"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hyp, Hyp, Hooray!

I am about to undertake the amazing experience of being a birthing companion for a couple choosing the HypnoBirthing method of childbirth.  To prepare, I am reading Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy. and will be attending HypnoBirthing classes with my clients.  Over the next few months, I'll be sharing with you what I have learned.  I am so excited to gain further knowledge about this fascinating, natural, women-centered approach to birthing.  If you are in SE Alberta, please visit Ultimate Birthing to learn more.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh my Okra! (Nutritional blog post #1)

Lately I have been fascinated by the amazing properties of foods and have been learning about health benefits of different fruits and veggies. I figured that since I am always wanting to share what I am learning that I might as well post a blog about the subject. Especially when I discover foods that are highly beneficial to mothers and pregnant women. My goal is to write a post about a different healthy food on a monthly basis that can educate our readers on the nutritional benefits of different foods. I hope these posts are beneficial. I am definitely looking forward to adding this posts vegetable to my diet on a regular basis.

The other day my husband and I were discussing meal ideas and browsing recipe sites when my husband decided that I should cook him some Gumbo. Since I had never made Gumbo before much less eaten it I had to do quite a bit of research. I had to look up what Okra was, one of the main ingredients in Gumbo, since I had only heard the name before. I was amazed at all of the search results I came up with that spoke of the health benefits of Okra. I was surprised that I knew so little about such a healthy little vegetable.

So my post today is on the health benefits of a green pod vegetable called Okra. I was fascinated to learn that this little vegetable was packed with vitamins A, C, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and is a great source for folic acid, an important vitamin in the formation of the neural tube in early pregnancy. As well as the many beneficial vitamins that can be gained in the consumption of this vegetable Okra contains a mucilage and fiber that is wonderful in healing the liver and colon and maintaining the health of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Here are a few of the health benefits that I have found attributed to this unassuming pod vegetable:

  • Okra treats constipation gently as the fiber is not harsh on the system.
  • Okra is a probiotic that feeds the good bacteria and heals the intestinal system.
  • Okra helps to maintain blood sugar and cholesterol balance.
  • Okra lowers risk for cataracts and helps to prevent diabetes.
  • Okra helps contribute to weight loss as it cleanses the gastro-intestinal system.
  • Okra is a soluble fiber which binds to bile and removes it from the body this is a big factor in treating gallbladder disease and morning sickness.
  • Okra maintains beautiful smooth skin and protects from acne.
  • Okra is an alkaline and can treat acidity in the body as well as treat ulcers.
  • Okra treats asthmatic symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome and atherosclerosis
  • Okra is a great source of folic acid an important vitamin to have in early pregnancy.
These and many more health benefits made Okra stand out for me as a vegetable that everyone should have in their diet. After learning about this vegetables many health benefits I wondered how the best way to prepare Okra was to keep the highest amount of nutrients. I learned that the pods can be prepared a variety of ways from being sliced raw and put in salads to baking, steaming, stewing, and sautéing. To maintain the highest nutritional value the less the vegetable is cooked the more the vitamins are preserved for consumption.

I would love your feedback on whether or not you have cooked with Okra and how you prepared the vegetable. Have a happy, healthy day!

Okra Resources: