Okra is a flowering plant with edible green seed pods. The plant is grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Okra can be cooked in many different ways. If you ask is fried Okra healthy? It is fine, but there are many different ways to cook Okra and we will take a look at the origins and how to cook it.
Is Fried Okra Healthy?
Okra was first introduced to the Americas by slave ships in 1658. It is a green pod vegetable with leaves of 10-20 centimeters with big white or yellow petals, and the fruit in the pod contains lots of seeds. The Okra is a highly heat and drought-tolerant vegetable, and because the crop is ready within 8-10 weeks of propagation it is a cost-effective crop to grow.
Okra is a healthy vegetable with raw Okra containing 90% water, 7% carbohydrate, and masses of fiber. Vitamins contained are Vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamin, folate, and magnesium. Okra is a staple in hot third world climates where many crops fail, helping to fulfill the dietary needs of the population. When it was first used by the African slaves they would often cook up a Gumbo, a strongly flavored stew containing meat and Okra with Coriander, that made it taste like curry, and Gumbo is still a favorite dish in the Southern States.
It is easy to fry Okra in oil, and when pan-fried, it brings out the flavor and is ready to eat in about 3 minutes. Okra is normally in season in fall, and there is nothing nicer or healthier than some fried Ochra pods. Okra is a superfood with strong antioxidant properties, and there are lots of recipes for fried Okra pods chopped up, that the children will love. They will be getting their health benefits without even knowing they are eating a vegetable.
Is Fried Okra Good For You?
Yes, Okra in any form is good for you, but there is something really nice about fried Okra. If you dip the Okra in egg mix and oatmeal before frying it in the oil, it tastes nutty and sweet. Because Okra is high in unsaturated fats, it smells and tastes great when fried probably due to the oleic and linolic acid contained in it. You can even stir fry it quite lightly, and make an Asian fusion dish using some chicken and cashews, even Bok Choy, and soy to give it an Exotic Asian flavor. Having a good supply of fresh green vegetables makes a difference to your family’s diet, so grow the Okra yourself, if the climate allows!
Is Fried Okra Bad for You?
The only way you can make Okra bad for you is by cooking it in the wrong type of fats. Trans fat is bad for our health and is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. Any food cooked in partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat. You will commonly find it in pre-prepared fried foods like those that may be served in a canteen. The way to completely avoid this scenario is to cook your Okra in good fat like Olive Oil and Avacado Oil. When you cook with the wrong oils trans fatty acids enter the bloodstream and slowly clog the arteries, leading to heart disease and heart attacks later in life. Unfortunately, this can mean giving up many of our takeaway favorites as they are often the worst offenders.
The FDA was looking at banning foods with a high trans fatty acid content, and I am not sure where this process is at. Even what I thought was healthy food, microwave popcorn, contains trans-fatty acids, so you do have to read the labels. You don’t want to ruin your lovely fresh Okra by cooking it in the wrong type of fat.
Is Fried Okra Gluten Free?
All fruit and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, so if you eat the Okra boiled or stir-fried it is fine. Be careful if you add a crumbed coating as crumbs usually contain gluten. The following grains must be avoided as they contain gluten.
Wheat, Barley, Rye, all bread and wraps also some condiments like Soy, BBcue Sauce, and Wheat Pasta.
However, you can eat the following: Quinoa, Buckwheat, Corn, Brown Rice, Millet, and Oats.
It is often hard for people with food intolerances to safely eat in restaurants, but you can always cook your own Okra safely at home because you know exactly what is in it. In Cuba and Peurto, Rico Okra is known as Quimbombo and they make their own form of Gumbo with it. In Asia, it is recommended to be served with chicken and spices things up a bit.
It is actually possible to eat Okra raw in a salad, but the leaves and pods must be very young and fresh, and it gives good nutritional value raw, making the best of all the vitamins contained in it.
Fried Okra Fiber
Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and most of us don’t get enough fiber, so eating Okra a few times a week would boost dietary requirements and keep us healthy. Every 100 grams of Okra contains 3.3 grams of dietary fiber, quite a high amount.
The Bast Fiber from the plant stem has industrial uses like reinforcing certain plastics, this means that non of the plant need be wasted. A 2009 study showed that Okra oil is a suitable biofuel, although I am unsure as to how to get enough of it to run a car.
Plant your Okra on the east side of the garden, so that it gets the morning sun. It makes a good companion plant for Basil, as the Basil will keep various bugs away and will consequently increase your harvest yield if nothing attacks it. In Autumn or Fall, when you finish harvesting your Okra crop, cut it right back, as in some places it will take over the whole garden and you want to keep it contained. Feed your Okra with a liquid fertilizer that is suitable for food crops, and it may need mulching.