The national vegetable of Pakistan is Okra, commonly known as Ladyfinger. It has rich nutritional value, including minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and many fibers. As it descends from Ethiopia to Arabia and then to Egypt, the origin of Okra is disputed by geographical regions such as South Asia, Ethiopia, and West Africa.
It is usually considered fruit but often used as a vegetable. It can be cooked alone or alongside other dishes. Its stickiness increases the amount and thickness of soups and stews. The product can replace some items, such as eggs and non-caffeinated coffee.
How does Lady Finger look?
The vegetable has a finger-like shape with a tapering tip. The head of the vegetable is usually inedible. It is why it is removed. It has a bulging head. It’s generally light in color, so it is usually not eaten. Observe the round seeds that are surrounded by a white, seedless material. It is also possible to observe some stickiness in the inner part of Ladyfinger.
Uses of National Vegetable of Pakistan
Ladyfinger National Vegetable of Pakistan has edible seed pods that can be planted along with seeds, which can be used in various ways.
Uses for Ladyfinger Leaves and Seeds
You can cook and eat the leaves of Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) in salads, or you can roast and grind the seeds, and you can extract the oil from the seeds, which has a wonderful taste and aroma. Its seeds can be roasted and ground.
Industrial use of Ladyfinger
There is also the possibility of developing biodegradable food packaging using the stem of the ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) plant to create biodegradable packaging for the food industry. Bast fiber comes from the stem of the ladyfinger plant and can be used as a turbidity remover in wastewater.
Medical use of Ladyfinger
A high content of fiber is found in Ladyfinger National Vegetable of Pakistan. It has been observed that a single pod of Ladyfinger contains 3 grams of fiber, which is more than enough fiber to control glycemic levels and enhance insulin activity. It is also known that Ladyfinger seeds have anti-oxidant and anti-stress properties, which contribute to lower cholesterol levels and improve recovery and fatigue levels.
Culinary uses of Ladyfinger
- Bhindi Masala with gravy may be the main course with phulka and roti—Daal, rice, etc.
- Bhindi pakora or crispy fried bhindi may be used as a starter.
- Stir-fried bhindi with peanuts
- Piyaz wali bhindi
Health benefits of Ladyfinger
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) 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 manage weight, controls blood sugar levels, and strengthens the bone structure and muscles.
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) 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.
Lower the heart disease risk
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) helps to lower the cholesterol level and inflammation that causes the protection of heart diseases. It is because the plant Ladyfinger contains a sticky substance in its stem, which is called mucilage. Mucilage binds to cholesterol in digestion and does not absorb it in our body.
Ladyfinger as an Anti-cancer
A specific protein named Lectin is found in Ladyfinger, which prevents the growth of cancer cells. Ladyfinger, also known as okra, is a vegetable rich in nutrients and fiber. While some studies suggest that okra may have potential anti-cancer properties, the evidence is currently limited, and further research is needed.
Okra contains compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and polysaccharides that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have also suggested that okra extracts may have anti-cancer effects, such as inhibiting the growth of cancer cells or inducing cancer cell death in laboratory settings.
However, it’s important to note that these studies have been done in vitro (in cell cultures) or animal models, and more research is needed to determine whether these effects would be seen in humans. Additionally, simply eating okra as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to prevent or cure cancer.
Lower blood sugar
Ladyfinger maintains blood sugar levels that improve our blood health. However, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
Beneficial during pregnancy
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) contains an essential nutrient called Folate (vitamin B9), which is helpful for pregnant women. It lowers the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube plays a vital role in developing a fetus. Pregnant women should consume 400 mg of Folate daily.
Beneficial for the eyes
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) contains a carotenoids nutrient that maintains vision. It has three dietary carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, which help with pigmentation.
Beneficial for the skin
The carotenoid substance found in Ladyfinger helps with the growth and repair of skin. In addition, it protects against UV rays. It also has an anti-aging effect.
Production of RBCs
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) 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 helps in weight loss
It is because it is low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel fuller for more extended periods, reducing your overall calorie intake. Additionally, okra is rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C and calcium and potassium, making it a healthy addition to any diet. However, it’s imperative to remember that weight loss ultimately comes down to creating a calorie deficit. Therefore, incorporating okra into your diet alone may not lead to significant weight loss if you’re not practicing portion control and regular exercise.
Lady Finger benefits for the stomach
The high fiber content in okra can help promote healthy digestion by preventing constipation and maintaining regular bowel movements. Additionally, okra is rich in mucilage, a gel-like substance that can help soothe and protect the digestive tract, potentially reducing the risk of ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues. Okra also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect against digestive disorders and promote overall digestive health. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s digestive system is different, and okra may not suit everyone. If you have concerns about incorporating okra into your diet, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional.
Seeds of Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) are the primary source of oil and protein. Unlike other vegetables, Ladyfinger contains a good amount of protein.
Cooking Methods of Ladyfinger
Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan) 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.
- The temperature should be high when cooking ladyfingers.
- Pans 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.
- You can grill it.
- A Ladyfinger can be harmful if consumed in excess.
- Eating Ladyfinger may cause gastrointestinal disease as it contains nutrients that may cause diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating in people with existing bowel problems.
Cooking Recipe of Ladyfinger
Before cooking, the first step is to rinse it in the water of about 250 gm of Ladyfinger (National Vegetable of Pakistan). Let it dry. Water or moisture can cause slimness.
Chopping is the next step—Chop Ladyfinger to a half-inch piece. Then slice the onion. Chop one large tomato and green chili.
- After heating the pan:
- Add oil.
- Add half a teaspoon of cumin seed and 1 tbsp garlic paste.
- Saute them for 30 seconds.
- Now add sliced onion and chopped green chili.
- Keep them frying till it becomes golden brown.
- Add in chopped Ladyfinger now.
- Fry them till they are half cooked.
- Keep on stirring, and add half a teaspoon of salt to it.
- Add half 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of red chili powder, and garam masala.
- Now saute it.
- Add in sliced tomatoes.
- Fry briefly and cover the pan’s lid until the tomatoes become soft.
- 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 (National Vegetable of Pakistan) 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 contains vitamins C, K1, and A. It lowers sugar, heart disease, and cholesterol due to its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
Ladyfinger, also known as okra, is the national vegetable of Pakistan and is widely used in Pakistani cuisine. It is a nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Okra has several potential health benefits, including promoting healthy digestion, potentially reducing the risk of ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues, and aiding in weight loss. However, as with any food, it’s important to consume okra in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Additionally, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about incorporating okra into your diet.