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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 May 22, 2019

                    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                    1. Cat Camel Stretch

                    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                    3. Jumping Jacks

                    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                    4. Abductor Side Lifts

                    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                    5. Balancing Table Pose

                    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                    ablab

                      6. Leg Squats

                      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                      7. Push Ups

                      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                      8. Bicycle Crunches

                      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                      9. Lunges

                      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                      10. Bicep Curls

                      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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