Okra first appeared in Japan in the early Meiji Era, circa the late 18th century. Only recently, however, has it found its way into the mainstream Japanese diet.

The slimy component of okra is comprised of pectin, a vegetable fiber, and mucin, a substance that aids digestion and absorption of nutrients. These two components in combination help build stamina. Pectin promotes a healthy bowel movement and improves general health. Clean intestines translate into improved synthesis of vitamins, and this, in turn, helps increase stamina.

Okra also contains as much carotene as tomatoes, more calcium than sardines, and a balanced amount of phosphorus. It is ideal for osteoporosis sufferers seeking an additional source of calcium.

Okra is also rich in vitamins B1 and B2, which help the body recover from fatigue.

In Japan, okra is generally quickly parboiled, then eaten with bonito flakes and soy sauce. Actually, there are quite a few ways to enjoy okra: sautéed in oil, pickled in vinegar, boiled or in salad.

For those of you who simply cannot overcome your dislike for slimy foods, we recommend okra soup. when cooked in consommé or other broth, the sliminess turns the broth into a rich, delicious soup.

Okra Mugi Rice

Ingredients: okra, chirimenjako (fish fry), hanagatsuo (shaved bonito flakes), soy sauce, one bowl mugi (barley) rice

1. Parboil okra. Cut into ring-shaped slices. Mix the slices together until slime appears. Add chirimenjako and soy sauce together.

2. Place the mixture from step 1 on a bowl of white rice cooked with mugi. Add hanagatsuo to taste.

To be continued

(Translated by Roy Mashima)

(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)


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