Vegetables are highly nutritious. They are rich in fibers, minerals and vitamins.
Some vegetables also have antioxidant properties with significant health effects.
The vegetables that form part of our diet are also nutritionally diverse, and when it comes to starch, there are two categories of vegetables.
Some vegetables have a greater starch content than the others; these vegetables are known as starchy vegetables.
Vegetables that do not have a significant starch content are known as the non-starchy vegetables.
Okra is grown for its nutrient rich pods which are used to make soups, sauces and gumbo. Okra is rich in fiber but contains only a small amount of starch, and therefore It is a non-starchy vegetable.
This vegetable belongs to the mallow family and is closely related to plants such as cotton. It is found mostly in Asia and Africa.
It has a slimy texture when its pods are opened, and the slime is rich in soluble fiber.
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Why is okra a non-starchy vegetable?
Okra is a non starchy vegetable as the pods of okra do not contain significant amount of starch per serving.
Although okra has some amount of carbohydrates, most of its carbohydrates is made up of dietary fiber and not starch.
What makes a vegetable starchy?
When a vegetable is said to be a starchy vegetable, it means that they have significant amount of starch in them.
Vegetables like potatoes, maize and green peas contain lots of starch, and they are classified as starchy vegetables.
Starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables
The carbohydrate content of starchy vegetables is greater than that of non-starchy vegetables.
Starch is made up of lots of glucose molecules, and therefore starchy foods could raise blood sugar levels when digested.
Non starchy vegetables have minimal effects on blood sugar. They are usually high in fiber as well as in other important nutrients.
A serving of non starchy vegetables could have about 5 grams of carbohydrates.
There’s a long list of vegetables that are considered non starchy vegetables and they include celery, tomatoes, egg plants, kale, cabbages, Brussels sprouts cucumber and asparagus.
Carbohydrate content of okra
Carbohydrates in food include starch, sugars and dietary fiber.
Starch is a type of carbohydrate that contains many glucose unit. When starch is broken down and digested, it could raise blood sugar levels.
Dietary fibers are types of carbohydrates which are not digested, they are very beneficial when it comes to digestive health as they improve gastric motility.
In a 100g of okra, there are about 7g of carbohydrates of which most of these are dietary fibers.
Okra is known for its mucilage, the slimy substance inside the pods. This substance contains a dietary fiber known as soluble fiber and is also important for digestive health.
Uses of okra
Okra is used in numerous ways to produced different recipes. Okra could be stir-fried, braised or sautéed.
It could be used as a thickener for sauces and stews. Okra is usually a component of gumbo, a popular meal.
The seeds of okra are also used as a non-caffeinated coffee substitute.
We are always encouraged to include vegetables to our diet because of the nutrients they contain and the health benefits.
Okra has an impressive nutrient profile. It is rich in nutrients including vitamins and minerals.
It is also low in calories.
Okra is a good source of dietary fiber, and dietary fiber helps to promote bowel function
Research into the effects of okra in diabetes management is still in its early stages, however, it has been shown to have some potentials in lowering blood sugar levels.
Okra also has some antioxidants which has beneficial effects.