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Interesting and Healthy Facts About Okra; Plus, 9 Delicious Recipes for You to Try

Interesting and Healthy Facts About Okra; Plus, 9 Delicious Recipes for You to Try

Because of its inherent slimy texture, okra doesn’t appear at the top of most people’s “favorite veggies” list. However, okra is a wonderful and nutritious food, and when prepared well can come out completely non-slimy. Read on for some interesting facts about okra and then check out some delicious recipes that will convert even the most ardent okra haters into okra lovers.

1. Okra is actually a fruit. A fruit is defined as anything that contains seeds. Okra has seeds and is therefore a fruit, but because it lacks the sweetness of a pineapple or an apple, it is regarded as a vegetable.

2. Okra is also called ladies’ fingers. Perhaps if the vegetable went by it’s alternate name, it would have more fans.

3. When storing okra for later use, never wash it as the moisture will cause it to become slimy. Instead, put in a paper bag and refrigerate.

4. When okra is cooked it can turn into a slimy, gooey unappetizing mess. This can be remedied by either roasting it or preparing it with vinegar or lemon juice beforehand.

5. Okra doesn’t have to be cooked to be eaten. It tastes great raw in salads.

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6. Step aside, kale! Okra is a superfood. It is low in calories, but high in calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and magnesium. It also contains a good dose of vitamins C, K, and A, and can enhance the immune system.

7. Okra has many health benefits. It has been found to reduce asthma symptoms, prevent diabetes, relieve constipation, and help those suffering from exhaustion and depression.

8. Okra can keep skin smooth and help prevent pimples. It also can rejuvenate hair. Just slice okra horizontally, boil until it becomes very slimy, cool the brew, mix with a few drops of lemon, and then rinse your hair out with it.

9. Really mature (old) okra is used to make rope and paper, so avoid those when shopping for okra to eat.

Now, on to the good stuff. Who knew there were so many tasty ways to cook okra?

Delicious Okra Recipes

1. Bacon Wrapped Okra Poppers

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bacon-wrapped-okra-poppers

    Everything tastes better with bacon…including okra!

    2. Crock-Pot Sausage Gumbo

    crock-pot-sausage-gumbo

      A flavorful and delicious recipe that is super easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

      3. Okra Pilaf

      okra-pilaf

        A South Carolina okra pilaf with okra, rice, bacon and green bell pepper. This tasty dish also goes by the name of Limpin’ Susan.

        4. Creole Chicken Okra

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        creole-chicken-okra

          Hearty, healthy and filling, this recipe uses tons of vegetables and spice, but comes together quickly to make a great weeknight meal.

          5. Okra Parmigiana

          okra-parmigiana

            A delicious southern take on Eggplant Parmigiana using okra instead of eggplant. Okra never tasted so good.

            6. Okra and Corn Maque Choux

            okra-and-corn-maque-choux

              A classic Cajun dish of sautéd fresh vegetables. FYI, Maque Choux is pronounced “mock shoe.”

              7. Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, and Okra Gumbo

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              shrimp-andouille-and-okra-gumbo

                This authentic shrimp, andouille, and okra gumbo recipe is simmered for hours and is like a true taste of New Orleans in your kitchen.

                8. “Gumbo-laya” Stew

                gumbo-laya-stew

                  Full of zesty flavors, this “Gumbo-laya” Stew is the best of gumbo and jambalaya in one with spicy sausage, chicken, shrimp and okra over fragrant garlic rice.

                  9. Baked Popcorn Okra

                  baked-popcorn-okra

                    Okra tossed in chickpea flour batter, coated in spiced breadcrumbs and baked until crunchy crisp.

                    Do you have an appetite for okra after reading this article? Which recipe are you most excited to try?

                    Featured photo credit: ***Karen/Flickr via flickr.com

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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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