Dr. Dharmakanta Kumbhakar
We all are familiar with the lady’s finger (the bhindi), which is a green, non-leafy vegetable. Its scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus. A wonderful vegetable, it serves as a tasty and integral part of our staple diet during summer.
A tender and mucilaginous vegetable, the lady’s finger’s dietary fiber content is very high and thus it has many digestive benefits. The fibers aid the process of digestion in the body by facilitating proper bowel movement. Pectin present in lady’s finger swells up in the intestine and helps in easier elimination of waste from the intestine. Facilitating proper absorption of water, lady’s finger ensures free motion disposal by the body and hence prevent constipation. It is also high in metabolism, and thus keeps the digestion problem away.
This vegetable helps to prevent diabetes. High dietary fibre present in the lady’s finger stabilises blood sugar levels by regulating the rate of absorption of sugar from the gastrointestinal tract, inhibiting function of enzymes required for metabolism of carbohydrate and thus enhancing production of insulin by regenerating beta cells of pancreas. Eugenol, a type of fibre present in lady’s finger helps in slowing down digestion and absorption of sugar from the blood stream.
Lady’s finger ensures lesser absorption of cholesterol with the help of soluble protein pectin present in it. Pectin helps in lowering bad cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis by helping in elimination of deposited cholesterol and clots. Antioxidants like polyphenols present in lady’s finger prevent oxidation of cholesterol and thus prevent artery blocking and heart disease. Cholesterol is a dominant content in the body that triggers obesity and heart disease. The low calorie content of lady’s finger (30 kcal / 100 gm) and its high fibre content make it a suitable food for weight loss. It provides minimum calories and its high fibre levels help in keeping us full for longer. With regular usage of this vegetable, in either raw or cooked form; we can avoid obesity to a greater extent, prevent heart diseases and ailments occurring due to high cholesterol in blood.
Lady’s finger has a higher concentration of antioxidants, which prevent damage to our cells from free radicals and protect our body from cancer. The high dietary fibre present in the lady’s finger prevents colo-rectal cancer and pectin present prevents Melanoma.Lady’s finger contains high amount of vitamin B9 or folic acid. So it is highly recommended for women during pre-conception or pregnant women as folic acid present in this vegetable can reduce neural tube defects in a new born baby. Folate helps not only in conceiving, but also helps in the development of fetus and prevention of miscarriage.
Lady’s finger contains iron, folate and Vitamin K that help in treating and avoiding anaemia. The folic acid present in lady’s finger also improves our mental function providing good nutrition to our brain.
Lady’s finger is a rich source of vitamin C. It improves our immunity and protects us from several disease and infections. It helps to maintain a younger looking and vibrant skin. It aids in repairing body tissues. The nutrients found in lady’s finger helps to prevent skin pigmentation and sun strokes. It is useful for rejuvenating our skin and repairing damages. The Vitamin A and beta carotene present in lady’s finger may be helpful in improving eyesight. Lady’s finger contains high quantity of vitamin K, which is a co-factor in blood-clotting process and also plays a major role in strengthening the bones in our body.
Asthma can also be treated by including lady’s finger in our meals. People diagnosed with asthma are strongly suggested to consume lady’s finger.
Boiling lady’s finger with some water and transparent mucilage can be used to get our bouncy hair back. The same mucilage can be used as a hair conditioner. This vegetable is an excellent moisturizer for our dry and itchy scalp. It leaves our hair feeling soft and is not harmful like other cosmetics available in the market. It is great for people with unruly and lifeless hair. Lady’s finger improves overall scalp condition and fights dandruff. It moisturizes our scalp and keeps dandruff away.