Okra was first cultivated in Egypt in the 12th century. Most people find Okra a little hard to take because of its slimy quality. The truth of the matter is that okra is extremely dense and has a high quantity of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It is part of the Malvaceae family which includes cotton and hibiscus. Tough to chew, it must be either steamed or boiled. It is a part of many diets around the world where it is often given the name “Lady Fingers” because of its long shape. It is so dense and low in calories that it can be especially beneficial to those with digestive issues, high cholesterol levels and those with weight management challenges. It also provides a feeling of fullness. Okra is extremely high in Vitamins C, A & K as well as some of the B vitamins. It is even showing positive results in the treatment of kidney disease reducing the amount of uric acid produced in the urine. If you find the texture of okra difficult to consume you may try using it as part of a soup where it will provide a thickness which is often the case with gumbo, a dish popular in New Orleans.
-1/2 avocado pitted and peeled
-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
– 2 slices of whole grain toasted
-1/4 cup diced watermelon
-2 tablespoons feta cheese (low fat if you prefer)
-2 teaspoons chopped mint
-1 teaspoon lemon zest
– Mash avocado and lemon juice together and spread over bread
– Divide watermelon and feta and spread on top of avocado
– Garnish with mint and lemon zest
It is a fact that carbohydrates fuel muscles while decreasing physiological and inflammatory stress brought on by working out. Sugar is the most digestible whether it is in the form of glucose, fructose, or sucrose. However, most athletes resort to a sports drink which not only supplies the necessary carbohydrates but also provides the body with unnecessary artificial flavorings and dyes. A study was done at the lab in Appalachian State University in which cyclists competed in a 47 mile race. Some used only water, others leaned on a sports drink and the last group bananas. The groups that had either the sports drink or eaten a banana had less inflammatory markers in their blood after the race. However, the group that had eaten bananas had less of a particular enzyme known as COX-2 which increases inflammation in the body. Athletes sometimes have a problem with eating bananas because they feel bloated after eating the fruit. The solution may lie in dates which have a considerable higher level of fructose, a natural fruit sugar. This along with the fact that they are a much smaller fruit and are more economical than the cost of a sports drink makes this a better choice.