Top 8 Health Benefits Of Lady Finger AKA Bhindi
Do you recall those moments when you might have wrinkled your nose at the thought of having bhindi (okra) for lunch? Interestingly, the unassuming bhindi, also known as lady's finger, holds a treasure trove of health and nutritional advantages. This somewhat divisive green vegetable, often appreciated or disliked for its unique taste and texture, is in fact a source of abundant fibre and a range of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, and C, as well as various minerals.
Ladyfinger, also known as okra, is a vegetable rich in essential vitamins such as A, B, and C, along with valuable minerals like calcium and zinc. Its impressive nutritional profile makes it a valuable addition to a healthy diet, particularly for those seeking weight management due to its high fibre content.
Tip: Incorporate crispy, spiced ladyfinger into your snacks to stay satiated and avoid overeating.
How to Prepare Ladyfinger
Many people dislike ladyfinger due to its slimy texture, but you can avoid this issue with these tips:
- Before cutting, thoroughly dry the okra after washing.
- When sautéing, add curd or lemon juice to prevent stickiness.
- Cook ladyfinger uncovered to prevent steam buildup.
Tip: Add salt only after the ladyfinger is nearly cooked to avoid excess moisture.
Aids Weight Loss
Ladyfinger is extremely low in calories, with only 30 kcal per 100 grams, making it an excellent choice for weight loss. Its high fibre content promotes a feeling of fullness and satiety.
Tip: When using ladyfinger for weight loss, limit the use of fatty ingredients like oil, ghee, or butter.
Ladyfinger contains pectin, a type of fibre that helps lower cholesterol levels. Pectin not only removes cholesterol deposits but also reduces its absorption in the gut.
Tip: Avoid overcooking ladyfinger to retain its nutrients.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
The dietary fibre in ladyfinger, including eugenol, slows down digestion, reducing sugar absorption from the bloodstream and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Tip: Aim to include ladyfinger in at least two meals a week for maximum benefits.
Aids in Better Digestion
The high fibre content in ladyfinger supports digestion and regularizes bowel movements. Pectin, a soluble fibre, swells during digestion, facilitating waste elimination.
Tip: Ladyfinger is a valuable addition to diets for individuals dealing with constipation.
Ladyfinger's vitamin C content contributes to overall immunity. While many green vegetables offer this benefit, Ladyfinger provides additional advantages.
Tip: If you don't enjoy plain ladyfinger with roti, try adding it to mixed vegetable curries.
Improves Anemic Conditions
Ladyfinger contains iron, folate, and vitamin K, naturally boosting iron and folic acid levels, which helps combat anaemia.
Tip: Choose fresh and tender ladyfinger when purchasing, avoiding limp ones.
With abundant vitamin A and beta-carotene, ladyfinger supports eye health.
Tip: Since it can't be eaten raw, lightly sauté it with your favourite spices.
Other Uses of Ladyfinger
Ladyfinger has uses beyond consumption. It can be used as a home remedy to treat dandruff and lice infestation.
How to use it: Boil fresh ladyfingers, add lemon juice, strain the liquid, and use it as a hair rinse.
1. Guthi Bendakai (Stuffed Ladyfinger) from Andhra Pradesh
- 500g small, tender ladyfingers
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 2 tsp oil
- Five dry red chillies
- 2 ½ tsp cumin seeds
- Two sprigs of curry leaves
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp husked black gram (urad dal)
- One dry red chilli (halved)
Wash and dry the ladyfingers. Slit them lengthwise, three-quarters of the way up, without separating the segments. In a pan, heat oil, and add cumin seeds, sambar powder, dried red chillies, and curry leaves. Fry until aromatic, and cool, and grind with salt and turmeric powder. Stuff the ladyfingers with this mix. Heat oil for tempering, add the listed ingredients, sauté, then add stuffed ladyfingers and cook until tender.
2. Ladyfinger Chaat
- 200g bhindi (ladyfingers), thinly sliced and deseeded
- 1/4 cup besan (gram flour)
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- Salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, amchur, jeera powder, dhania powder (to taste)
- Oil for frying
- Chaat masala, onion, green chillies, tomato, coriander, lime juice (for garnish)
Coat the sliced ladyfingers with a mixture of dry ingredients. Fry until brown. Serve with onions, tomatoes, lime juice, chaat masala, and coriander.
3. Ladyfinger Curry
- 15 to 20 ladyfingers
- 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
- 2 tbsp tamarind
- 2-3 tbsp jaggery
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tsp sambhar powder
- 3-4 green chillies
- Coriander leaves
- Salt (to taste)
- 3 tsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- Two red chillies
- Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
- Two strands of curry leaves
Wash, cut, and pressure-cook ladyfingers and toor dal. Soak tamarind, extract juice, and add to cooked dal along with jaggery, green chillies, sambhar powder, salt, and turmeric. Boil until ladyfingers are soft. In a separate pan, heat oil, add seasoning ingredients, and pour over the curry. Garnish with coriander.
Side Effects of Ladyfingers
While ladyfingers offer numerous benefits, consuming them in moderation is advised to avoid potential side effects:
- The fructans in ladyfingers can lead to gastrointestinal issues like bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhoea.
- Ladyfingers are high in oxalates, increasing the risk of kidney stones, especially if you have a history of this condition.
- Solaine, a toxic compound, present in ladyfingers may cause inflammation, potentially leading to joint pain or arthritis in some individuals.
- If you're taking blood-thinning medication, consult your doctor before consuming excess ladyfingers due to their high vitamin K content, which aids in blood clotting.
Tip: Mix ladyfingers with other vegetables to enjoy their nutritional benefits while minimizing potential side effects.