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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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