National vegetable of Pakistan; Its Health Benefits

The national vegetable of Pakistan is Okra, commonly known as Ladyfinger. It has rich nutritional value, including minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and plenty of fibers. The origin of Okra is traditionally traced from Ethiopia to Arabia then came to Egypt; however, its origin is disputed with the geographical regions like South Asian, Ethiopian, and West African heritage.

national-vegetable-of-pakistan

Ladyfinger is typically classified as a fruit. However, it is often used as a vegetable. It can be cooked alone and along with other dishes. Due to its stickiness, it helps to increase the quantity of soup and thickness of stew. It can substitute different things, for example, as an egg substitute and non-caffeinated coffee substitute.

How does Lady Finger look?

It’s a green vegetable. It has a finger-like shape with a tip on the tapering end. A bulging head is lighter in color. The head of the vegetable is usually inedible. That’s why it is removed. One can observe round white colored seeds in the cross-section of the vegetable. stickiness is also observed in the inner portion of Ladyfinger

Benefits of Bhindi,بھنڈی, ladyfinger National vegetable of pakistan

Benefits of ladyfinger is described in this video

Uses of National Vegetable of Pakistan

Ladyfinger has edible seed pods. Planting along with seeds has several uses.

1- Uses of Leaves and Seeds of Ladyfinger

Leaves of Ladyfinger are used in cooking and salad. Its seeds can be roasted and grounded. Oil is extracted from the seeds of Ladyfinger, which has a good taste and odor.

2- Industrial use of Ladyfinger

From the stem of the ladyfinger plant, bast fiber is used in industries that may be used to remove the turbidity of wastewater. In addition, biodegradable food packaging is being developed from the ladyfinger plant.

3- Medical use of Ladyfinger

Ladyfinger is a rich source of fiber. It is observed that seven large-sized pods of Ladyfinger are equal to 3 gm of fiber. Intake of Ladyfinger improves glycemic control and enhances insulin activity. In addition, the seeds of Ladyfinger have the antioxidant and anti-stress effect, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. It also helps in recovery and fatigue levels.

Ladyfinger

4- Culinary uses of Ladyfinger

1.Bhindi Masala with gravy may be used as the main course served with phulka, roti. daal, rice, etc.

2.Bhindi pakora or crispy fried bhindi may be used as a starter

3.Stir-fried bhindi with peanuts

4. Piyaz wali bhindi

Health benefits of Ladyfinger

Ladyfinger is the primary source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K1. Vitamin C helps to increase immunity. On the other hand, Vitamin K1 is known as fat-soluble as it is low in calories and carbs. In addition, unlike other vegetables and fruits, it contains protein that makes it unique. Protein helps in weight management, controls blood sugar level, strengthens bone structure and muscles.

1- Antioxidant beneficiary

Ladyfinger contains antioxidants that benefit our health by protecting us from harmful molecules. Polyphenols, flavonoids, and isoquercetin are the primary antioxidants that improve heart health as they lower the risk of blood clots and oxidative damage.

2- Lower down the heart disease risk

Ladyfinger helps to lower down the cholesterol level and inflammation that causes the protection of heart diseases. This is because the plant of Ladyfinger contains a sticky substance in its stem, which is called mucilage. Mucilage binds to cholesterol in the digestion process and does not absorb in our body.

3- Ladyfinger as an Anti-cancer

national-vegetable-of-pakistan

A specific protein named Lectin is found in Ladyfinger, which prevents the growth of cancer cells.

4- Lower down blood sugar

Ladyfinger maintains blood sugar levels that improve our blood health. However, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

5- Beneficial in pregnancy

Ladyfinger contains an essential nutrient called Folate (vitamin B9), which is helpful for pregnant women. It lowers down the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube plays a vital role in developing a fetus. Pregnant women should consume 400 mcg of Folate daily.

6- Beneficial for Eyes

Ladyfinger contains a carotenoid nutrient that maintains vision. It has three dietary carotenoids called lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso zeaxanthin which help in pigmentation.

7- Beneficial for skin

The carotenoid substance found in Ladyfinger helps for the growth and repair of skin. In addition, it protects from UV rays. It also has an anti-aging effect.

8- Production of RBCs

Ladyfinger contains Vitamin Folate B9, which helps in the production of RBCs. It improves the deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women. Folate is beneficial for women who are planning to conceive.

Ladyfinger

9- Ladyfinger helps in weight loss.

Ladyfinger is rich in fiber and low in calories, so it helps in weight loss.

10- Lady Finger benefits for the stomach

Ladyfinger helps in the digestion process, so it relieves constipation and benefits the stomach ultimately. It has natural laxatives and soluble fiber.

11- Protein Provider

Seeds of Ladyfinger are the primary source of oil and protein. Unlike other vegetables, Ladyfinger contains a good amount of protein.

Cooking Methods of Ladyfinger

Ladyfinger is used for cooking dishes as the main course, as a starter, soups, stews, etc. Usually, it contains a sticky gel-like substance. To avoid sliminess, follow these techniques.

  • Ladyfinger should be cooked at high heat.
  • Pan should be wide to avoid sliminess.
  • Pickling okra may reduce the slime factor.
  • The addition of tomatoes can reduce gumminess.
  • It can be roasted in the oven after slicing
  • Can grill it.
  • Excessive eating of a Ladyfinger can be harmful.
  • Eating Ladyfinger may cause gastrointestinal disease. As it contains nutrients that may cause diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating to those people who have existing bowel problems.

 

Ladyfinger

Cooking Recipe of Ladyfinger

  1. Before cooking, the first step is to rinse it in the water of about 250 gm of Ladyfinger. Let it dry. Water or moisture can cause sliminess.
  2. Chopping is the next step—Chop Ladyfinger to a half-inch piece. Then slice the onion. Chop one large tomato and green chili.
  3. After heating the pan, add oil. Now add half teaspoon cumin seed and 1 tbsp garlic paste. Saute them for 30 seconds.
  4. Now add sliced onion and chopped green chili
  5. Keep them frying till it becomes golden brown.
  6. Add in chopped Ladyfinger now
  7. Fry them till they are half cooked
  8. Keep on stirring and add half a teaspoon of salt to it.
  9. Now add half 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, half teaspoon of red chili powder, and garam masala.
  10.  Now saute it.
  11.  Add in sliced tomatoes.
  12.  Fry for a while and cover the lid of the pan till tomatoes become soft.
  13.  Serve it with rice or roti.

Risks and Precautions

  • Kidney stones: Ladyfinger contains oxalates that are kind of kidney stones. It has calcium oxalate, which causes kidney stones.
  • Inflammation: Ladyfinger is high in solanine; it causes joint pain, arthritis, and inflammation. 
  • Blood clotting: Vitamin K may cause blood clotting that may result in heart attacks.

To sum up

Ladyfinger is a fruit but is commonly used as a vegetable. It has high nutritional value and health benefits as it is rich in magnesium. In addition, it contains Folate and fiber. It is a good antioxidant and a good source of vitamin C, K1, and A. It lowers the sugar level, heart disease, and cholesterol due to its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

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