Do you remember all the times when you scrunched up your nose when you were told it’s bhindi for lunch? Well, little did you know at the time that the humble bhindi, or lady’s finger, has a host of health and nutrition benefits.
This gooey green vegetable is equally loved and hated for its taste and texture, but it is rich in fibre and other nutrients like vitamin A, B, and C with other minerals. Read on to find out more.
1. Aids Weight Loss
2. Lowers Cholesterol
3. Helps Control Blood Sugar
4. Helps In Better Digestion
5. Builds Immunity
6. Improves Anemic Condition
7. Betters Eyesight
8. Helps In Hair Health
9. Recipe Meter
10. FAQs: Benefits Of Ladies’ Finger
Aids Weight Loss
This vegetable is super low on calorie content, only 30kcal per 100 gm, which makes it an ideal option for those aiming to shed those pesky kilos. It is also known to make you feel full soon and keep you full for longer since it is high in fibre content.
Tip: Don’t load up your ladies’ finger dish with fatty foods like oil, ghee or butter; otherwise, the purpose will be defeated.
Ladies finger, apart from being great in taste, contains a fibre called pectin. It is this very fibre that helps in keeping the cholesterol levels low (especially bad cholesterol), by reducing the absorption of cholesterol by the gut and removing any deposits and clots.
Tip: Don’t overcook ladies’ finger; it will lose a lot of the nutrients.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Since the ladies’ finger is high in several kinds of fibres, they bring various health benefits. This vegetable contains the fibre eugenol, which assists in slowing the process of digestion and thereby lowers the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream. In effect, after a meal, this process avoids hiking up blood sugar levels and stabilises them.
Tip: Try and have ladies finger for at least two meals a week to have maximum benefit.
Helps In Better Digestion
This benefit again can be attributed to the high fibre content of ladies finger. The fibre helps better digestion as well as to regularise bowel movements. The fibre pectin goes up in size in the pieces of digestion within the intestine and thus enables waste elimination easily.
Tip: Ladies’ finger is a great dietary addition for those suffering from constipation.
The vitamin C content of ladies’ finger helps build a person’s general immunity levels. While most green vegetables help with this, lady finger has a host of other benefits that can be tapped by having it.
Tip: If you are not fond of the plain vegetable with roti, try and camouflage it in mixed vegetable curries.
Improves Anemic Condition
Since ladies’ finger contains iron, folate and vitamin K, it helps improve the iron and folic acid content of the body in a natural manner, which in turn assists in combatting anaemia.
Tip: Ensure you buy fresh and tender ladies’ finger, not ones where the pieces have gone limp.
This gooey vegetable contains vitamin A and beta carotene, both of which assist in improving eye health.
Tip: Since the ladies’ finger is not eaten raw, the best way to have it is to lightly sauté it, and add the spices you like.
Helps In Hair Health
The properties of ladies finger go beyond eating it. The vegetable is used in a home remedy for treating dandruff and infestation of lice and nits.
How to do it: Ensure you get fresh ladies’ finger from the market. Wash about 10 to 12 pieces thoroughly and then slit them vertically. Boil them in three to four cups of water for 10 minutes. Once done, add the juice of one lemon to the pan. Strain the water and use it to rinse your hair.
Tip: Ensure you rub it properly on the scalp and run it through the hair lengths with your fingers.
Recipe 1: Guthi Bendakai (Stuffed ladies’ finger) from Andhra Pradesh
Add an exotic traditional touch to your meal with this delicious recipe.
- 500 g small, tender ladies finger (bhindi)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 2 tsp oil
- Five dry red chillies
- 2 ½ tsp cumin seeds
- Two sprigs curry leaves
- for tempering
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp husked black gram (urad dal)
- One dry red chillies halved
- Wash the ladies’ finger and dry thoroughly.
- Slit the ladies’ finger lengthwise, at the tail ends, coming three-quarters of the way up, ensuring that the segments do not separate.
- Heat oil in a pan over moderate heat, and add sambar powder, dry red chillies, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
- Fry over low heat, tossing gently until the aromas are released.
- Cool, and add salt and turmeric powder. Grind into a fine powder.
- Stuff the ladies’ finger with this spice mix, and set aside.
- Heat oil for tempering in a pan, and add the ingredients in the order mentioned above.
- When the mustard seeds splutter, add the stuffed ladies’ finger and gently sauté for two minutes.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, occasionally stirring until the ladies’ finger is tender.
- Serve hot.
Recipe 2: Ladies’ Finger Chaat
Who doesn’t like chaat? If you are not fond of this vegetable, convert it into a chaat, we show you how!
- 200 g bhindi or ladies’ finger, thinly slit and deseeded
- 1/4 cup besan or gram flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- 11/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp amchur (optional)
- 1/2 tsp jeera powder
- 11/2 tsp dhania powder
- Oil to fry
- Chaat masala
- Onion, tomatoes, green chilli, coriander, lime juice to garnish
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle this mixture on sliced bhindi and mix well so that pieces are well coated. (If the slices are too sticky at this point, add more rice flour.) Fry in hot oil till the coating is brown.
- Serve hot with thin-sliced onions, tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice and chaat masala.
Recipe and picture courtesy: Food blogger Shivangi Sharma
Recipe 3: Ladies’ Finger Curry
This is comfort food. Once you taste it, you can’t go back.
- 15 to 20 ladies’ finger or bhindi
- 1 cup toor dal
- 2 tbsp tamarind (medium lemon size)
- 2-3 tbsp jaggery
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tsp sambhar powder
- 3-4 green chillies, slit
- 1-2 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1-2 tsp salt as per taste
- 3 tsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- Two red chillies
- Pinch of hing or asafoetida
- Two strands of curry leaves
- Wash the ladies’ finger. Wipe them and cut into medium-sized pieces.
- Pressure cook toor dal/split pigeon peas till mushy. For four to five whistles.
- Soak tamarind in water for 15 minutes, extract the juice.
- To the cooked dal, add tamarind juice, jaggery, slit green chillies, sambhar powder, salt and turmeric powder.
- Lastly, add ladies’ finger and let it boil till they are soft.
- Add water as required for the consistency.
- In a seasoning pan, add oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, hing, red chillies, and curry leaves.
- When the mustard seeds start to splutter add the seasoning to the curry. Add coriander leaves.
- Serve with hot steamed rice.
Recipe and picture courtesy: Food blogger Pavana Bhat, The Cooking Soul
FAQs: Benefits Of Ladies’ Finger
Q. How do I select the ladies finger from the market?
A. You have to look for the bright green pods, preferably slender and firm to touch. Avoid the over-sized pods which had gone dark in colour and have blackened at the edges. These would also have gone limp.
Q. What is the best way to clean a ladies’ finger?
A. After you buy the ladies’ finger from the market, soak the pods in clean water for at least ten minutes. This way, the dust and other settled particles will be removed. Discard the water and wash the ladies’ finger once under running water, in a colander. Drain out the water and lay the ladies’ the finger on a clean, dry cloth to get rid of the moisture. Alternatively, you can also wipe each pod individually with a clean, dry cloth. After that, you can trim the ends and use the vegetable as you like.
Q. Will there be any side effects of eating it every day?
A. Overdoing anything is never a good idea. Anyway, there are no side effects of eating this vegetable every day if you have it in moderation. Ensure that your diet consists of other vegetables as well, to reap their benefits.