What is Bhindi (Ladies Finger)? 10 Proven Health Benefits

As health concerned individuals, it is always great to know what the best foods for a healthy diet are. There are endless varieties of foods to choose from.

One such healthy green veggie that you can add to your diet is the ladies finger. It has several health benefits and can be cooked in a variety of ways as well.

What is Bhindi, Ladies finger?

What is Bhindi, Ladies finger?

Ladies finger is a very common Indian vegetable. It is commonly known as Bhindi in the Hindi language. It is also popularly referred to as Okra. Its scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus.

The okra plant is a climbing vine that bears flowers. These flowers then transform into pod-like green vegetables. These pods are none other than the common okra.

The ladies finger is named so because of its long slender appearance. The okra tapers at the end and has a lighter green bulge at the top. This bulging portion is removed as the edible top part of the ladies finger.

Cutting open the ladies finger reveals small and rounded white seeds. The ladies finger is famously known for its slimy texture once opened. It has a sticky internal feel.

These green vegetables can be had in a lot of ways. They can be slit from the middle, cut into little cylindrical pieces, slit from the centre and deseeded, etc.

Ladies fingers are one among the most liked vegetables. They can be made into curries; stir-fried, boiled, and even filled and cooked.

Before using any vegetable, it is crucial to clean and wash them to avoid the effect of any harmful chemicals found on the veggies. Clean and wash the okra before cutting for cooking. Check for worms and remove them.

The top bulge and the pointy lower end of the ladies finger are cut off and separated. 

How to select the best quality ladies finger?

How to select the best quality ladies finger

Well, you do need to have some prior tips to know for selecting the freshest and healthy ladies fingers for your food.

Ladies fingers are easily available in grocery stores and markets. They are not very expensive, either.

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To make sure that you pick up the best quality ones all you need is some attention.

  • Go for slender, moderately thick and long, and dark green ladies fingers. Avoid the ones that have spots, black lines, blemishes, holes, etc.
  • Do not pick up shrunken ladies fingers as they may have lost of the moisture.
  • Another way of picking out fresh and nice ladies fingers is to check by popping the bottom of the ladies finger. Use a slight pressure of your thumb to break a small portion of the tapered tip of the okra. If the bottom breaks easily with a pop sound, it implies that the vegetable is fresh.

Ladies fingers can stay fresh at home for up to two days before starting to dry up. You can keep them under refrigeration or prolonging the freshness for up to five days.

These green veggies can also be easily grown in your gardens. They do not take up a lot of space as they are climbing vines.

Now you know buying the best ladies finger. You are ready to use them for your diet and preparations.

Nutritional information of Ladies Finger

Nutritional information of Ladies Finger

Before moving onto the great benefits that this vegetable has to offer, let us look at its nutritional composition.

Sl. No.Nutrients available in a cup of chopped ladies finger (70 g)Amount available
1.Calories24
2.Carbohydrates4.48 g
3.Proteins1.33 g
4.Fats0.14 g
5.Fiber2.52 g
6.Sodium4.83 mg
7.Iron0.24 mg
8.Zinc0.28 mg
9.Potassium72.1 mg
10.Phosphorus39.20 mg
11.Calcium46.2 mg
12.Magnesium37.10 mg
13.Folic acid73.50 mcg
14.Vitamin C9.10 mg
15.Vitamin K15.04 mcg
16.Vitamin B60.18 mg
17.Vitamin B (riboflavin)0.07 mg
18.Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.42 mg
19.Vitamin B1 (thiamine)0.04 mg
20.Vitamin E0.35 mg

10 Health Benefits of eating ladies finger

These available nutrients that we had a look at providing very many health benefits. They are useful for various organs and bodily functions:

  1. Ladies finger assists in losing weight:

    From the nutritional elements table, we can see that the okra is very low in calories. They are low in carbs and fats as well, which leads to weight gain issues. The presence of dietary fiber in ladies fingers is also assisting in weight loss and management. 

  1. Great for many goals:

    The okra is beneficial for a lot of people with varying health conditions. It is a greatly sufficing vegetable for fitness enthusiasts, pre-diabetics, diabetics, health watchers, etc. We will have a deeper look at how people with blood sugar issues can be benefitted from the consumption of this vegetable.

  1. Ladies fingers promote better immunity:

    Bhindi is also efficient in supplying the body with vitamin C. This is a great element for boosting immunity levels. Carotenoids found in okra promote anti-oxidant properties and protect the human body from many potential risks and chronic ailments caused by everyday factors.

  1. It is efficient in reducing cholesterol levels in the body:

    Ladies finger is also packed with soluble fibre present in the forms of pectin and gums. This nutrient works to bind cholesterol and bile that hold toxins that are dumped into it. This, in turn, clears the toxins and helps in decreasing the harmful levels of cholesterol.

  1. The cholesterol reduction aids a healthy heart:

    The pectin that clears bile of highly alarming bad cholesterols, and the fibre, which is helpful in the natural reduction of blood cholesterol work to promote heart health. This is very useful for cardiovascular patients and for other ailments that have symptoms on the heart.

  1. Ladies finger also controls constipation:

    Another quality of the fiber that is present in ladies fingers is its laxative, promoting goodness. The mucilage of the okra adds bulk to the diet. Eventually, the normal frequency and process of stool formation are restored, and constipation is prevented.

  2. It also decreases the potential of developing colon cancer:

    As we already saw, the soluble fibre of the ladies finger is great in maintaining good digestion and excretion. This takes the load off the intestinal functioning and improves the digestive tract health. This quality is rather beneficial in preventing the chances of colorectal cancer.

  1. It assists in the production of RBCs:

    Folate or vitamin B9 is necessary for the usual production of red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. The mucilage present in ladies fingers has medicinal effects on improving blood quality. This feature is the most beneficial for women who are pregnant, as they require Folate for a good and healthy pregnancy period.

  1. It promotes vision and eye health:

    The carotenoids such as – Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-zeaxanthin are three very optimal nutrients that benefit eye health. These promote better vision and also keep the eyes safe and protected.

  1. Also great for maintaining healthy skin:

    The many vitamins and minerals help in the management of cell reproduction. This aids a faster and better replacement of skin cells that are affected due to sun damage. The renewal of skin cells also helps with anti-ageing, prevention of wrinkles, etc.

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Can Diabetics eat Ladies finger?

Can-Diabetics-eat-Ladies-finger

Well, as we already discussed – YES! Ladies finger is rather a much-recommended vegetable for diabetics. It is great for blood sugar level management and reduction.

The Glycemic Index of ladies finger is also very low. Diabetics are said to stick to and encourage the intake of foods that are low in the Glycemic Index. They do not have raising effects on one’s blood sugars.

The Glycemic Index of Ladies finger is only 20. The food items whose Glycemic Index ranges from 0 to 55, are said to fall under the low GI category. Okra is a great Low GI food and thus, beneficial for being included in a diabetic diet.

The presence of many essential vitamin and minerals also help in the controlling of various side-effects that diabetes has on one’s body. Such as:

  • The properties of maintaining good cholesterol levels are essential for diabetic health. They promote a healthy heart. Diabetes often brings upon the risks of cardiovascular complications.
  • They are also great for managing one’s weight. The management of healthy body weight is a crucial criterion for a healthy diabetic lifestyle. The ladies finger is packed with many useful nutrients in fewer calories.
  • Fiber is the maximum beneficial and necessary nutrition in the diet of a diabetic patient. It assists in better digestion and also controls the release of glucose, which is responsible for the levels of blood sugar in the body.
  • The many minerals and vitamins found in ladies fingers keep away the risks developed by free radicals in the body. They are anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements that improve immunity.
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Are there any Side-effects of eating ladies finger?

  • As diabetic patients, if you take metformin, it is best not to take okra in the meal around your medication time.
  • They should be had in optimal amounts to reduce the chances of diarrhoea and related digestive disorders.

An ideal amount of this green vegetable can be great for various parts and functions of the body. You can include your favourite Bhindi dish, be it Dahi-Bhindi, Bhindi Masala, fried Bhindi, etc. In your diet and gain all the many benefits.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30346086/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28367155/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26516905/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29513129/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25401145/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21849051/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27065051/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32222004/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31282220/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19061990/
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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