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5 Little-Known Facts About Okra That’ll Make You Stop Saying ‘It’s the Most Foul Thing!’

Tag: living well

5 Little-Known Facts About Okra That’ll Make You Stop Saying ‘It’s the Most Foul Thing!’

Remember the black-eyed peas that your mother made you eat as a kid? Why do you think she forced them down your throat? It wasn’t for the taste, for sure — it was for their health benefits.

But what does this have to do with okra? Well, okra is very similar to black-eyed peas, except that it is slightly odder looking. Many individuals would also initially describe them as slimy and gross. In fact, if you’re like most people, it would be the last thing you’d eat on a plate full of other fruits and vegetables. But you know what they say: it’s often the last one you try that is the best.


Here are 5 little-known facts about okra that might just turn a hater into a lover in an instant.


1. Okra may help you fight fatigue.


Evidence shows that polyphenols and flavonoids found in okra seeds possess anti-fatigue effects, which can be deduced from their antioxidant activity. They also enhance your glycogen storage which is known as your body’s fuel reserve, keeping you from being exhausted easily.


2. Okra may boost your heart health.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, and cholesterol is one of its biggest risk factors.

Okra contains a thick gel-like substance known as mucilage. This substance binds to cholesterol during digestion, causing it to be eliminated with stools instead of being absorbed into your body. It’s a solid addition to your diet if you have high cholesterol.


3. Okra may reduce your risk of cancer.


Okra has been used as a food for millennia, but it’s also an incredibly effective natural medicine. Its anti-cancer properties are especially impressive—and it’s non-toxic!

Okra contains high levels of vitamin C, which is crucial in fighting cancerous cells. It also contains phytochemicals that kill off cancerous cells and prevent them from spreading throughout the body. In fact, studies reveal okra may restrain the growth of breast cancer cells by up to 63%.


4. Okra may control your blood sugar levels.


Another impressive health fact about okra is its ability to lower your blood sugar levels—and that can be a big deal if you’re living with diabetes. High concentrations of fibre and polysaccharides in okra have been shown to stabilise blood sugar by reducing the absorption of glucose from your intestine. Okra can also improve insulin sensitivity, reducing your risk of many diseases.


5. Okra may help you navigate stress.


If you’re looking to reduce your stress levels, consider adding okra to your diet! It’s not just a good idea—it’s a great idea. A 2022 study has found okra alleviated depressive behaviours and mitigated stress in sleep-deprived animal models. In fact, its intervention effect was shown to be similar to diazepam tablets, a medicine used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.


Verdict: Give Okra A Chance


Okra has been getting a bad rap for its texture and taste. Most people would agree it’s a weird-looking vegetable (though, biologically, it’s a fruit), and the taste is just pure disgusting. That’s a shame knowing all of its potential health benefits and incredible nutrition profile. So don’t turn away from this green goodness just yet, and give it a chance.

Contact us today for meals that meet both your health goals and taste buds. At Hearty Health, we believe wholesome foods don’t have to be plain and boring, so we made them mouthwatering.


Matcha vs Coffee: Shared Benefits & Nutrient Comparison

Coffee is one of the world’s most consumed beverages — and it is a morning favorite!

Matcha, on the other hand, is a type of Japanese green tea which has garnered a growing interest from fitness-minded folks. It is now even lauded as an alternative to coffee and has obviously a bright future ahead.

Both have a lot going for them and you may wonder how they even compare. So if you ever have been curious about their nutritional profiles and differences, here’s an article to help you get started.


Matcha vs Coffee


To be fair, both matcha and coffee boast a kick of energy from caffeine. Coffee, however, has more caffeine than matcha per serving. A ½ teaspoon of powdered matcha has only 25mg of caffeine versus the 90mg in an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee.

On top of that, matcha is known to have a better “caffeine high” than coffee. Thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid found in matcha that puts you in a “calmed alertness” and gives you more sustained energy. It is said not to have the jittery side effects you get from the caffeine in coffee — no adrenal weirdness, no glucose spike and no crazy hungry pangs later.

In terms of calories, when prepared without added ingredients like milk, sugar, cream or flavored syrups, both matcha and coffee have minimal amounts of it. Coffee has 1kcal per 100g while matcha has 0kcal.

Taste wise and just to make a segue from their nutritional profile, if you love earthy or grassy flavor, matcha it is! But if you want to stick to the roasted and nutty flavor of coffee, you know what to do.


Shared Benefits

Despite being compared, coffee and matcha actually have many shared benefits. Here are 4 to list down a few.


1. Both may help you lose weight.


Caffeine , according to several studies, promotes weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate by up to 13 percent for 3 hours. Aside from caffeine, the chlorogenic acid (CGA) in coffee and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) have been also both studied as potential aid to weight loss by inhibiting the formation of fat in your body.


2. Both are loaded with anti-cancer antioxidants.


The EGCG found in matcha helps promote the death of cancerous cells and prevents the growth and spread of tumors. Meanwhile, the CGA in coffee suppresses tumor growth, protecting you against certain types of cancer like oral, esophageal, gastric, colorectal, and liver cancer.


3. Both may boost heart health.


Polyphenols — a group of antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee — are known to reduce platelet aggregation and help prevent your arteries from clogging. Basically, this means a reduced risk of heart attack for you.


4. Both may enhance mood and brain function.


Caffeine does have its mood and cognitive perks. It acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant which can help you feel more energetic, focused and productive. It also blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine’s receptor, increasing excitability in the brain. Nonetheless, if you are sensitive to caffeine or have certain mental health conditions, you may want to slow down on your consumption.



Before choosing one with the other, put your health needs in line and your taste preference.  Most importantly, if it’s not causing you any trouble, drink the one you enjoy most.


Retail Therapy: Benefits & How to Tell If It’s Gone Awry

It’s pretty difficult to explain the power of retail therapy to someone who doesn’t indulge in it. Browsing new products, comparing price points, pawing through sale displays, and finally swapping cash (or plastic!) for something bright, new, and shiny?

The experience is indescribable.

Thankfully, recent scientific evidence suggests shopping enthusiasts aren’t being overdramatic. Actual physical, mental, and chemical reactions do happen during the whole purchase process, and those reactions are what make it so addictive. Experts are even stating that retail therapy could have legitimate, science-backed benefits.

So let’s take a look into these reported benefits … as well as warning signs that indicate shopping has moved from therapeutic to downright obsessive.


Retail Therapy: Benefits


1. Helps with Transitions

Shopping, according to many experts, can be a source of mental preparation. When people shop, they often think about how they’re going to use the products they’re buying.

Think about what goes on in your mind when you buy new clothes. You mentally pair them with other pieces you own or you picture yourself wearing them in imagined scenarios. “I could wear those shoes to my interview next week,” for example. Or, “oh, that dress would be perfect for my date on Friday!

When we’re preparing for new stages or about to undergo major transitions, that’s the time many of us are inclined to start shopping! The visualization we do while shopping helps us unconsciously process what’s about to happen next.

2. Gives Us Something We Can Control

We often equate feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety with the feeling of helplessness. We feel weak and overwhelmed when we’re faced with something we simply cannot control.

Studies show that the simple act of making choices while we’re shopping – “should I get it in red or in black?”, “would he like this style or this?” – can help us feel in control again.

In fact, a study done by the University of Michigan in 2014 shows that people who bought things they personally enjoyed were 40 times more likely to feel “in control” again than those who didn’t shop.

3. Positive Sensory Experience

Clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD., says that the “smell of something new” can create a “sensory experience that removes us from our own reality.”

Simply put, the physical act of shopping stimulates our senses in a positive way. The bright lights, the colorful displays, the aesthetic product alignment … everything is organized in a way that appeals to a passer-by’s senses i.e., scents, sounds, smells, visuals, etc.

This sensory stimulation, Dr. Bea says, gets us to “visualize positive outcomes,” which in turn makes us anticipate something positive—thereby reducing anxiety.

4. The Social Aspect

Human connection is a well-known antidote for emotional distress. Negative emotions are often (but not always!) exacerbated by loneliness and isolation. The presence of other people – even if we don’t even know them! – can help ground us. When we see other people doing something we’re doing (as is the case with shopping), there’s a sense of belonging that grounds us.

Again, regardless of our actual personal relationship with the people around us, those feelings are therapeutic.

5. A Dose of Dopamine

Many people experience a shot of dopamine – the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure, excitement, and euphoria – even before they buy something. According to Dr. Bea, simply browsing through an online catalogue or checking out display windows can trigger the brain into releasing the feel-good neurotransmitter; because the prospect or possibility of obtaining something new can be just as satisfying as the act of actually purchasing it.


Retail Therapy: Backfired


As beneficial as retail therapy is, it also has the potential to backfire. So be cautious! Always keep in mind that shopping is:

A Distraction. In the moment, retail therapy acts as a good salve. It soothes whatever sting we’re feeling. However, the actual source of the sting still needs to be addressed.

Remember; painkillers don’t treat the wound!

A Potential Addiction. Like alcohol, shopping is an excellent indulgence in moderation. Small, manageable doses is key to making sure you don’t become a full-blown shopaholic. The whole point of shopping is being in control, so make sure it stays that way!

Financially Draining.If done irresponsibly, retail therapy can be just as expensive as actual therapy—and not even a fraction as effective!

If you avidly partake in retail therapy, then you should always exercise caution. Here are some signs that could indicate your retail therapy is going awry:

  • Refusing to look at credit card or bank statements
  • Lying about the actual price of purchases
  • Hiding purchases
  • Prioritizing shopping over other events
  • Getting mad/annoyed/irritated with something or someone preventing you from shopping

At the end of the day, retail therapy can be incredibly beneficial—if done responsibly and treated as a temporary coping mechanism. It should never be one’s long-term, go-to response/solution for the problems, setbacks, challenges, and inconveniences one might experience.

Moral of the story? Don’t abuse your credit card, but take comfort in knowing your addiction to shopping is scientifically legit!