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Okra - The Little Veggie That Could

Origin: Okra originated in Ethoipia in 12th century B.C. Travelers introduced it to the middle east and eventually it entered into the southern area of North America through the slave trade.

Types: There are three main Okra pods to choose from: Annie Oakley (a compact plant with extra tender pods), Dwarf Green Long Pods (longer, ribbed pods) and the Clemson Spineless.

Benefits: Not much of a popular choice, Okra may be one of the misunderstood vegetable. It contains a powerful pack of valuable nutrients, of which almost half is soluble fiber, contained in its gums and pectins. Along with lowering serum cholesterol, soluble fiber is yet another component of helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Okra also contains insoluble fiber which helps keep your intestinal tract healthy and strong, subsequently, decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer.

Okra is also a well known producer of glutathione, a protein molecule made up of three amino acids. Researchers at Emory University found that of the 1800 people in their study, those with the highest intake of glutathione were 50% less likely to develop oral and throat cancers than those with lower levels of the amino acid. And, for good measure the little spiny pod also boasts nearly 10% of the RDA of vitamin B6 and folic acid, 22% Vitamin C, 11% magnesium and combined fiber equals about 8%, if you consume atleast a half of a cup serving.

Blurb: A favored southern dish, okra is best known for its addition to gumbo or fried with a corn meal coating. It is also used in cooking for its thickening ability as well as its rich flavor. Look for okra in the duration of mid-spring through October; and, when choosing your pods, look for vibrance in color and avoid any length over four inches long as well as those that are limp and blemished.

Submitted by:

Sherri L Dodd

Sherri L Dodd is the creator and author of the newly-released book, Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Moms. She is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She has lectured to groups on her fitness plan and is a freelance writer on the topics of fitness and general nutrition as well as the humorous side of motherhood.



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