- Okra Nutrition Facts
- What Is Okra?
- Okra Health Benefits
- 1. Okra for Diabetes
- 2. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
- 3. Gut Bacteria Friendly
- 4. Rich in Fiber
- 5. Lowers Risk of Colon Cancer
- 6. Boosts The Immune System
- 7. Pregnancy Benefits
- 8. Rich in Protein
- 9. Obesity Prevention
- 10. Genital Disorder Solution
- 11. Liver Detoxification
- 12. Skin Cleansing
- 13. Makes Hair Healthy
- 14. Bone Health
- 15. Alternative Flue and Cold Treatment
- 16. Beneficial For People with Asthma
- 17. Anemia Prevention
- 18. Ulcer Treatment
- 19. Relieves and Prevents Constipation
- 20. Protection Against Sun Strokes
- 21. Maintain Healthy Blood Vessels
- 22. Maintain Good Eyesight
- What Should You Watch Out About Okra?
- Growing Okra At Home
Okra(Abelmoschus Esculentus) originally comes from Africa. It is known as the lady’s finger. Okra is slimy but delicious. It can be prepared in many different ways and Okra health benefits are amazingly diverse.
Okra has been also called a medicinal vegetable due to its high dietary fiber content. Fibers are amazingly helpful in cleaning up the colon making it gut health-friendly.
Okra Nutrition Facts
Although Okra’s appearance is not so appealing, it is packed with lots of nutrients.
One of the essential nutrients Okra has include magnesium.
This is one of the most important minerals in the responsible for hundreds of processes.
Among the benefits of magnesium include the prevention of muscle cramps and asthma.
It is also rich in vitamins B and C, and potassium.
Although you can get zinc from supplements, this is an opportunity to obtain it naturally from Okra.
What Is Okra?
Okra is not always mentioned in the list of medicinal vegetables.
However, its nutritional contents are packed with medicinal properties.
Even me, personally, I don’t consider Okra as a medicinal herb or vegetable, but simply nourishing and delicious.
If you have a list of vegetables you’re consuming regularly, include Okra on that list.
Some people like to eat it raw. I like it cooked or half-cooked. Steam okra is most common, but it can also be included in soups. It has a slimy property that makes soups thicker.
A flowering Okra is beautiful. You would have thought it’s a flowering plant. It has a beautiful yellow flower, but it only lasts for a short time and it closes back, then fell off. Once it’s fall off, the lady’s finger starts growing.
Now, let us explore the many health benefits of consuming Okra.
Okra Health Benefits
After exploring quickly on Okra’s nutritional contents, let’s us explore its health benefits. Okra when consumed regularly along with healthy eating and lifestyle, is helpful in many conditions.
Among the men and women who used Okra are those having diabetes. So, let’s start our Okra health benefits exploration of how beneficial it is for diabetics.
1. Okra for Diabetes
Okra is beneficial and effective in stabilizing blood sugar due to its insulin-like property. Okra contains a type of dietary fiber, Eugenol. This helps in stabilizing blood sugar and slowing down the absorption of sugar in the intestinal tract.
Studies exist confirming okra health benefits on diabetes1. In an animal study2, Okra extract has been found beneficial in suppressing oxidative stress and insulin resistance. This results in an improvement of blood glucose.
2. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
There is another type of fiber in which Okra has, it’s pectin. This is beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol.
The way it lowers the bad cholesterol is by altering the bile production in the intestines. This helps in eliminating the clots and deposited cholesterol.
3. Gut Bacteria Friendly
The probiotics in Okra is the gut bacteria’s friend. The microbiome or the good community of bacteria in the intestinal tract loves Okra.
It aids in the biosynthesis of the vitamin B complex. This serves a similar function as yogurt does to the small intestines.
4. Rich in Fiber
The abundance of dietary fibers presents in Okra not only beneficial to controlling blood glucose and clearing up cholesterol deposits. It also helps in clearing up wastes in the small intestines.
This results in better digestion and prevention of constipation.
5. Lowers Risk of Colon Cancer
Due to its rich insoluble fiber contents, Okra serves as an intestinal tract cleaner particularly in the colon, large intestines.
This reduces the risk of colon cancer. Plus due to the antioxidants present in Okra, it boosts the immune system and prevents cell mutations.
6. Boosts The Immune System
Vitamin C is of Okra’s potent nutrients. This alone is a potent antioxidant plus other antioxidants present in Okra makes up a good immune system booster.
Other minerals present in Okra that are beneficial in fighting and eliminating free radicals include calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
7. Pregnancy Benefits
Okra is beneficial for pregnant women due to its folate contents. Folates are rich in Okra and beneficial in brain development of the fetus.
Folates also prevent miscarriages. It is also beneficial in the formation of the neural tube of the fetus and provides protection to these tubes preventing defects.
8. Rich in Protein
The proteins are present in Okra seeds. If you want a plant-based protein because you’re a vegan, Okra is your friend.
It is one of the best sources of vegetable protein. The protein contain is rich in amino acids similar to those found in sulfur, cysteine, and tryptophan.
9. Obesity Prevention
Obesity is a metabolic disorder similar to diabetes. Mostly, these two come hand-in-hand. The belly fat is not just fat that sits for nothing. It negatively affects sexual health and brain functions resulting in dementia, memory deficits, and even brain shrinkage.
Okra consumption along with healthy eating habits and lifestyle can help prevent weight gain, and eventually obesity. It has minimal calorie content. Plus the high fiber content allows satiety without eating a lot.
Of course, the other nutrients naturally come into play when it comes to the proper nourishment of the body.
10. Genital Disorder Solution
Not only Okra is beneficial in boosting sexual health and fertility, but it also beneficial in treating gonorrhea, syphilis, excessive menstrual bleeding, leucorrhoea, and dysuria.
Hence, it is beneficial for men and women.
11. Liver Detoxification
Another valuable function in which Okra’s fiber contents does is liver detox. The slimy property of Okra is not just present for nothing. It binds bile acid and cholesterol to cleanse the liver.
One of the proteins in Okra is glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant. As a matter of fact, glutathione is known as the master antioxidant. You might have heard the word “glutathione” in cosmetics.
But if you want natural glutathione, get them from Okra. Other foods that are precursors to glutathione include garlic, ginger, onions, brassica, sprouts, and eggs. Dr. Russell Jaffe abbreviated it as GGOBSE.
12. Skin Cleansing
The health benefits of dietary fibers are not only limited in the gut area but also extend to the skin. The waste-cleansing effect of fiber along with vitamin C helps in tissue repair, which prevents skin pigmentation.
Other skin benefits include the reduction and prevention of acne, psoriasis, and many other skin disorders.
Vitamins are also present in Okra. It provides a quick healing effect, minimizing the appearance of acne and scars, and beneficial in eliminating wrinkles. All these positive effects make the skin healthy.
13. Makes Hair Healthy
Okra is not just for ingestion, but it also works fantastic as a hair conditioner, if you prefer using it. It is a good moisturizer for the scalp, itchy scalp prevention, eliminates lice and dandruff, and makes hair shiny.
Next time, if you ran out of hair products but you’ve got Okra in your kitchen, or backyard, make use of it for hair care purposes.
14. Bone Health
Okra is among the many vegetables containing Vitamin K. Although not very popular as vitamin C, vitamin K is essential for the blood-clotting process. It also helps restore bone density and the prevention of osteoporosis.
One study3 says;
Several mechanisms are suggested by which vitamin K can modulate bone metabolism. Besides the gamma-carboxylation of osteocalcin, a protein believed to be involved in bone mineralization, there is increasing evidence that vitamin K also positively affects calcium balance, a key mineral in bone metabolism.F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Vitamins and Fine Chemicals Division, Human Nutrition & Health, Basel, Switzerland
15. Alternative Flue and Cold Treatment
The leaves and flowers of Okra are just as healthful. Harness their health benefits by boiling it. It’s a good alternative and natural treatment for pneumonia and bronchitis.
The slimy stuff or mucilaginous is the secret to treating and soothing for common colds and flu.
16. Beneficial For People with Asthma
One of the okra health benefits is for asthma prevention. Okra contains potent antioxidants like vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in preventing the occurrence of asthma.
For those with asthma already, it may help prevent fatal attacks. Of course, follow your doctor’s recommendations about medications and don’t make Okra as an absolute replacement.
Instead, make Okra as a supplemental treatment via dietary means.
17. Anemia Prevention
Due to its Vitamin K, iron, and folate contents, it is one of the natural means of preventing anemia. These nutritional contents help in the formation of hemoglobin and the production of red blood cells.
They also aid in blood coagulation. All these functions and benefits combined, Okra is helpful in providing good protection against anemia.
18. Ulcer Treatment
The mucilaginous, which is the slimy stuff in Okra is alkaline. This helps in neutralizing the acid. Additionally, it provides protective coating within the digestive tract, which speeds up the healing process of peptic ulcers.
19. Relieves and Prevents Constipation
The slimy mucilaginous stuff present in Okra aids in an efficient water absorption along the digestive tract. This helps bulk up the stool making it neither too soft nor too hard to pass.
Okra’s mucilaginous content along with fiber binds to toxins and lubricates the large intestines. This ensures effortless and normal bowel movement due to its natural laxative property.
20. Protection Against Sun Strokes
The scorching summer sun causes many heatstroke cases. Protect yourself against heat strokes by regularly consuming Okra as part of your diet.
With regular consumption, it is helpful in relieving depression, weakness, and exhaustion.
21. Maintain Healthy Blood Vessels
The good news is Okra has both. Hence, it is a good idea to consider including Okra as part of your typical daily diet.
22. Maintain Good Eyesight
Vitamin A along with antioxidant contents such as lutein, xanthein, and carotenes are beneficial for maintaining good vision.
These antioxidants are potent compounds that eliminate free radicals. These free radicals are byproducts of cellular metabolism, and they’re health hazards.
If these free radicals are left unaddressed, they can cause cell degradation or aging of the cells resulting in poor vision. The body’s means of eliminating them is through the powerful functions of antioxidants.
Enjoy this vision-boosting okra health benefits providing protection against cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
What Should You Watch Out About Okra?
With all these okra health benefits we’ve listed, you might think it’s a wonder medicinal vegetable. Certainly, it is. However, it is also worth noting that Okra has high oxalate contents.
Oxalate is a molecule naturally present in both humans and plants. This is not a necessary nutrient for humans. In fact, too much of it can cause kidney stones.
Therefore, people who are at high risk of kidney stones should avoid or minimize Okra consumption. For those with existing kidney stones, should avoid eating it as it can worsen the condition.
Fortunately, throughout many years of eating Okra…in fact, since childhood, I haven’t heard anyone developing kidney stones because of eating it. The kidney stones were due to other causes and not because of eating Okra.
If you eat a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, there should be no problem and you should enjoy the long term Okra health benefits.
Growing Okra At Home
If you decide to grow Okra at home, you can do so easily. You can even grow them in pots just as I do.
The germination rate of Okra is high. Hence, they grow very easily as long as you have the proper soil and sunshine.
Growing Okra at home ensures you’re getting an authentic organic vegetable. You can use compost as fertilizer making sure the soil is rich with necessary nutrients allowing you to enjoy and maximize absorbing the okra health benefits.
If the soil is rich in nutrients, the Okra can absorb it. This means the vegetable you’re going to harvest and eat is also rich in nutrients.
And, if you’re looking for a wide variety of recipes aside from directly steaming, frying, or omelet, you’ll find a lot of Okra recipe books on Amazon.