Okra is an unusual vegetable as it contains a mucilaginous gum which thickens stews and casseroles. It is known for its use in gumbo in Creole cooking however it has a wider range of uses and is worth including on a more regular basis.
A small study of okra conducted in 2013 (1) showed that okra reduced the production of fat and increased the breakdown of cholesterol. The only other food with a similar cholesterol lowering effect is oats.
Nutritionally okra has a high level of Vitamin C and folate as well as moderate levels of magnesium and potassium.
Looking around for recipes for okra I was focussed on finding a breakfast option to copy the one I had enjoyed in Fiji at a breakfast buffet. What I did find was some really useful side dishes which would add flavour to any meal.
1 Roast sweet potato and okra this is a good combination of flavours and additional vegetables as a side for grilled meats.
2. Tomato and okra stew a filling side dish or a tasty breakfast option.
3. Okra and Potato Hash this would make a good breakfast option as well as a side dish.
4. Easy Roast Okra this is a simple roasted version with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Of course no blog on okra would be complete without a gumbo recipe and this chicken and chorizo gumbo from Taste.com looked straightforward.
Let me know whether you find okra is a worthwhile addition to your vegetable intake after you have tried the recipes.
Christine Pope is a naturopath and nutritionist based at Elemental Health at St Ives. You can make appointments on 02 80084 0081 or online at the website .
(1) Hypolipidemic activity of okra is mediated through inhibition of lipogenesis and upregulation of cholesterol degradation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23606408