Okra is the fruit of a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same family as the hibiscus and cotton plants. It is green and pod-shaped. Okra is often used in cooking, and if popular fresh, cooked, frozen, pickled, or canned. When cut, okra releases a sticky substance with thickening properties, useful for soups and stews. Gumbos, Brunswick stew, and pilaus are some well-known dishes which commonly use okra. Okra is often served in salads, stews, breaded and fried, or raw.
Okra is not only great for cooking but also possesses important nutritional value. Okra contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber. It is a good source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and magnesium. Okra has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and homocysteine-lowering abilities. Okra has also been used for asthma, bruising, and cataracts. Okra enhance the immune system.