diet seems to be in better moods generally, there is some reason for it, flavonoid are the main reason for it, scientists have known for long that flavonoid have mood elevating properties. For example, quercetin which is found in apple, citrus fruits, onions, parsley, red wine, tea, blackberries, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, has been shown to important improvement in mood scores in diabetic mice. The seed and the leaves of vegetables often contain the highest concentration of antioxidants soscientists have prepared extracts from okra seeds and leavesin this study, to test anti oxidant levels. And in the extractit was found that the antioxidants level is as same as extracts of blueberry and black berry.
2-Okra exerts powerful antidepressant effects-In a study scientist used standard tests known as “forced swimming” and “tail suspension” to gauge the mod of the mice,as a measure of depression, based on their response time to these actions. And foundokra seeds extractsconsiderably improve the mood-scores of the mice in both tests as nearly all doses tested. And remarkably, at the highest seed extracts really dose used, the seed extract in point of factperformed as well as imipramine, an FDA accepted drug for dejection.
3-Anti cancer effects against breast and protest cancer-Anti cancerousproperties against breast and protest cancer are found in okra.