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20 Health Benefits Of Okra That Are Constantly Overlooked

20 Health Benefits Of Okra That Are Constantly Overlooked

Okra is a funny little green vegetable with a funny little name. A small, spear-shaped green veggie with a mild taste, okra resembles a pepper and has been cultivated as a food source for hundreds of years.

Today, it is used in a variety of dishes around the world. In the southern U.S., it is an old favorite for thickening gumbo thanks to its gooey texture when cooked in water. It can also be chopped into stir fries or roasted in the oven for a crispier dish. More and more people are now getting creative with okra as its versatility and nutritional spectrum becomes better known.

While okra might be easy to overlook in the produce section, don’t overlook it in your health and weight-loss regimen. Okra packs impressive amounts of nutrients into its little pods. Here are 20 impressive benefits of the deceptively simple looking okra:

1. It keeps you feeling full

Okra’s dietary fiber helps you feel full for longer, which will keep you from snacking on those stray potato chips after dinner.

2. It’s great for your digestion

The fiber is the main factor here again. High fiber content is great for the digestive tract and keeps you going more regularly. This not only helps keep your weight down, but makes you healthier over all.

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3. It’s a low calorie food

It’s always nice when a food can satisfy your hunger and help you stay trim. The low caloric count of okra means you can definitely scoop another spoonful onto your dish and still see the numbers go down on the scale.

4. It’s a diuretic

That means it helps the body detoxify itself and helps you shed excess water weight. A great weapon in your arsenal for de-bloating!

5. It helps control cholesterol levels

The pectin in okra lowers LDL or bad cholesterol, which improves cardiac function.

6. It’s cancer fighting

Packed with antioxidants, okra can provide much-needed support to cells in fighting off free-radicals that can lead to cancer.

7. It boosts the immune system

The healthy fiber in okra feeds much-needed good bacteria in our intestines, which builds our immunity against viruses and infection.

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8. It supports fertility and healthy pregnancy

The high amount of folates in okra are especially important in a pre-conception diet as it “decreases the incidence of neural tube defects in offspring“. Likewise, eating more folates during the pregnancy helps support a healthy mom and baby.

9. It stabilizes blood sugar levels

Okra’s fiber content is also responsible for slowing down the rate of sugar absorption in the digestive tract.

10. It helps prevent diabetes

Research has shown that in addition to its stabilizing effects on blood sugar, okra actually reduces blood sugar levels and could be an option for diabetes prevention.

11. It helps prevent kidney disease

Studies have shown that eating more okra results in the reduction of kidney damage over time.

12. It may help reduce asthma symptoms

Okra’s powerful dose of vitamin C has been linked to easing respiratory issues like asthma.

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13. It can give you shiny, bouncy hair

Okra boiled, cooled, and mixed with lemon juice can be applied to your hair for a nice bouncy finish. Neat, huh?

14. It’s good for your brain

Okra is believed to be a top brain food and is eaten frequently in the Middle and Far East by students who need a mental boost.

15. It’s anti-inflammatory

That means it’s good for joints, as well as treating lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.

16. It’s good for eye health

Okra’s nutrients like vitamins C and A have been linked to a reduction in the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

17. It supports strong bones

Thanks to its vitamin K and folates, okra has been credited with preventing bone loss and fending off osteoporosis.

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18. It’s great for your skin

The high vitamin C content helps the growth and rejuvenation of skin cells and collagen, which keeps skin looking smoother, younger and healthier

19. It’s a great source of vegetable protein

With 2 grams of protein per cup, okra is an easily-digestible, vegetarian source of filling, fibrous protein.

20. It supports ulcer healing

Okra coats the digestive tract when consumed and helps speed the healing of peptic ulcers.

So whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just eating healthier to feel better and prevent future health issues, okra should definitely make it onto your next grocery list.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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