Okra known in many English-speaking countries as ladies’ fingers, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of West African, Ethiopian, and South Asian origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Okra is a classic southern vegetable, often served stewed with tomatoes, simmered in a gumbo or simply fried. If you don’t like okra, it’s probably because you haven’t had it cooked correctly. Okra’s slime, or what botanists call mucilage, can turn any vegetable lover into an okra hater. But if you’ve given up on this vegetable, you may want to give it another try. It’s low in calories and a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate and magnesium.
Energy density refers to the number of calories a food contains by weight. Foods with a low energy density have fewer calories per gram of weight, which means you get to eat a larger portion and consume fewer calories. A 1/2-cup serving, which is 80 grams, of boiled and drained okra has 25 calories, or 0.3 calories per gram. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, eating more low-energy-dense foods like okra can help.
Carbs and Fiber
Most of the calories in okra come from carbs, with 6 grams per 1/2-cup serving. Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient your body needs to function properly. It is also the body’s preferred source of energy. Some of the carbs in the okra come from its fiber content. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked okra contains 2 grams of fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body cannot digest, and eating more fiber-rich foods can help lower blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.